A must-visit while in Kathmandu is the famous Monkey Temple. It’s within walking distance from Thamel and is a place totally worth visiting.
Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple, is an iconic religious and cultural site in Kathmandu, Nepal. Here are some things to do at Swayambhunath:
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1. Climb the Steps, Monkey Temple:
Ascend the long flight of steps to reach the main stupa. As you climb, you will encounter playful monkeys swinging from trees and rooftops, giving the temple its popular nickname.
2. Explore the Stupa Complex:
Once you reach the top, explore the stupa complex and take in the stunning views of the city and surrounding areas. Admire the gilded spire, prayer flags fluttering in the wind, and the all-seeing eyes of Buddha painted on the stupa.
3. Spin the Prayer Wheels:
Surrounding the main stupa are hundreds of prayer wheels. Take a moment to spin them clockwise, believing that each rotation sends prayers and blessings into the universe.
4. Visit Temples and Shrines:
Wander around the stupa complex to discover smaller temples, shrines, and small Buddha statues. Explore Tibetan Buddhist art and architecture as you pay respect and admire the religious artifacts and symbols.
5. Enjoy Sunset or Sunrise:
Swayambhunath offers spectacular views, especially during sunset and sunrise. Plan your visit accordingly to witness the golden light enveloping the temple and the city, creating a magical atmosphere.
6. Visit the Monastery:
There is a small monastery nearby, where you can observe monks engaged in their daily activities and prayers. It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance and witness Buddhist rituals.
7. Shop for Souvenirs:
Before leaving, explore the shops around the area and browse for unique souvenirs. You can find Tibetan handicrafts, prayer flags, jewellery, and other religious artefacts.
8. Enjoy Local Food:
After your visit, indulge in some local Nepali or Tibetan cuisine at the nearby restaurants. Try momos (dumplings), thukpa (noodle soup), or Tibetan butter tea for an authentic taste of the region.
Remember to respect the religious significance of the site and follow any rules or customs instructed by the locals.