Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) Kathmandu, Nepal


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This week I’m going to be tackling two different challenges.  Height from Ailsa’s Where’s my Backpack and Childlike from the Daily post.  Easy peasy after visiting the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu.  Between thousands of stairs and hundreds of monkeys, I think I got it covered.

Being new to Nepal, I’m very unsure of getting around.  I’ve been taking taxi’s and walking so far.  Everything seems very far away from where I live. I’m sure as I am here longer, things will start to feel closer.  I went with some friends to Swayambhunath Stupa (स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप) also known as the Monkey Temple.  I didn’t realize it while in the back of a taxi zipping past cycles, people and cars (sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right side of the road) but this is actually only about a 20 minute walk from Thamel which is located about a 15 minute walk from my apartment.  I will try to walk it at some point, but need to get my bearings first.

This temple is a great tourist site as well as a place that many Buddhists and Hindus from around the world visit.  It sits above the city with amazing panoramic views that you reach after climbing over 365 uneven steps.

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Along the climb you can see dozens of monkeys at play or scavenging food and hoarding it from the many dogs.  The monkeys are considered Holy though to me they appeared to be from the same typical mischievous monkey family that I have witnessed the world over.  However, there were moments I did in fact wonder if they were not of a higher level.

The complex houses several stupas, temples and shrines and along the route there are active prayer rituals occurring and prayer candles being lit.  The colorful prayer flags are everywhere as are several stalls hawking everything from prayer flags to etched stones. Both young and old make this trek and it really is well worth it.  After enjoying a light lunch with some fresh juice and Nepali tea we headed back down to the bottom.

It was definitely an amazing place to visit and I will be back as I wasn’t able to visit the other stupas and points of interest that are attached to this one.  You can complete the visit to this stupa in less than 1/2 a day or you can spread it out over an entire day if you have the time.

16 thoughts on “Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) Kathmandu, Nepal

  1. Swayambhunath Temple – ah how I remember that place. It was so long ago that I visited. I walked from my hotel in Kathmandu. In those days it was a dirt road that wound through the countryside. Off in the distance I could hear someone playing an Indian flute. So magical. I didn’t like the monkeys much though – so cheeky! I could see the temple from the roof of my hotel and it featured in my art at the time. It really is an inspirational place. Thanks for reminding me of it.

    • Honestly the roads are not a whole lot better now from the sounds of it. It was great to visit, a little crowded and the monkeys were quite cheeky. I loved watching them but wouldn’t really go near them.

  2. Having a great time – you are! I didn’t like the monkeys either. 1986 was the year and we travelled the Kathmandu valley by bike. I guess you are right about the roads being much the same…

  3. Pingback: Acting like a tourist – karma, infinity and architecture | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity

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