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Boudhanath (Nepali: बौद्धनाथ, also called the Khāsa Caitya, Newari Khāsti, Standard Tibetan Jarung Khashor, Wylie: bya rung kha shor) is a stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal.[2] Located about 11 km (6.8 mi) from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa's massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.[3]

Boudhanath Panorama.jpg
Bauddhanāth Panorama
Boudhanath is located in Nepal
Shown within Nepal
Basic information
Location Kathmandu, Nepal
Geographic coordinates 27°43′17″N 85°21′43″E / 27.72139°N 85.36194°E / 27.72139; 85.36194Coordinates: 27°43′17″N 85°21′43″E / 27.72139°N 85.36194°E / 27.72139; 85.36194
Affiliation Buddhism
Country Nepal
Architectural type Stupa
Height (max) 36 metres (118 ft)[1]
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Official name Kathmandu Valley
Criteria Cultural: (iii), (iv), (vi) Edit this on Wikidata
Reference 121bis-005
Inscription 1979 (3rd Session)
The Eyes of Boudhanath stupa
Boudhanath with prayer flags

The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline; it is one of the largest stupas in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 gompas (Tibetan convent) around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhu, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area.

The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner, passes by Boudnath Stupa to the ancient and smaller stupa of Cā-bahī (often called "Little Boudhanath"). It then turns directly south, heading over the Bagmati River to Lalitpur - thus bypassing the main city of Kathmandu (which was a later foundation).[2] Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha.




Little Boudnath, Kathmandu. 1979 Photo by James Khati.

There is a Buddhist legend of the story of the building of the stupa. The legend begins with an apsara in a previous life, Jadzima (Wylie: bya rdzi ma). Jadzima was born into an ordinary family of the earth after the reduction of her religious merit from the heaven. She had four husbands and gave birth to four sons from each of her husbands. Tadzibu (Wylie: rta rdzi'i bu) was born of a horse trader, Pakdzibu (Wylie: phag rdzi'i bu) from a pig trader, Khyidzibu (Wylie: khyi rdzi'i bu) from a dog trader and Jadzibu (Wylie: bya rdzi'i bu) from a poultry business man. All four had a deep respect for religion and decided to construct the largest stupa. The land necessary for the stupa was made available by Majadzima (Wylie: ma bya rdzi ma), and construction was started soon after. The construction materials, soil, brick, and stone, were carried on elephants, horses, donkeys and other animals to the site. Majadzima died four years into the project, shortly after the completion of the fourth story. After three more years of ceaseless efforts, the sons completed the Baudha stupa, totaling nearly seven years of work.

It is believed that thousands of Buddhas and Heavenly Deities incarnated as Lamas in the Baudha stupa. It is said that because of Rabne, the rays of bodhisattvas entered in the song from heaven and the holy sound of was heard in the sky. Due to being empowered by the Bodhisattvas, this stupa is viewed with a great reverence, as are Sanggyétong Düpé Chöten (Tibetan: Wylie: sangs rgyas stong 'dus pa'i mchod rten) etc.

After the completion of the construction of Boudha stupa, Tajibu prayed very devoutly to become the king of the northern region to disseminate the religion. He was the chakravartin, Trisong Detsen of the Tibetan Empire in his next life. Phagjibu wished to be a scholar to disseminate the religion, and he became Bodhisattva Śāntarakṣita, an enlightened teacher in Tibet in the next life. Khyijibu was incarnated as the enlightened Padmasambhava on Ashadha Dashain in Oḍḍiyāna, (Skt. Oḍḍiyāna; Tibetan: Urgyen, Wylie: u rgyan), in the southwest area, at Dhanakosha Lake. He suppressed the Demons who were barriers to the religion and conserved and protected the religion from the Demonic attacks. Jyajibu prayed to be a minister for the protection of religion in the north, and as an answer to his prayer he was born at Tibet and became the minister Bami Trizher (Tibetan: Wylie: sba mi khri bzher).

All of these people prayed for themselves, but they did not pray for the animals, who transported the brick, soil, and stone. These animals became angry and the elephant prayed to be the Demon in the next life to eliminate the religion, and became the King Langdarma of Tibet in the next life, where Tajibu had disseminated the holiest religion. In the same way, the Donkey prayed to become a minister in the next life to destroy the religion, and he too became a minister Dülön Mazhang Drompakyé (Tibetan: Wylie: bdud blon ma zhang grom pa skyes) in Tibet.

A crow listened the prayers of these animals who prayed for the destruction of the holiest religion, and the crow prayed to the Bauddha Stupa to be a minister to protect and preserve Buddhism by killing the anti-Buddhist king Langdarma (Wylie: glang dar ma) in the next life. He was born as Lhalung Pel gyi Dorjé (Tibetan: Wylie: lha lung dpal gyi rdo rje) in the next life, and assassinated Langdarma with a bow and arrow.

The cowherds and shepherds, who prayed for the protection of religion and suppression of demons (who were attempting to eliminate the holy religion), were born as Chölön Gö Padma Gungtsen (Tibetan: Wylie: chos blon 'gos padma gung mtsan) in Tibet to conserve the religion. In the same way, Chodpurchan and Sarse, two Brahmins who prayed to the stupa to be born in the holy country and to write the holy literature were reborn in the next life as Kawa Paltsek (Tibetan: Wylie: ska ba dpal brtsegs) Chokro Lü Gyeltsen (Tibetan: Wylie: cog ro klu'i rgyal mtshan); these two translated thousands of holy teachings of Buddha into Tibetan.

In addition, two crown princes of Nepal prayed to be helpers in disseminating the religion, and became Denma Tsemang (Tibetan: Wylie: ldan ma rtse mang) and Lekjin Nyima (Tibetan: Wylie: legs byin nyi ma) in their next lives, and wrote many holy books. Additionally, the religious king of Tibet, Dechen Dewachan, asked the greatest teacher: "what could be the factor and cultural background of our previous life that made us deeply devoted in religion and active in disseminating religious matters"? He was answered and was reverently referred by the Guru as 'Jyarung Khashor.

Myths of The Holy StupaEdit

Once in ancient Nepal, there lived a very grumpy, rude and irreligious man. He was detested by everyone and never did anything pious in his life. He owned a shop in the city complex, but hardly anyone came to his shop because he spoke ill of everyone who came there. When he died, he fell straight to hell. Just before he was to be sentenced for his sins, The Buddha appeared and nullified his sentence. When the demons asked The Holy One why he did this, The Buddha answered, "Yes, this man has committed many sins in his life, but once he circled around Boudhanath while chasing a dog, he had gained a little merit; thus, the Buddhas shall grant him one chance to atone." After this incident, it is believed that if a person has committed great sins, they can circle around the stupa--if only one time--and be granted one chance to atone for their sins.

Legend of the construction of the stupa according to Tibetan Buddhist mythologyEdit

Prayer wheels, Boudhanath, 1974
"The village that surrounds the great Kāṣyapa stupa is generally known by the name of Bauḍḍha. ...which in Tibetan is called Yambu Chorten Chenpo (Tibetan: ཡམ་བུའི་མཆོད་རྟེན་ཆེན་པོ། Wylie: yam bu'i mchod rten chenpo). Yambu is the general name by which Kāthmāndu is known in Tibet, and Chorten Chenpo means great stupa. The real name of the stupa in full is, however, Jya Rung Khashor Chorten Chenpo, which may be translated into: "Have finished giving the order to proceed with." The stupa has an interesting history of its own which explains this strange name. It is said in this history that Kāṣyapa was a Buḍḍha that lived a long time before Shākyamuni Buḍḍha. after Kāṣyapa Buḍḍha's demise, a certain old woman, with her four sons, interred this great sage's remains at the spot over which the great mound now stands, the latter having been built by the woman herself. Before starting on the work of construction, she petitioned the King of the time and obtained permission to "proceed with" building a tower. By the time that, as a result of great sacrifices on the part of the woman and her four sons, the groundwork of the structure had been finished, those who saw it were astonished at the greatness of the scale on which it was undertaken. Especially was this the case with the high officials of the country, who all said that if such a poor old dame were allowed to complete building such a stupendous tower, they themselves would have to dedicate a temple as great as a mountain, and so they decided to ask the King to disallow the further progress of the work. When the King was approached on the matter his Majesty replied: "I have finished giving the order to the woman to proceed with the work. Kings must not eat their words, and I cannot undo my orders now." So the tower was allowed to be finished, and hence its unique name, "Jya Rung Khashor Chorten Chenpo." I rather think, however, that the tower must have been built after the days of Shākyamuni Buḍḍha, for the above description from Tibetan books is different from the records in Sanskrit, which are more reliable than the Tibetan." the biggest stupa in Nepal[4]


The Gopālarājavaṃśāvalī says Boudhanath was founded by the Nepalese Licchavi king Śivadeva (c. 590-604 CE); though other Nepalese chronicles date it to the reign of King Mānadeva (464-505 CE).[5][6] Tibetan sources claim a mound on the site was excavated in the late 15th or early 16th century and the bones of King Aṃshuvarmā 605-621 were discovered there.[7]

The Great Stupa

However, the emperor Trisong Detsen (r. 755 to 797) of the Tibetan Empire is also traditionally associated with the construction of the Boudhanath Stupa. The Yolmo Shakya Zangpo from Helambu resurrected Boudhanath.[8]

2015 EarthquakeEdit

Renovation of Boudhanath stupa after being damaged by the Nepal earthquake
During the Renovation of Boudhanath Temple Buddhism followers are praying every day in front of the temple at monastery
Renovation of Boudhanath Stupa by local initiation. This is the major renovation after the devastating earthquake in Nepal in 2015, April.

The April 2015 Nepal earthquake badly damaged Boudhanath Stupa, severely cracking the spire. As a result, the whole structure above the dome, and the religious relics it contained had to be removed, which was completed by the end of October 2015. The reconstruction began on 3 November 2015 with the ritual placement of a new central pole or "life tree" for the stupa at the top of the dome.[9]

After earthquake on 2015 photo galleryEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Department of Archaeology (Nepal). "Bauddhanath". Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Snellgrove, David. Indo-Tibetan Buddhism: Indian Buddhists and Their Tibetan Successors, 2 vols., p. 365. (1987) Shambhala Publications, Boston. ISBN 0-87773-311-2 (v. 1); ISBN 0-87773-379-1 (v. 2).
  3. ^ "Fables of Boudhanath and Changunarayan". Archived from the original on 2007-02-09. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  4. ^ Ekai Kawaguchi. Three Years in Tibet, (1909), pp. 35-36. Reprint: Book Faith India, Delhi (1995). ISBN 81-7303-036-7.
  5. ^ Shah, Rishikesh (1990). Ancient and Medieval Nepal. Ratna Pustak Bhandar. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-7855-0252-4. 
  6. ^ Ehrhard, Franz-Karl (1990). "The Stupa of Bodhnath: A Preliminary Analysis of the Written Sources." Ancient Nepal - Journal of the Department of Archaeology, Number 120, October–November 1990, pp. 1-6.
  7. ^ Ehrhard, Franz-Karl (1990). "The Stupa of Bodhnath: A Preliminary Analysis of the Written Sources." Ancient Nepal - Journal of the Department of Archaeology, Number 120, October–November 1990, pp. 7-9.
  8. ^ The Legend of the Great Stupa and The Life Story of the Lotus Born Guru, pp. 21-29. Keith Dowman (1973). Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center. Dharma Books. Berkeley, California.
  9. ^ "Boudha Stupa". Nepal Trekking. Retrieved 28 Nov 2016. 

Further readingEdit

  • The Legend of the Great Stupa and The Life Story of the Lotus Born Guru. Keith Dowman. (1973). Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center. Dharma Books. Berkeley, California.
  • Psycho-Cosmic Symbolism of the Buddhist Stūpa. Lama Anagarika Govinda. (1976) Dharma Books. Berkeley, California. ISBN 0-913546-35-6; ISBN 0-913546-36-4 (pbk).

External linksEdit