Thursday, April 04, 2013

Boudhanath: A Nepalese symbol of Buddhist heritage

                    Text and pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Tantric posture at Boudhanath

Splendid view of the Stupa

 Ghee lamps are lit by devotees

If one considers culture and religious heritage as wealth, Nepal richness is limitless. The great stupa of Boudhanath bears testimony to this special wealth, as it continues to foster a great religious tradition that continues to date.

Standing approximately six kilometers North East from centre of the Katmandu valley surrounded by hills, the Boudhanath stupa is among the most significant landmarks in the area with its beautiful white edifice.
To Buddhist the world over, it is one of the most important places of pilgrimage. Besides its significance as a Buddhist tourist attraction, this unique temple is a true symbol of Nepal, and a tribute to its rich spirituality and heritage.

Boudhanath is one of the largest and most significant Buddhist monuments in the world. The stupa is commonly known as “Boudha” or “Boudhanath” or “Baudhanath” or “Khāsa Chaitiya”, meaning “Lord of Wisdom” or the “All -knowing”. 

The Newari people call it a “Dew Drop Stupa”, which is directly linked to their own ethnic origin, and connected to drought in the former Hindu Kingdom, according to folklore.
Standing 43 meters in high, the splendid stupa dominates the Kathmandu skyline.  It is approximately 120 feet in diameter with several tiny monuments built around it for the purpose of offering prayers to the Buddha.

There are numerous legends associated with the origin and history of Boudhanath. The stupa was built in 5th century AD is one of the biggest and oldest Buddhist monuments ever built in Nepal. It’s believed that, centuries ago a large number of Tibetan merchants had rested and offered prayers at this temple. Refugees who fled Tibet and entered Nepal in 1950s had settled around temple, giving the surroundings a unique Tibetan influence.
The spectacular stupa stands on a three-tiered mandala style platform. Devotees walk slowly around the temple, reciting Buddihst stanzas and turning the prayer wheels fixed on the wall, invoking blessings

There are Hindu deities carved in stones and smeared with vermilion, decorated with fresh flowers, offered with raw rice, stand and sit in a corner of the first layer of the Boudhanath stupa. Hermits occupy the space at the entrance of the shrine for Hindu deities.

Tibetan devotee performing rituals

Continuously turning prayer wheels

Pigeons occupying the white dome of Boudhanath Stupa during heavy winter

A set of Dhyani Buddha statues carved in one piece of stone at the entrance of Boudhanath

Religious rituals at Boudhanath

Spread of incense smoke

 Devotional items and offerings during prayers

Pilgrim relaxes during winter

Sense of stillness ~ Tibetan Golden deer statues at the monastery of Boudhanath Stupa

 Tibetan refugees are the most active community of devotees

 Conducting a religious ritual

Pigeons busily pecking grains and rice

 Boudhanath is a sacred site of spirituality

Beautiful bead necklaces for sale at Boudhanath

Devotees on a ring of road

Offerings to the God

 Identical Nepali eyes

 Pilgrim getting his prayer beads blessed at Boudhanath

Statue caved in at Boudhanath

Boudhanath remains a special location for Nepla's rich heritage

Vermillion smeared statue

Symbol of Nepal

Rite of worship of the Stupa in a clock wise direction is known as "Kora"

Hindu Goddess at Boudhanath

Boudhanath is one of the World Cultural Heritage Sites in Nepal

Raw rice offered to God

Offerings to stone statue

Brass statues for sale around Boudhanath

 Lord Ganesh at Boudhanath

 Devotees throng the temple from dawn to dusk

Multi-coloured flags fluttering during winter storm

 Giant prayer wheel

Wooden masks for sale

Scene at site of Boudhanath

                                                Pictorial on Ceylon Today



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