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Swayambhunath is the oldest religious site of Nepal which lies in the north-west part of Kathmandu valley (the capital city of Nepal). It is also known as Buddha’s temple and monkey temple. It is one of the oldest temples and listed in UNESCO world heritage sites.
So, it carries a long history. It is a holy place where mainly Hinduism and Buddhism followers come for worship. Plenty and varieties of trees and plants are found in a hill, due to that reason the Tibetan name for the site is Sublime Trees.
It is located in high altitude where any visitors can see the view of Kathmandu valley and around its site. It can easily accessible by any mean of a vehicle. Anyone can hang out by seeing those beautiful heart touching panoramic view from the top of a hill.
This stupa symbolizes the shrines and monasteries building. It is the holy or sacred place of Hindus and Buddhists. In the 13th century, it was declared as the main center of Buddhism because it was made from Buddha’s stupa. In the world, it was known as a monkey temple.
How Monkey Temple existed
In 17th-century king Pratap Malla (one of the powerful king of Kathmandu valley) enchanted architecture and also added a stairway to get the stupa. Emperor Ashoka built a temple on the hill which was destroyed in the 3rd century.
About 2000 years ago, it was developed after draining out all water from Kathmandu valley. Because in the ancient period Kathmandu valley was covered by a lake. It is said that when the valley was a lake, the lotus grows in the same water.
So, the valley called Swayambhu which means self – created. That name came from an eternal self-existent flame over which a stupa was built.
One day Manjushri’ saw a dream about the lotus which grew in the lake and after that, he went there for worship every day. Going every day for worshiping he had a vision of the beautiful valley in it. So, he cut the gorge at Chovar by his magical sword and free all the water. After draining out all water, the lotus was transformed into a hill and flame became the stupa where the lake was turned into a good settlement for people.
People began to live in the valley and they started to cultivate fertile soil for livelihood. The stupa consists of a vault at the lower base which represented the entire world of wisdom and compassion. A large pair of eyes are printed on every four sides of the main stupa which represented the eyes of Buddha looking in all four directions.
Why Swayambhunath is Called Monkey Temple?
Further, the name of Swayambhunath is known as a monkey temple because we can found many monkeys around the hill. Due to the small area of it, monkeys are found in dense numbers. Some monkeys are seen carrying a baby monkey in their back. And some monkeys are found feeding their baby. Some are busy to take off their baby lice.
Even dogs are barking toward monkeys because of their crazy movement. Some monkeys troubles and teases people but more of them are friendly in nature. In a simple way, monkeys have done a lot of fun than the people did who came to visit there. Monkeys are believed and treated as our ancestors.
These monkeys are regarded as holy because monkeys were made of Manjushri’s head’s lice. At that time the people were supposed to put their hair short but he made it grow long and head lice grew eventually. It is believed that the head lice transformed into these monkeys.
Another Monkey Temple in Kathmandu – Pashupatinath
One of the biggest and famous temples of Nepal is Pashupatinath situated near the side of the Bagmati river. Here we can find many species of birds and animals with lots of mindblowing architecture, a statue of god and goddess in the Pashupatinath area.
One of the animal monkeys is easily found in every step of people. That’s why we Nepalese people don’t panic to see monkeys in these areas. It is just a simple thing in the area. Monkeys come every day to eat fruits that people are offering in a temple.
As Nepal is a secular Hinduism country, most people think that monkey is one of the incarnations of God. So, people feed monkeys various food. Most of the day people are visiting this temple for a different purpose. Hundreds of Hindus came here for every day to worship.
Every day there is a crowd of people. Likewise, there are also found groups of monkeys at every nook of temple areas. We can see the amazing behavior of monkeys if we visit there. Some are playing in a group, Some are resting, Some are entertaining the people by their crazy movement.
Why should you visit Monkey Temple
So, What are the similarities between Pashupatinath and Swayambhunath? Why should we visit there and for what reason? Why is this place also called the land of monkey? These questions may arise in every visitor’s mind. The answer to this question is that visitors would enjoy sightseeing. They can spend their time seeing the crazy movement of monkeys. And they have a great chance to research monkeys if they are interested.
Visitors could entertain themselves by taking a photo. These places are also famous for monkeys and monkeys are holy and it is treated as a god in Nepali tradition and culture. And both are included in the UNESCO world heritage site which makes it proud of every Nepalese people. April 2015 earthquake had damaged the monastery. But it will be reformed soon because it is necessary to conserve for our future generation.
At last, Swayambhu and Pashupatinath temple is the oldest and famous in other South Asian countries. In both places, monkeys are living for long past and also known as monkey placed. People can spend their time seeing a funny and eye-catching movement of monkeys. We can see that monkeys are jumping from one place to another or one tree to others. This shows that humans and monkeys have a good relationship.
If we treated well in returned monkey treated well too. The human also believed that the monkey is our ancestor. Many research committees inside or outside of the country came here to research monkeys in various fields.
Being Nepal is a secular Hinduism country people thought that monkey was an incarnation of God. People feed monkeys themselves. Thus it is one of the better places to visit for various reasons. If you didn’t come here till now, you must visit one time in your life to play with beautiful nature and animals.