One of the oldest and the biggest Buddhist monuments ever built in Nepal; Boudhanath is an imposing structure standing some 36 meters. The Stupa stands on the massive three level mandala style Platforms surrounded by colorful private family houses.
The basic feature of this great stupa is very much like that of Swayambhunath Stupa except its finial displaying. It is much bigger than Swayambhunath Stupa and lies on the valley floor whereas the former one stands on the hill top. This stupa is said to have been built in 5th century A. D. The site is considered very much like Mecca for the Tibetan Buddhists and every year tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the Himalayan region visit the Stupa.
According to a very popular legend long time ago the kingdom of Kathmandu was under terrifying draught. King Dharma Deva was very worried. An astrologer advised him that only the sacrifice of an ideal man with 32 virtues in front of the dry royal water spout could make the rain fall in the country. And in the following night he commanded his son to go to the dry water spout inside the royal palace compound at mid night and behead the person shrouded in white robe without looking at him. The Prince obeyed his father but to his great horror only to find it was none other than his own father.
In order to atone the big sin and in removal the prince said to have built this great Stupa. As an entry point of ancient Nepal-Tibet trade rout, the site is popularly frequented by Tibetan visitors.
During Lhosar festival the pilgrims worship the Buddhist deities, light the incense and butter lamp day and night.
Every twelve year a special ceremony is observed with great gusto and fervor. During that time they dance, play musical instruments, chant and hymns.
Bodhnath is one of the few places in the world where Tibetan culture flourishes and can express itself without hindrance. This area is only 3 km from the city center and can be reached on foot in less than an hour (by an equally interesting route), either by local bus or taxi.
Located near a road to Tibet, Bodhnath has long had a large Buddhist community. And following the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the middle of the 20th century, Tibetans exiled en masse to Nepal, in this place also called Little Tibet.
Thus there are today no less than thirty monasteries surrounding the great Stupa. This sacred place is in the center and at the origin of the city and the daily atmosphere is very fascinating. The Stupa is the largest and highest in the country and occupies an area of one hundred meters in circumference.
The best time to visit Bodhnath is the late afternoon when the tour groups are gone. The place finds its true aspect of Tibetan city.
The faithful continue to perpetuate the tradition and perform their ritual, both religious and social. Any Buddhist will take good care of turning once around the Stupa before entering inside.
Here, the non-Buddhist visitor can, if he wishes, enter the Stupa!0