Swayambunath Stupa

About Swayambunath Stupa
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Kathmandu, Nepal
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Considered Kathmandu's most important Buddhist shrine, Swayambunath  is a large golden stupa perched atop a hill. Its most striking feature are the sleepy all-seeing Buddha eyes.  While the earliest record of the stupa's existence is from a 5th century inscription, it is believed that a shrine may have existed in this location as early as 2,000 years ago.

The stupa can be reached via the pilgrim's route which traverses a steep stone staircase.  A gateway at the base of the staircase features copper prayer wheels,.  Surrounding the stupa are numerous prayer wheels, including a massive prayer wheel within the gatehouse situated beside the gateway.

Swayambunath is also known as "Monkey Temple" for the large number of Rhesus macaques inhabitants in the area.

The best time to visit the stupa is early in the morning before the tourist groups arrive.
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Situated on top of a forested hill at the western edge of Kathmandu Valley about a 25 minute walk from Thamel.
Last edited on Nov 12, 07 11:31 AM.
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16 Reviews of Swayambunath Stupa  
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First To Review: Wendy W.
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4.0 star rating
Oct 22, 2008
The Monkey Temple is a great afternoon trip to get out of Thamel. We took a taxi there and walked back which takes about 45 minutes to get to Thamel. As you start climbing to the top you see the monkeys swing from the trees there cute, until they try to steal any food you have so be cautious. When you get o the top it is a great view of the whole Kathmandu valley it's amazing how many buildings are spread out. The golden stupa is beautiful and the Monkeys hang out trying to get scraps from you, they even steal the offerings for Buddha, I saw a monkey reach in and take Buddhas plum. If you have a half day to get away from the city I think this is a great choice.
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5.0 star rating
Nov 14, 2009
you can walk there from Durbar square. Its a fanatastic place where you can chill out. There are some fantastic views of Kathmandu from the top. Take some bananas for the monkeys if you are brave enough (there are hundreds of them) but beware as soon as you enter at the bottom of the steps they will steal them. I had one in my hand and one in a plastic bag. As soon as i arrived I felt the plastic bag being wrenched from my arm, I hadn't even seen any monkeys by this point the cheeky little blighter. I gave my other banana to a baby one who ran off with it followed by another 10 monkeys. At the top of the stairs the golden shrine awaits. Great day out.
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Sep 5, 2010
Located just outside the city centre of Kathmandu and many people prefer the call it the monkey temple, which isn't that strange because from the foot of the hill all the way up towards the temple you meet the monkeys or they are coming towards you. It is said that some of them are aggressive so I recommend not the feed or touch the animals. From the top of the stupa you have an amazing view on Kathmandu and it was the first time I saw the size of the city, pretty amazing actually!
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4.0 star rating
Sep 4, 2008
An amazing place to visit where you can take in all the sights, smells and sounds of Kathmandu. Be wary of beggars and pick-pockets here as it is a crowded area but you get some amazing views when at the top of the mountian. Theres many stairs to climb but being at the top pays off. Don't forget your camera! A very cultural experience not soon forgotten.
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Oct 13, 2008
I preferred Boudhanath Stupa - not as accessible however an easy place to spend a day poking around shops, observing the bustling Tibetan community and sitting quietly sipping chai. Just up the hill is Kopan monastery which has excellent 10 day meditation courses too. Quite unique.
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