Each time I go back to Nepal, I cannot avoid to go and visit Swayambhunath (the Monkey Temple), which is definitely my favorite place in Kathmandu.
This place is so quiet and makes me feeling relaxed and in peace with the world. I love this place as, by being at the top of a hill, it allows me to have a wonderful view on all Kathmandu, and be surrounded by a bunch of monkeys and the colored flags hanged everywhere from tree to tree. You may also find a lot of small temples, young Buddhist monks and also tourist, of course.
If you are hungry there’s also some place where to have some drinks or snacks, but… beware the monkeys as they can be hungrier than you (and for sure very curious). It is not that rare to listen to some tourist yelling against a monkey who just stole his snack or drink. Take care also of your bag, girls! =P
Some history about this place:
Swayambhunath is one on the oldest religious site in Nepal. Once upon a time there was a big valley, which was entirely occupied by a huge lake, with a lotus flower growing on it. This is the origin of the name Swayambhu. Now it’s a hill with a big Stupa temple standing on the top of it. The Stupa consists of a big dome, which stands for the world, surmounted by a cubic structure with the Buddha’s eyes that stare all four cardinal points. On the top of it a cone with golden stripes complete the typical geometrical structure of the Stupa.
Every morning, since dawn, hundreds of pilgrims climb the steep 365 steps that bring you from the base to the top of the hill. It’s a short but pretty intense climbing that make you passing a golden portal (Vajra) and two golden lions that protects the entrance. Once on the top they start turning around the stupa in the clockwise sense.
If you plan to visit Nepal, don’t forget, my loves, to visit also this place that will allow you to recover and relax your soul. Don’t risk to bring a banana with you, otherwise you risk to be submerged by monkeys who fell in love with you!!! =P