The Buddhist temple of Swayambhunath is situated on top of a hill is one of the most popular, holy and instantly recognizable symbols of Nepal. The temple is also known as the ‘monkey temple‘ because of the large tribe of monkeys who live the complex. It has 365 steps leading to the Temple that is believed to be ‘Self-Created‘ or ‘Self-Existence.’ Historical records found on a stone inscription give evidence that the stupa was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination as early as 5th century A.D. even before the coming of Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here are photos I took when i visited Swayambhunath.
Swayambhunath is among the oldest religious sites in Nepal. According to the legends, Swayambhunath was founded by the great-grandfather of King Mānadeva, King Vṛsadeva, at the beginning of the 5th century. This seems to be confirmed by a damaged stone inscription found at the site. However, Emperor Ashoka is said to have visited the site in the third century and built a temple on the hill which was later destroyed. Although the site is considered Buddhist, the place is revered by both Buddhists and Hindus. Numerous Hindu followers are known to have paid their homage to the temple, including Pratap Malla, the powerful king of Kathmandu, who is responsible for the construction of the eastern stairway in the 17th century. The stupa was completely renovated in May 2010, its first major renovation in 90 years and its 15th in the nearly 1,500 years since it was built. The dome was re-gilded using 20 kg of gold. The renovation was funded by the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center of California, and began in June 2008.