Magnificent architecture, Religious value, Serene environment, Positive energy, Great view and Diverse cuisine make Boudhanath Stupa a popular tourist destination in Nepal. Located in Kathmandu, it is one of the largest stupas in the world and one of the most sacred Tibetan Buddhist shrines outside of Tibet. Approximately 6,756 square meters in size, this great stupa remains an important place of pilgrimage and meditation. Therefore, if you happen to be in Kathmandu, Boudhanath Stupa should definitely top your “Places to Visit” list! Also, the stupa is easily accessible as it is just 15 minutes’ drive from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu while passing through Pashupatinath Temple along the way.
Boudhanath Stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed on 1979. From its whitewashed dome extended by square mandala to the prayer flags fluttering around it, the stupa is altogether spectacular. Another pleasant sight is to witness the Buddhist devotees making circumambulation (koras) around the stupa during mornings and evenings. It is believed that circumambulating repeatedly around a sacred site produces great merit. The Buddhist devotes are usually seen spinning prayer wheels, chanting mantra, counting rosary beads while circumambulating in a clockwise direction.
According to popular beliefs, Boudhanath Stupa symbolizes the “Wisdom-mind of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; past, present and still to come.” and offers good karma and wish fulfillment to those who circumambulate and prostrate around the stupa with an honest heart.
“The Stupa that Answers All Prayers.”
“Stupa of Enlightenment or Bodhi Stupa”
Brief History of Boudhanath Stupa
Legends and stories surrounding the origin and history of this great stupa: -
1. Ma Jadzima and her four sons [popular legend in the Himalayan Buddhist Society]
Belonging to a poor family and raising chickens for livelihood, Ma Jadzima was a widow having utmost devotion to Buddha. She aspired to build a stupa to make an offering using her hard earned saving. She approached the local King for permission to get a land. Her wish was granted but with a condition that she can only use an area of land measuring the size of a single ox skin. With her intelligence, she cut the skin into thin strips and claimed a large portion of land. Seeing her determination, the king allowed her to build the stupa. When the rich and powerful citizens revolted, the king kept his word since he already gave her permission. Hence the name “Jhyarung Khashyor” came into place which means once given cannot be taken back.
After completing the dome-like structure, Ma Jadzima passed away and her four sons completed the rest of the stupa. After the completion, they stood in front of the newly built stupa and made prayers. When each of them were generating their wishes, it is said that all the Bodhisattvas immersed into the stupa. So, the stupa got the name “All-Encompassing.” Hence, Boudhanath Stupa is so powerful that the prayers made to the stupa are fulfilled.
So what did the sons wish?
The oldest son: “May I become a Dharma king in Tibet, the Snow Land.”
Upon hearing his eldest brother’s wish, the next son prayed: “May I become a minister to help him spread the Dharma.”
The third son: “May I be an abbot to pass on the lineage of ordinations in Tibet.”
The youngest son: “May I become a powerful yogi when there are obstacles to spreading Dharma in Tibet.”
Were their prayers fulfilled?
Yes, in the next life the oldest son became a Dharma King in Tibet - “Trisong Deuchen”
The second son became a minister in Tibet – “Bami Thiser”
The third son became an abbot – “Shantarakshita”
The youngest son became a powerful yogi – “Padmasambhava”
2. Chronicles of the Newar Society
Early historical references of the stupa are found in the Chronicles of the Newar Society.
- Firstly, the stupa is said to be one of the four stupas found by the Licchavi King Vrisadeva (AD 400)
- Secondly, the origin of the stupa is attributed to King Dharmadeva’s son, Manadeva. A great Licchavi King, Military Conqueror and Patron of Arts, King Manadeva reigned during AD 464-505.
- Thirdly, Shivadeva, another great Licchavi King (AD 590-604) is associated with the stupa by an inscription which shows that he may have restored Boudhanath Stupa.
- Lastly, another Licchavi King - Amsuvarma’s relics have been discovered in the stupa by the 16th Century Tibetan restorer, Sakya Zangpo.
3. Etymology of Newari name of Boudhanath Stupa - Stupas Khas or Khasti Chaitya, “The Dewdrop Stupa”
- According to the Newari etymology, the name is derived from Newari word for dew. The chronicle mentions that during the construction of the stupa, a drought had struck and the workers were forced to lay out white cotton cloths to collect the morning dew. These cloths were squeezed out to help bring water for the construction.
- Some believe that this name derives from Kassapa Buddha, the third of the five Buddhas of the present kalpa whose relics are enshrined in the dome of the stupa.
4. Gopal Raj Chronicles
According to Gopal Raj Chronicles, the Licchavi King Dharmadeva (AD 464-505) installed “Narayanhiti Stone Spouts” but there was no water coming out of the taps. So, when the King consulted his astrologers, he was told to sacrifice the most virtuous man in the kingdom for the water. After a long search, the king decided that only him and his son was qualified for sacrifice. Therefore, the king instructed his son to decapitate him with one stroke. His son, Prince Manadeva obeyed his father’s command and was horrified at the sight of his action. His father’s head landed at the temple of Vajra Yogini in Sankhu. The Prince was then told by the goddess that he could undo his sins by letting a rooster fly and build a stupa for his father’s remains on the spot where the rooster lands.
The rooster landed at Boudha, and Prince Manadeva built the great stupa there.
Ultimately, no matter which legend is true, we are all blessed to have such a great monument built here in Kathmandu, Nepal.
1. Mamla Jatra - January/February
2. Losar - February /March
3. Temal Jatra - March/April
4. Buddha Jayanti - April/May
5. Ropai Jatra - August
6. Chechyu Puja - December/January
Top 10 Restaurants inside Boudhanath Stupa
Let’s take a tour of the restaurants around the stupa. The list of the restaurants below starts from the Boudha Stupa main gate when you start your circumambulation clockwise.
1. Pho 99: - Asian, Vietnamese & Vegetarian Friendly | Must Try - Fresh Summer Rolls and Pho (Rice Noodles Soup)
2. Nani’s Kitchen: - Asian, Nepali & Vegetarian Friendly | Must Try – Nani’s Newari Special and Pastries
3. Sushi Hokkaido Nepal – Japanese & Vegetarian Friendly | Must Try – Any type of Sushi and Veg Udon Noodles
4. Himalayan Java Coffee - American, Café & Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options | Must Try- Coffee, Blueberry Cheese Cake and Breakfast
5. Gotama Roof Top Restaurant – Continental & Vegetarian Friendly | Must Try - Pizza
6. Cafe Caravan – Bistro, Gallery &Vegetarian Friendly | Must Try – Belgium Waffles & Grilled Sandwiches
7. Flavor's Cafe & Restaurant – Café & Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options | Must Try- Thai Curries and Pizza
8. Happiness Vegetarian Restaurant – Chinese, Asian, Nepali, Tibetan & Vegetarian, Vegan Options | Must Try - Deep Fried Mushrooms and Tofu
9. La Casita – Mediterranean, European, Spanish & Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options | Must Try – Veg Tacos
10. Roadhouse Café – Italian, Bar, European & Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options | Must Try – Any Wood Fired Pizza
With good food and mesmerizing view, Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu Nepal does not fail to impress tourists coming from all over the world.
When you plan to visit Boudhanath Stupa, you can book directly at Pema Boutique Hotel as we are located just 5 minutes walking distance from the stupa. Get best rates and offers directly from our website. We are a boutique hotel in Boudha with a blend of modern comfortable stay and Himalayan Buddhist culture. Experience the peace and serenity through of Boudhanath Stupa through Pema Boutique Hotel.