Boudhanath Stupa resides amidst the hustling bustling Kathmandu city is a perfect getaway for peace and tranquility. The ambiance of the places is a treat for all senses; the soothing prayers, the aroma of the incense, monks clad in maroon and yellow attire and the watchful eyes of Buddha gives the place an out of the world experience. This is one of the few places in the world where Tibetan Buddhist culture is accessible and unfettered, and the lanes around the stupa are crammed with monasteries and workshops producing butter lamps, ceremonial horns, Tibetan drums, monks’ headgear and the other paraphernalia essential for Tibetan Buddhist life. Being the largest stupa in Asia Boudha attracts both internal and external tourists around the year.
Historically, the stupa was an important staging post on the trade route between Lhasa and Kathmandu, and Tibetan traders would pray here for a safe journey before driving their yaks on to the high passes of the Himalaya. Originally a Tamang settlement, today most of the people living in the village of Boudha (pronounced boe-da) are Tibetan refugees who fled China after 1959. The stupa also attracts many Sherpas, descendants of eastern Tibetans who migrated to the Everest region of Nepal in the 16th century. Many of the monasteries around the stupa have opened their doors to foreign students, so you’ll see plenty of Western dharma students in maroon robes as you stroll around the backstreets.
The best time to visit Bodhnath is late afternoon, when the group tours head home and elderly exiles stroll down to the stupa to light butter lamps, spin prayer wheels, chant mantras, socialise and stroll clockwise around the monument as part of their daily spiritual workout. Try to visit on the evening of the full moon, when the plaza surrounding the stupa is lit up by thousands of butter lamps.