Swayambhunath

by Aish King November. 05, 2016 1022 views

October 14. 

I know I've been a bit MIA lately, but things have gotten a bit busy in my last weeks in Kathmandu.  Moving houses was the best decision I could have made, but the influx of friendships meant that I haven't had time to keep up with my photoblog!  But now I'm back, and I'm going to backtrack a little bit, to the day I went wandering to Swayambhunath, commonly known as the Monkey Temple.

Most of the previous week I had been holed up inside at my new house, basking in the functioning WiFi (lame, I know).  But finally I realized that I needed to get out of the house, so I stepped out and walked the 4 miles to Swayambhunath, a Buddhist temple located on a hill to the west of Kathmandu.

I made it, a bit hot and sweaty from my jaunt, to find myself at the bottom of an enormous and extremely steep staircase. 

...365 steps...

Luckily, on the way there I had bought a water bottle... because otherwise I might have fainted by the time I reached the top.   It was at least 75 degrees (F) and sunny.   At the top of the stairs I found the first evidence of why the temple is often referred to as the "monkey temple."

First glimpse of the monkeys, ft. view of Kathmandu

Of course, the relevant authorities cleverly put the ticket booth near the top of the stairs - after climbing 300 steps it's too late to turn back.  Luckily for me, the cost was only 200RS (about $2), as opposed to the 1500RS and 1000RS charged at other temples around the city. 

A multitude of prayer flags

So I entered the main temple complex, saw the main stupa with Buddha's eyes and eyebrows painted on, and then proceded to wander around lesser frequented areas. The temple rests in the middle of a small forest set atop a hill, affording a wonderful view of the city, as well as of other, lower parts of the complex. 

View of the complex

And now for the part we've all been waiting for. As I wandered around I saw monkeys here and there, as promised by the temple's nickname.   But then I entered one path and viola! A large crowd of monkeys, some scampering along the low roof of various temples, some just hanging out by the rail.  As more people came along they hurried off the side into the forested area, but luckily I caught a nice shot before they wandered away. 

Monkeys at last


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