Swayambhunath Stupa - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Swayambhunath Stupa

Swayambhunath Stupa

The golden spire of the 5th-century Swayambhu Stupa is adorned with a colourful fluttering of prayer flags; it crowns a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley and offers fantastic views over the city of Kathmandu. Swayambhunath is one of the most recognisable symbols in Nepal and the painted eyes of Buddha watch all those who ascend the worn stone steps. The Swayambhu Stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal, and is at the source of the Valley's mythical beginning. Legend has it that the history of the Valley began with the draining of an ancient lake by an Enlightened Being to reveal the Valley and a lotus flower was transformed into the hill and the shining light became the stupa itself. Swarms of pilgrims and red-clad monks circle the complex, spinning the prayer wheels, while the scores of monkeys that give the temple its nickname, Monkey Temple, prance about in irreverent groups. Interestingly the temple complex is scattered with shrines and statues of Buddhist and Hindu deities and the assortment of pilgrims from both faiths characterises the country's unique religious harmony.

Information & Facts

NPR 50 if entering from the car park, but free if entering via the stairway
Nepali is the official language. English is spoken in all major tourist areas.

The official currency is the Nepali Rupee (NPR), which is divided into 100 paisa. As change can be a problem it is recommended that visitors have a supply of small notes handy. Tourist activities are often quoted in US Dollars and it is advisable to carry new dollar bills in varied denominations. Both Euro and US dollar travellers cheques are widely accepted in tourist areas and can be cashed easily in most banks and major hotels throughout the country. There are ATMs in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are accepted in many tourist hotels, shops, restaurants and travel agencies. Banks and moneychangers are present in all tourist places and in the major cities; all receipts from foreign exchange transactions should be kept so rupees can be exchanged back into foreign currencies on departure. Cash is needed when trekking.

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