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.
For my 3rd day in Kathmandu (this would be the day before yesterday), I wanted to explore my immediate surroundings in Boudhanath, the ancient town where my hotel was, as well as do a long trek to stretch my legs. The Shambaling hotel concierge suggested that I walk to Kopan Monastery, which overlooks the valley of Kathmandu and is north of Boudhanath. This would be a perfect day, if only because the Pashupatinath festival, with 1.5 million pilgrims in attendance, would all be on the south side of Kathmandu. Obviously, I wanted to avoid that congestion if at all possible. Of course, this would not be an easy hike, as it is approximately 4-5 miles away and the last mile or so ascends at a severe grade. Continue reading