Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nepal Day 13: Swayambhu Stupa

Swayambhu Stupa, more commonly known in the English world as the 'Monkey Temple', is another one of the 7 world heritage sites in Kathmandu.

Our road to Swayambhu was full of obstacles.  First, it was the heavy.  You could barely see what was 50m ahead.  We first headed to Durbar Square, from there, we walked west from Maru Tole of Durbar Square, down to a small bridge covered almost completely in fog.  Streets in Kathmandu have no names, except some really big ones.  I had originally hoped to be able to see the giant Stupa sitting atop of the hill from afar, so that we could just walk toward it.  However, in this heavy fog, I could see nothing but fog, and fog.  Luckily, Nepalis are friendly in general.  I asked people along the road for directions, they all happily pointed me to the right direction. 

We had our breakfast at a road side store, where the locals have their breakfast.  Well, the price is really hard to believe, breakfast for two, including 4 roti prata, plus curry, plus tea, was only Rs60+.

After quite a bit of struggling, we were led to the Stupa by a kind Nepali man.  The stupa, or temple to be more exact, was covered in fog too.  The fog gave the Buddha statues a sense of mystery.

Awaiting for us is another long flight of stairs, another uphill.  Haiz, after climbing all the way to Annapurna Base Camp, what is this man?  

After climbing up all that hundreds of steps, and paid Rs200 per person for admission, we were greeted by this Dorje, or giant thunderbolt, a symbol of power.  

I used Lonely Planet's 4th Edition of Nepal guide book, which says if you climb up the steps yourself, then you don't have to pay admission charges.  Well, bluff.  Ok, 4th Edition was published in 2000, now it is 2009.  Things may have changed :)

The stupa, disappointingly, was under renovation.  The spire was covered up.  Sigh.  But, by Buddha's blessing, the fog cleared a bit when we arrived at the stupa.  

In a clear day, you can see the entire Kathmandu valley right in front of the stupa, now, we could only see the entire Kathmandu valley masked under fog, with the stupa, which is on top of a hill, was clear under the bright sunshine.  

It is known as 'Monkey Temple', because of the many monkeys playing around in the temple ground, enjoying the offerings from us mere mortals to the gods.

As the stupa is under renovation, I can only look for the finer details.


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

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