Boudhanath Stupa also knows as (Boudha, Bouddhanath or Baudhanath or the Khasa Caitya) is one of the skylines dominating stupa in Kathmandu Nepal. Also famous for the holiest Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage temple outside Tibet the Boudhanath Stupa is the center of Tibetan culture and rich in Buddist symbolsim.
About 11 km from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the Simple, immense and influential stupa rises above the numerous buildings with its painted eyes gazing earnestly over the countryside.
Numerous fascinating myths are told on the subject of the construction of the Boudhanath Stupa. The first stupa at Bodhnath was built sometime after AD 600, when the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, changed to Buddhism. According to legends, the king constructed the stupa as an act of apology after unintentionally killing his father. Sadly the frist stupa was demolished by the Mughal in the 14 Century and the current stupa was constructed.
What you see in Boudhanath Stupa
The form and the alternated squares and circles represent a three-dimensional mandala, which is comprised of conceptual religious concepts and seen in all Tibetan mandalas. Every piece has symbolic significance from the base, dome; square harmika, spire, and pinnacle represent the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether). The 13 rings from the base to the summit represent the path to enlightenment. The stupa is surrounded by an irregular 16-sided wall with 108 small images of the Dhyani Buddha Amitabha (108 is an auspicious number in Tibetan culture) and a ring of prayer wheels with the mantra of Avalokiteshvara – Om Mani Padme Hum which is carved on it.
The base of the stupa consists of three big platforms, lessening in size. These platforms represent Earth. Walking around the platform you can enjoy the perfect view of beautiful mountain range while in the background you can listen to the chant of Buddhist devotes doing kora “walking around the stupa while praying”. The two round in shape plinths which symbolizes water support the hemisphere of the stupa. The question mark symbol type which denotes the nose is actually Nepali character of Number 1, which represents the Unity and the only way to reach enlightenment. The 13 steps square tower represents the ladder of enlightenment and the top of the tower is cover with gold canopy which represent air.
Flag prayers tied to the stupa waves in the wind which carries mantra and heavenward. The Boudhanath stupa is surrounded with narrow alley and streets which are lined with monastery, and streets vendors. The base of the stupa is open from 5am to 6pm and till 7pm in the summer.
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