Swayambhunath Stupa


In the northwest part of Kathmandu Valley, the famous temple of Swayambhunath is located on a small hillock called Swayambhunath. According to mythology, this structure is where the glory of this destination began, which is why it is known as the monkey temple. This destination is renowned as a tourist destination for pilgrims and tourists from around the world.

Swayambhunath sometimes confused people. People having little knowledge about Religions and religious places of Nepal will get confused because, “Swayambhunath Stupa” in Name, has a Hindus Name prefix, and Buddhists Name Word. i.e. Nath is basically used for Hindus and Stupa are basically religious places.

Are you getting confused too? Don’t Worry, Swayambhunath is the Common Religious Place of Hindus, and Buddhists. All the beliefs about this are connected with the history which we have written in detail below. So, You can call it either Swoyambhunath Stupa, or Swayambhunath Temple.

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It was built by King Manadeva in 460 A.D. and became a center of Buddhism by the 13th century, with the name meaning “self-existent one”. A lotus flower that bloomed in the middle of a lake that once spread across the Kathmandu Valley gave birth to Swayambhu, according to legend. Along the Ring Road on the western boundary of Swayambhu, stands the largest image of Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal.

Saraswati, or Manjusri, is the Goddess of Knowledge and is devoted to the temple behind the hilltop. An evening circumambulation of the stupa is accompanied by prayer wheels, shrines, and chaityas depicting Buddhist and Hindu gods. The stupa complex is surrounded by prayer wheels and deities.

Swayambhunath’s History Since Fifth Century

In Kathmandu valley, the ancient and enigmatic Swayambhunath Stupa, crowned by a golden spire on a conical hillside, is the most enigmatic of all the holy shrines. A stone inscription confirms that this stupa was already a Buddhist pilgrimage destination in the 5th century AD because of its lofty white dome and sparkling golden spire.

A much earlier time before Buddhism arrived in the valley, however, it had its origins. It is said that a miraculous lotus blossomed from the lake that once covered Kathmandu valley as a result of a miracle plant by a Buddha 2,500 years ago. Known as Swayambhu because the lotus radiated a brilliant light, the place became known as Self-Created or Self-Existent because of the brilliant light it radiated.

The enlightenment-granting power of this miraculous light led saints, sages and divinities to venerate it. 

The dazzling light of the Swayambhu was seen by the Manjushri during this time as he meditated at Wu Tai Shan. His blue lion flew across Tibetan and Chinese mountains to worship the lotus. After being struck deeply by the radiant light, Manjushri thought that removing the water from the lake would allow humanity to reach Swayambhu more easily. 

The lotus was transformed into a hill and the light became the Swayabhunath Stupa by Manjushri cutting a gorge in the mountains surrounding the lake.

Swayambhunath Stupa as UNESCO World Heritage Site

Swayambhunath is one of ten UNESCO world heritage sites of Nepal. It was listed along with other 9 Heritage sites of Nepal, including several National Park, Pashupatinath Temple, etc.

Historical Importance of this Stupa, Religious Beliefs of People, Location of the Swayambhunath, and its structure had enhanced it to list as one of the best destinations by UNESCO.

Best Time To Visit Swayambhunath Temple

You can visit Swayambhunath any time of the year, but it is best to visit the temple early in the morning, before 9am. This is the best time to see many pilgrims and rituals. In the Noon & Evening, you will be surrounded by tourists taking pictures and doing touristy things. There will be many prime activities taking place at the temple on a Saturday. Saturday is a public holiday here, so there will be many locals and tourists.

If you are looking for the best climate in Kathmandu, then spring and fall are the best seasons. If you are looking to visit the temples, then September to mid-May is the best time.

The best time to visit this temple is during the Buddha Jayanth celebration of April/May and Losar celebration of February/March. It would be hard for tourists to enjoy sightseeing and other activities during the rainy season if it were during Gunla celebration in August or September.

How to Reach Swayambhunath Stupa?

Foreigners must first reach Kathmandu if they wish to visit. Buses can easily be found from different areas of Kathmandu to Swayambhunath, and if you are near the Ring Road of Nepal, you will see several public buses running in the route that passes through Swayambhunath every minute. If you are taking a taxi, you can go halfway to the top of Swayambhunath.

It costs you at max. Nepaese Rupees i.e. NRs. 50 for One Way Public Vehicle to Swayambhunath from different areas of Kathmandu.

Getting up to the shrine is quite a challenge due to the steep stone steps. The Swayambhu shrine is a popular Buddhist and Hindu pilgrimage site. There is also a motor road that almost takes you to the top. Buddhists and Hindus alike visit the shrine throughout the day. It is possibly Nepal’s best example of religious harmony. On Buddha’s birthday, which usually falls in May, the greatest number of people gather here.

Entry Fee To Enter Swayambhunath Stupa

This temple is open to all people regardless of their creed or religion.

  • Entry fee for SAARC National Citizens – NRs. 50 Per Person
  • Entry fee for foreigner – NRs. 200 Per Person

Nepali Nationals can enter this temple for free. Also, Children below 10 Years old can enter this stupa for free irrespective of their Nationality, and Religions.

Swayambhunath Stupa Highlights

  • It is on the east side of the stupa that the huge gold-plated Vajra ‘thunderbolt’ is displayed.
  • Swayambhu’s west side has a Buddha statue.
  • A sleeping Buddha.
  • Buddhist sculptures and Tibetan paintings decorate the Dewa Dharma Monastery.
  • There is a temple dedicated to Harati, the goddess of all children. It is said that she was an ogre before she was converted to be the goddess of all children by Lord Buddha.

Major Attractions of Swayambhunath Stupa

On the way up the hill to the white domed stupa, you can see thousands of pilgrims walking up the 365 steps before sunrise.

Harati Devi Temple

Harati Devi Temple
Harati Devi Temple

An important temple within this structure is the temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Harati, who eradicated smallpox. This shrine is a brick pagoda. It holds a statue of a deity from the 19th century. Women and children visit this shrine to pray for blessings. A stew, bread and rice are served to the God.


Shantipur - Swoyambhunath
Shantipur – Swoyambhunath

Shanti Sri, who is believed to have been in a mystic living state for 1500 years, is said to be buried in a box shaped temple. It is believed that he has locked himself in a vault under the temple since the 5th century. He vowed to remain inside the vault until the valley of Kathmandu needed him. 

This chamber was visited by the king of Kathmandu, Partap Malla, in the 17th century, when the valley of Kathmandu was suffering from drought. A few underground rooms were filled with frightening elements like snakes, hawks, ghosts, etc. The last room contained the saint alive and meditating. A relic of the saint was given to the king, and the rain began immediately.

Pratapur and Anantapur

Pratapur and Anantapur
Pratapur and Anantapur

As a gift from King Pratap Malla for his victory in Tibet in the 17th century, these temples were built in the shape of bullets. These temples are found on either side of the stupa. The temple has twin bells engraved with inscriptions about its victory.

Shree Karma Raj Mahavihar

Shree Karma Raj Mahavihar
Shree Karma Raj Mahavihar

Monks of this monastery perform rituals every evening at 3pm or 4pm in the northeast corner of the temple complex.



A gold-plated Vajra, the iconic symbol of Vajrayana Buddhism, is placed next to the stupa’s Dharmadhatu mandala.

Book Swayambhunath Stupa Tour With Us

If you would like to visit this Religious Place, You can call us at +977-9863655576, write to us at ddmelamchi@gmail.com or Message us by clicking on the Chat Icon shown in the Right Down Corner of your Mobile Screen.


Swayambhunath was built in 460 AD.

Swayambhunath was built by King Manadeva.

Swayambhunath Temple is located in Northwest Part of Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu is the Capital City of Nepal.

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