Wednesday 26 November 2014

A Temple where Monkeys rule

During our tour in Nepal, we passed through Swayambunath Stupa temple, dubbed the 'Monkey temple'. Inhabited by hundreds of Monkeys, tourists and worshippers wander alongside mostly avoiding getting too close to the temperamental and unpredictable creatures. On the striking white stupa near the entrance, the eyes of Buddha are painted on all four sides of the structure. Looking out over the valley, the Buddha's all seeing eye. The nose is actually the Nepali for 1, symbolising unity and the one way to reach enlightenment, through the teachings of Buddha. In between the eyebrows is the 'third eye', the all-seeing wisdom of Buddha.

As we make our way around the temple, up a long staircase to the top, which looks out over Kathmandu Valley, there are less monkeys to avoid and a slightly greater feeling of calm. Around the top section, alongside shrines and small temples are stalls selling Buddhist art, jewellery, prayer flags, idols and trinkets for visitors to take home with them. I walk clockwise around the main stupa, surrounded with prayer wheels. Turning them as much to use them as intended as to simply watch them spin. 

Back down at the entrance, I have a go at throwing a coin into the 'lucky' fountain. As expected I miss the target, and my copper coin sinks to the bottom of the green lagoon, to take its place with the hundreds of other unlucky ones. 

Over to one side of the temple complex is the Monkey swimming pool. Where they frolic, diving in and swimming around. This is really fun to watch and my mum and I stand here watching until everyone is ready to head back onto the bus and continue onwards to Kathmandu. 

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