Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nepal - Swayambhunath

I bet that a large portion of tourists who had visited or planning to visit Swayambhunath, came with the primary motivation to see the monkeys. Yes, this is the well-known Monkey Temple around Kathmandu.

The monkeys are not as many compared as that at the Monkey Temple in Bali. Nevertheless, they can be found along the stairways, on the slope, near the statues...pretty much everywhere and even more so if there's food!
Monkeys aside, Swayambhunath actually has alot more to offer to the tourists. The main entrance is framed by three grand golden Buddhist statues. One of the biggest I have seen so far in Nepal.
From the main entrance, it is a gentle climb to the top of the hill where the tourists are rewarded with a stunning view of the city - picture perfect if not for the slight haze.
There is a bustle of activities surrounding the many stupas atop the hill. Sadhus (wandering Hindu holy men) spinning the prayer wheels around the stupa in a clockwise direction, devotees lighting the butter lamps in search of blessings, pigeons pecking at the food remnants from offerings, tourists browsing the numerous shops selling handicraft souvenirs, hawkers peddling fruits under the hot afternoon sun and shop owners having a game of "Move The Tigers" with customers.

Without a doubt, Swayambhunath is definitely one of my favourite places in Nepal!

note: unless you are the adventurous climber, try not to enter Swayambhunath through the side entrance.

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