The sheer number of temples located in Kathmandu and the surrounding valley has earned it the nickname City of Temples. You could easily spend your entire Kathmandu trip hopping from one temple to the next. To help narrow it down, here are five you definitely shouldn’t miss.
Boudhanath (Boudha Stupa)
Boudh, Kathmandu, Nepal, 44600
The stupa of Boudha dates back to the 14th century and, along with Lumbini—the birthplace of the Buddha—and the hilltop temple of Swayambhu, it's one of the country’s standout Buddhist sites. Visitors of all backgrounds can join processions around the stupa and spin the prayer wheels that surround the monument. Most guided tours—whether group or private—cover the stupa along with attractions such as Pashupati or Swayambhu in the same day.
Things to Know Before You Go
Boudhanath is one of the most important religious sites in the Kathmandu Valley.
Wear comfortable footwear if you plan on making kora around the stupa—108 is the holiest number.
Visitors unable to walk around the stupa can still partake by lighting incense or a butter candle.
Don’t miss a taste of traditional Tibetan noodle dishes in a local eatery.
Tibetan jewelry, handicrafts, and thangka painting shops surround the bustling public square..
How to Get There
Most tours offer complimentary hotel pickup in Kathmandu, a short distance away. Otherwise, taxi rides can be arranged. Although entirely pedestrianized, the stupa of Boudha is easily reached by a main roadway.
When to Get There
On a typical day, most Buddhist worshippers arrive at dawn to circumambulate around the stupa. To soak up the most spiritual ambiance, time your visit with local monks, nuns, and Tibetan residents. In February or March, Boudhanath hosts the Tibetan New Year festival of Losar, and Buddha Jayanti (Buddha’s birthday) is celebrated in April or May during the full moon, an auspicious time for Buddhists.
Admire Tibetan Art
The intricately hand-painted devotional images, known as thangka paintings, are for sale in handicraft shops surrounding the stupa. Colorful and vibrant, they depict Buddhists deities or cosmic realms, painted with an astonishing attention to detail. Pick up your own souvenir painting, or wander the shops to get a firsthand peek at the centuries-old Tibetan art form.
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