When I visited this park, I had no idea that it was only a small part of a large complex of Buddhist temples and shrines called Swayambhunath. Consequently, due to my ignorance – I was only able to see the “environmental park” and missed out on much, much more. Nevertheless, what I saw here was awesome and unforgettable. Tourists commonly call Swayambhunath, the “Monkey Temple,” probably due to the large monkey population here.
I will likely return in a few days to see the entire site, but for now, I will tell you about what I did see during my visit. Swayambhu means self manifested or “that which is created by its own accord.” When this temple was founded nearly 2000 years ago, the site – Kathmandu valley – was a large lake. According to legend, a large perfect lotus grew in the middle of the lake. When the bodhisattva Manjusri drained the lake with a slash from his sword, the lotus settled on top of a hill and transformed into a Stupa. Thus, it is known as the “self-created” (swayambhu) Stupa.
When I first entered this park, I came upon a large prayer wheel, with smaller prayer wheels surrounding a larger shrine. You go up the stairs and to your right, is a small gift shop, with Buddhist and Hindu religious souvenirs. I haven’t purchased too many things from any of the countries I have visited. Why? Trying carrying that stuff around in a small 45 liter back pack. I am still a bit upset about having to purchase a transformer in my first country visited, New Zealand. It easly weighs as much as a small brick and if I could get rid of it, I would. Unfortunately, I need it to charge my tablet.
In any event, I have only purchased this medallion; another Buddhist necklace with a coin medallion, denoting wealth and good fortune; and a small jade and cat eye bracelet. That’s it folks. I will probably purchase a few more of those bags, albeit, a bit larger than the tiny one I got free. For the rest of this post, I will let the photos and their captions tell the rest of my visit to this site. Take care, Steven . . . 🙂