Another Kathmandu destination that’s high up on the list of tourist attractions is Swayambhunath, or popularly known as Monkey Temple by the fact that it teems with primates.
This ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley actually means ‘Sublime Trees’ in Tibetan language.
Swayambhunath, one of seven groups of monuments and structures in Kathmandu Valley inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in October 1979, is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Tibetan Buddhism, second to Boudhanath. It is also revered by devotees of other Buddhism schools of thought, as well as Hindus.
Similar to Boudhanath, Swayambhunath was severely damaged by the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Luckily, it has been restored.
A visit to Swayambhunath should be personally experienced, as it is more than climbing the 365 steps to reach the main stupa. I opine this undertaking is akin to a trip to Malaysia’s Batu Caves.
During my visit on a Friday, it was very crowded and I had trouble taking photos without being photobombed left, right and centre. I was later told that it was a school holiday. No wonder.
Crowded or not, keep your children and belongings such as cameras and bags, away from the monkeys. Don’t carry food, unless it is edibles that you have bought from the stall for them.
Entrance fee to Swayambhunath is Rs. 50 for tourists from SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries and Rs. 200 for visitors from the rest of the world.
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