Buddhism in Bodhnath
It has been quite some time since I have blogged about a temple but I feel this particular place is more than deserving of a post, it is the wonderfully quiet and very spiritual UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bodhnath in Nepal. I have been here on three different occasions, each in different years, and each time I fall in love with this small town a little more! The colours of the prayer flags, the sound of pilgrims shuffling around the stupa and monks chanting in the background, the smell of Tibetan food cooking – it all makes for a really great place to visit so it comes as no surprise that it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area.
“On the eastern side of Kathmandu, just north of the airport and around 6km from Thamel, is Bodhnath, home to one of the world’s largest stupas. The village, also known as Boudha (pronounced boe-da), is the religious centre for Nepal’s considerable population of Tibetan exiles, and the side streets are full of maroon-robed Tibetan (and foreign) monks, gleaming monastery roofs and shop fronts full of Tibetan texts and yak butter. This is one of the few places in the world where Tibetan culture is accessible, vibrant and unfettered.
Bodhnath has always been linked to Tibetan Buddhism and Lhasa. A major trade route coming from Lhasa went through Sankhu, and Bodhnath therefore lies at the Tibetan traders’ entry to Kathmandu. One can easily imagine the traders giving thanks for their successful journey across the Himalaya, or praying for a safe return. People (including mountaineers and Sherpas) still come here to pray before undertaking a journey in the Himalaya.” Lonely Planet
It may seem odd but to me Bodhnath and Hong Kong are similar in some ways, the most prominent in my mind is that they both give you really bad neck-ache! Oh the pain after a full day of staring upwards at those prayer flags; for those of you who know me personally you’ll know that I am a total perfectionist, even when it is in regards to the way prayer flags blow, I am quite happy to wait an hour for just the right amount of breeze and the right amount of light to filter through – I stand by the saying that the best shots are never the easiest, I hope you enjoy them…