Boudhanath Stupa-Largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal
Boudhanath is also know as Boudhanath or Boudha and is an area about 7 kilometers from Kathmandu city center (close to the airport). It is home to one the most important stupas outside of Tibet and one of the largest stupas in the world; the 5th century Boudhanath stupa. Surrounding the stupa is a pleasant courtyard that contains the Tamang Gompa amongst numerous traditional shops selling singing bowls, thankas, prayer wheels and much more. There are also quite a few cafes and guesthouses in the immediate area. Boudhanath survived the 2015 earthquake however extensive repairs were needed and carried out throughout 2016. On the 14th of November 2016 the repairs were completed and celebrated with the return of prayer flags around the stupa.
Did you know?
There are several legends surrounding Boudhanath stupas history. The first surrounds a woman who asked the king for land to build a shrine to Buddha. He agreed to let her have enough land that a buffaloes skin could cover. The woman cut a buffaloes hide into strips and made a large circumference. The king kept his word and so the huge stupa was built. The second legend says that a finger of the Buddha is buried under the stupa. Today many locals still believe this, however the inside of the stupa is off limits to confirm.
Many Buddhists today take pilgrimages to Boudhanath. Everyday, throughout the day, you will see many monks and people ritually walking around the stupa. Do remember to walk clockwise around the stupa. Keeping the stupa to your right. Prayers wheels should also be spun clockwise. You can enter and walk on the white dome of the stupa.
Must see highlights around Boudhanath
- Follow the monks path as you circle the giant stupa clockwise while spinning the prayers wheels
- Visit the Ajima / Hariti shrine
- Enter the stupa and climb up to the white dome for a view of the entire square
- Visit Boudhanath at night to see hundreds of candles being lit around it Shop in one of the many stores in the main square for traditional Tibetan and Buddhist items
- Visit one of the many gompas in the area including Tamang gompa opposite the stupa where there’s a giant prayer wheel and a balcony area overlooking the stupa
If you are in Nepal for one of the many festivals it’s worth going out to Boudhanath at night to see it lit up! If you want to make a full day of it then Pashupatinath is within 30 minutes walking distance.
Entrance fee for Boudhanath
The current fee for foreigners is 250 rps. The ticket offices are located at all the major streets leading into the square containing the stupa. If you are staying in a local guesthouse you only need to pay once. The ticket offices close in the evening if you want to get in for free.
Directions to Boudhanath By taxi:
A taxi to Boudhanath is the most common form of tourist transport. From Kathmandu city to Boudhanath costs around 400 rupees. Be sure to tell the taxi driver you want to get off at the Boudhanath main gates.