Swyambhunath stupa is one of the 7 world heritage site inside the Kathmandu valley. It lies west from the main tourist center Thamel. It is one of the most sacred Buddhist site in Nepal. It is said that it was made in 5th century era. Its origins are linked to the founding of the valley by draining the water of the lake by boddhiasttva manjushree. Swyambhu manifested in the lake as a brilliant light emanating from a lotus and manjushree let the water out by slashing a passage through the surrounding hills to facilitate paying homage to swayambhu, thus making the valley inhabitable. Due to many monkeys around there it is also called Monkey Temple.
According to Swayambhu Puran, the entire Kathmandu valley was once filled with an enormous lake, out of which grew a mystical Lotus. The valley came to be known as Swayambhu, meaning 'Self-Created' or 'Self-Existent'. The Bodhistava Manjushri had a vision of the lotus at Swayambhu and traveled there to worship it.
In order to make the site more accessible to human pilgrims, Manjushri cut a gorge through the mountains surrounding the valley. The water drained out of the lake, leaving the valley in which Kathmandu now lies. The lotus was transformed into a hill and the flower become the Swayambhunath stupa.
Swayambhunath Stupa is a golden spire crowning a conical wooded hill. It is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu Valley. It has a lofty white dome and a glittering golden spire that are visible from all sides of the valley. Historical records found on a stone inscription give evidence that the stupa was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination by the 5th century A.D. i.e. before the coming of Buddhism in the valley. The surroundings of Swyambhunarayan Stupa consists of chaityas, temples, painted images of deities and numerous other religious objects.
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