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UNESCO Heritage Sites / Bouddhanath Stupa

Bouddhanath is the center of Tibetan culture in Nepal. The 36-meter-high stupa of Bouddhanath is one of the largest stupas in South Asia. Licchavi rulers renovated Bouddhanath Stupa in the eighth century. The mandala design in Bouddhanath is a copy of the one in Gyangtse in Tibet.

The stupa is located in the area of ancient trade route to Tibet where Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayers for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Bouddhanath. Hence, a complete township has developed around Bouddhanath.

The stupa is said to entomb the remains of a Kasyap sage venerable both to Buddhists and Hindus. Smaller stupas are located at the base. Gompa monasteries, curio shops, and restaurants surround Bouddhanath. Because of its location and size, it seems much larger than the Swayambunath Stupa, with the same hemi-spherical dome symbolizing the emptiness from which everything emanates. On top is the harmika painted on each side with the eyes of the Buddha symbolizing awareness, and above the spire with its 13 stages to the canopy. At ground level there is a brick wall with 147 niches and 108 images of the meditation Buddha inset behind copper prayer wheels. Early morning and evening are the times to visit Buddha to join the local residents in kora (walking the pilgrim's circuit, sometimes with Tibetan pilgrims on their hands and knees).

 

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