It is said that at one time the Kathmandu valley was a lake in which Swayambhu hill existed as an island. Residing at the top of this hill was a natural crystal stupa, Swayambhu, meaning Self-Manifested or Self-Sprung. When Buddha, visited this place he affirmed that it was a wish-fulfilling stupa, and whoever is touched by the wind that passes over the stupa receives the seed of liberation from the cycle of existence.
Time passed and an emanation of the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri, a Buddhist monk from China made the crystal stupa accessible to all people by draining the lake. For centuries a myriad of Buddhist masters from India, Sri Lanka, Tibet and China have visited the stupa.
Swayambhunath is now a 2500 year old temple or architectural structure situated on this hillock about 77m above the ground level, offering a bird’s eye view of the Kathmandu Valley. The painted eyes on four sides represent the all-seeing eyes of Buddha that are constantly watching wrong doers and good doers.
This spiritual space is an extraordinary experience that jolts your senses into overdrive. The air is a symphonic fragrance of sweet incense and butter lamps. Exquisite intricate carvings adorn every space and the mystical, mellifluous atmosphere is further heightened by local devotees and pilgrims who make a ritual circumnavigation of the stupa, recite mantras make offerings and spin the prayer wheels set into its base, making wishes for the benefit of all beings religiously, every morning and evening.
Representing Buddha’s mind, to visit a stupa is said to be the same as meeting Buddha in person. A place offering peace, freedom and joy to the whole world and ultimately helping us to obtain perfect enlightenment.