This is an important Buddhist temple and is a landmark of Nepal. After visiting the temple, you could just sit on the raised platform there and spend sometime relaxing there. The fluttering of the prayer flags, chanting of Buddhist prayers are all very relaxing.
As with most historical sights in and around Kathmandu, you now have to pay to enter Bodhnath, But if like me you have walked down from Kopan Monastery, you will enter the Stupa through the “Back Way” and when coming this way there is No Charge !!
Not that I mind paying to visit ancient sites, Just in Nepal you do wonder where the money ends up !!
There is now a pay booth on the back way in – But if you go around a little further there are still a couple of allies that access the Stupa with no pay booths so you can still get in for free, it just takes a little more doing now ;-)
Walking through this place, you feel like you're on another planet. It is the kind of place that you only see on National Geographic. It's a real piece of history, and if like most tourists here you are not from the east, this is history the type of which you know nothing about.
You can't avoid this place for a real taste of what it means to be Nepali. The street stalls around the temple are also the best places in town to find traditional nepali games like Bagh-Chal and paintings like Thankas.
Google either one and prepare to have your mind blown.
My travels to Baudhanath:
I've visited Baudhanath several times on each of my two trips to Nepal - in May 2010 and later in September - October 2011.
Things to do in Baudhanath:
The Baudhanath area is dominated by the huge stupa - said to have been built to house a relic of Buddha himself. So a visit to the stupa, and maybe a kora or three - is a must. Baudhanath is also very much worth a visit as it's one of the few places - alongside Dharamsala in India - which allow a glimpse of what Tibet would have been like outside of China's rule. Shop for Tibetan souvenirs, visit some of the 40+ monasteries surrounding the stupa as well as located along the nearby streets, take a course in yoga, meditation, Tibetan language, sand mandala making, traditional Tibetan music - anything Buddhism- and Tibet-related that you can think of. Have a meal at one of the rooftop cafes overlooking the hustle and bustle of the stupa square.
Choice of Hotel:
Hyatt Regency Kathmandu - and if possible get a stupa-view room!
A visit to the huge Stupa at Bodnath was one of the highlights of my visit to Nepal. A huge stupa, surrounded by temples, monasteries, shops and buildings with beautiful Newari architecture. This area is home to many Tibetan Refugees.
There are more than 45 Buddhist monasteries in the area. It lies about 6 km to the east of downtown Kathmandu.
For great views, have a light meal at the Stupa View Terrace & Restaurant.
There is no entrance fee
From simple domed burial mounds, “build to hold relics of Buddha”, stupas they evolved over the centuries to become complex structures that represent Buddhist philosophy. They are full of symbols, even to the smallest details, which are meant to reflect the religious philosophy.
- The five elements characteristic to the Buddhist universe are represented in the structure of every stupa – the base symbolises the earth, the dome - water, the spire – the symbol of fire, the umbrella – air and the pinnacle – ether.
- At the lowest level is the plinth, which may be a simple square platform or terraced one. The plinth at Boudha stupa is made of 3 tired crossed platforms and represent a mandala (aka a circle of completion), used by the pilgrims in circumbulatory passages.
- A little above the base of the dome there is a series of recessed niches encircling the entire periphery of dome where a total number of 108 stone sculptures of different Buddhist deities – 108 is a magic number.
- the hemispherical dome (kumbha) is freshly whitewashed every year and symbolises the water.
- to the top of the stupa dome is a harmika, a square usually painted on each side with a pair of eyes along with the question marks. With these ever cautious eyes, the lord Buddha beholds every happening constantly with a very keen attention, so that nothing is secret to him.
- Topping the harmika is a tapering section of 13 stages, representing the 13 different mental stages which have to be crossed on the way to Nirvana (the final salvation, freed from the worldly bondages)..
- Above the harmika, there is a vessel in the form of an inverted lotus Patel, which is to be filled with the water of knowledge. On the top, a gild metal parasol or umbrella to capture the wind.
Bauddhanath, the largest stupa found in Nepal, and probably one of the largest in the world, lies 5 kms away from Kathmandu on the traditional trade route leading to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital occupied by China since 1950.
It is believed this massive stupa, over 36 m high, has been built sometime between the 4th and the second half of the 9th century. The site is enlisted UNESCO heritage since 1979.
The stupa at Baudha is one of the few places in the world where the Tibetan culture is accessible, vibrant and unfettered.
From simple domed burial mounds, “build to hold relics of Buddha”, stupas evolved over the centuries to become complex structures that represent Buddhist philosophy. They are full of symbols, even to the smallest details, which are meant to reflect the religious Buddhist philosophy.
The Bodnath Stupa is the biggest buddhist stupa in the world. Situated in the heart of Bodnath quarter, it is embraced by monasteries and gompas. Compared with Pashupatinath you can feel the much more relaxed atmosphere, with a constant mass of buddhist pilgrims and monks circling the stupa.
It is a nice place to relax for a couple of hours from Kathmandu´s hectic. The best place for that is one of the rooftop cafes.........
When visiting Kathmandu don't forget to include Bodnath !! It is the Largest Stupa in Nepal and well worth the 20 minute taxi ride out !! You can walk around the Stupa or just sit and take it all in whilst doing a bit of people watching !!
Also aropund the square that the Stupa is set in there are some great litle restaurants to take lunch in !!
Just a Nice trip out of the centre of Kathmandu !!!
I am 100% Sure that the information in this tip is still as good now as when I wrote it in 2004 -- Happy Travels in Nepal -- Rob
The Bouddhanath Stupa is brimming with activity. This stupa is a must see to experience the lovely Buddhist, spiritual vibe. You will see Buddhist monks in their red robes and worshippers making a circle around the stupa. You will hear CDs of monks chanting throughout. There are prayer flags surrounding the stupa and it is a wonderful place to sit and watch all the activity or close your eyes and meditate. ~OM~
This is the largest Stupa in Nepal and well worth a visit, it is very impressive! This is one of the main centers for Tibetans in Nepal, adn due to that the area is adorned with lots of colourful prayer flags and monks. It really should be on your list of must sees.
This picture was taken from the terrace of a bar in front of the stupa. It is a very peaceful place in Kathmandu far away from the crowding and the smog of the city.
Bodhnath Stupa is one of the seven world heritage sites all over the Kathmandu valley.
This is the most wonderful spot in Kathmandu. When I arrive Nepal, I try to head out here to Boudha, first thing. The ideal arrival time is about 5 pm, soaking up the atmosphere and shed the airtravel stress and nerves. As dusk falls, I head for the Himalayan View Terrace for momos and a beer. My arrival is complete when I head back to the centre of town for my hotel bed.
Bouddhanath Stupa is a place you can come to for quiet and contemplation, and you do not need to be particularily religiously inclined to get this feeling of calm and contentment here.
Just walk around the stupa and let yourself be mulled by the mood. It is one of the great power places of the world.
It is also a good place for shopping Tibetan goods, carpets, clothes etc. Come here for the Tibetan female dress, the chuba, but bring the fabrics from Indrachowk or other places.
This is probably the largest enclave of Tibetan refugees outside of Dharamsala, India. The area surrounding this humongous buddhist stupa is full of shops and boutiques, all owned and run by Tibetans. No need for a guide here - just grab a cab and keep your Lonely Planet in hand. Some of the thankgas are beautiful here - take advantage of the prices.
Boudhanath Stupa is in the heart if Kathmandu's Tibetan community. It is one of my favorite areas of the city, due to the strong Tibetan culture all over the place. There are many monks here and the stupa itself is very impressive. Although those souvenir shops are all over the place, the stupa is still amazing. Prayer flags adorn the whole area and it is a pleasure to walk around it (clockwise). It is also the largest stupa in Nepal!
The entrance fee is 50 Rupees per person if I'm remembering correctly, so not to bad at all (nothing like the 250 Rupees for the entrance into Pashupatinath and Durbar Square).