Boudhanath is a 30 minute walk from Pashupatinath. I highly recommend this walk too because you wander through the streets of a local town, you meet people and watch them go about their daily life, you see women in rice fields and kids curiously approach you to speak English to you and ask if you have any chocolate. It’s a relaxed walk and you feel safe. Nearing the entrance to Boudhanath you will get pestered by a woman holding a baby, pleading for you to buy milk or food for her child, this unfortunately is a scam, A Nepali ‘mother’ plays her trade conning tourists to buy over-priced milk for the ‘baby’ (at inflated prices) which she then sells back to the grocer at normal price splitting the profit, so please be hardy and don’t let this scam tug at the heart strings.
You do have to pay to enter Boudhanath because that helps maintain the site. Boudhanath is very small but grand, on entering there is a gigantic stupa in the middle whilst curious tourists and Buddhists on pilgrimages walk around it whilst chanting mantras. Towards the outer area of Boudhanath there are numerous tourist shops offering Mala prayer beads and Tibetan paintings as well as small cafes and restaurants.
Boudhanath is essentially the giant Stupa, there is nothing else in the area to see. However the stupa itself is extremely interesting and awe-inspiring, definitely worth visiting for an afternoon. The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline. The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world and so it does not disappoint. It is believed that thousands of Buddhas and heavenly Deities incarnated as Lamas in the Baudha stupa, it is said that the rays of Bodhisattvas entered in the song from heaven and the holy sound was heard in the sky. Due to being empowered by the Bodhisattvas this stupa is viewed with a great reverence. You can enter the Stupa from below and climb some steps to walk along platforms that are closer to the Buddha’s eye, here you can take marvelous photos of the prayer flags blowing in the wind and of the views below. Part of the structure houses a room for a huge prayer wheel that visitors can step inside and turn it as they walk around, you can also light candles and offer blessings or prayers to loved ones. Standing on the open, stark white platforms brings a sense of peace as you watch the world go by, contemplate life and leisurely people watch as they pray, laugh, take photos and chant sacred mantras as they hold their Mala beads.
Stay tuned for the final Kathmandu write-up in Swayambhunath, before we head out to the jungles of Chitwan!
If you missed previous blog posts about Nepal click on the links below.