Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nepal Day 13: Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa is the largest Buddhist Stupa in Kathmandu Valley as well as Nepal.  It is also one of the 7 world heritage sites in Kathmandu.  
The stupa has a very broad base, which signifies earth; the round dome represents water; the spire is the embodiment of  fire; the umbrella is the symbol of air; and finally, the pinnacle is ether.  The five elements that form the entire world are all included: earth, water, fire, air & ether.  

There are many different names of Boudhanath Stupa in English.  There are many different spellings, too.  The admission ticket to the stupa calls it BOUDHANANTH, Lonely Planets calls it BODHNATH, while there is one more name or variation of its spelling.   

Surrounding the stupa, there is a wall with 147 niches, each niche houses 4-5 Tibetan prayer wheels.  You will see lots of Tibetans, young and old, walking in clock-wise direction, praying, rolling the prayer wheels.  

The outer ring of the stupa is basically all kinds of shops and restaurants, cafes catering mainly to the tourists.  There are some Tibetan temples too, which they call 'gompa'.  

There is a temple that is directly facing Boudhanath stupa, and it seemed to me they are forever having some praying ceremonies.  The music, or noise from their drums, bolts, bells, can be heard all over the stupa compound.  The lamas there speak Tibetan and English. 

Young Tibetan lamas maybe are also receiving their education at one of the many Tibetan temples in the area. 

Boudhanath Stupa is a very popular place for tourists from all over the world, including those from India.  Local Nepali students seem to come here too.  So you can expect quite a bit of shoulder rubbing.  
Kathmandu's weather is very bad in December.  It gets very cloudy and foggy after 2-3pm, but to have a good view point of the stupa,  you need to wait for the sun to go west.  However, by the time the sun does go west, the fog will ruin your photo by adding too much mystery.  It is not an easy subject to shoot.  If you have the time, try to search for a vintage point at one of those building encircling the stupa.  That might give you some nice shots.

Admission to Boudhanath is Rs200 (~USD3.00).  The taxi fare to Boudhanath Stupa from Thamel is around Rs200 too.  

You can find a complete list of blog entries about my Nepal trip here.


  1. Boudhanath is also called the Wishfullfilling Stupa...the first thing that you think when facing in front of this holy place for the very first time and with open heart will come to reality...try it!