Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Monkey Temple, where I took my favorite picture ever.

I headed next to the Monkey Temple, which is also known as Swayambhu, which means "sublime trees" because of the variety of trees along the hill. The monkeys at the temple are considered holy. It's one of the oldest religious sites in Nepal, which is saying something, since Nepal has so many old religious sites. It was founded in the 5th centurd AD/CE.

The temple itself is considered Buddhist, but is revered by Buddhists and Hindus.
While it was officially founded in the 5th century, there are myths dating to the 15th century BC. This is the myth: "A collection of legends about the site, the 15th century Swayambhu Purana, tells of a miraculous lotus, planted by a past Buddha, which blossomed from the lake that once covered Kathmandu valley. The lotus mysteriously radiated a brilliant light, and the name of the place came to be Swayambhu, meaning 'Self-Created or Self-Existent'. Saints, sages and divinities traveled to the lake to venerate this miraculous light for its power in granting enlightenment. During this time, the Bodhisatva Manjushri was meditating at the sacred mountain of Wu Tai Shan and had a vision of the dazzling Swayambhu light. Manjushri flew across the mountains of China and Tibet upon his blue lion to worship the lotus. Deeply impressed by the power of the radiant light, Manjushri felt that if the water were drained out of the lake Swayambhu would become more easily accessible to human pilgrims. With a great sword Manjushri cut a gorge in the mountains surrounding the lake. The water, draining away, left the valley of present day Kathmandu. The lotus was then transformed into a hill and the light became the Swayabhunath Stupa."

The temple itself is beautiful and has amazing views of Kathmandu. I was there on a fairly clear day, so you could vaguely see the surrounding mountains through the clouds.
I do not enjoy monkeys. They are dirty and I've witnessed many a monkey in a touristy area steal things, including a pair of flip flops from a woman's feet.

The people watching at the temple was fabulous as well.

There were also a lot of puppies wandering around, which was adorable.

On many of the stupas around Nepal (and most likely other places that I haven't been) there are eyes on the stupa. According to the same website as above, "On each of the four sides of the main stupa there are a pair of big eyes. These eyes are symbolic of God's all-seeing perspective. There is no nose between the eyes but rather a representation of the number one in the Nepali alphabet, signifying that the single way to enlightenment is through the Buddhist path. Above each pair of eyes is another eye, the third eye, signifying the wisdom of looking within. No ears are shown because it is said the Buddha is not interested in hearing prayers in praise of him."

Here I am!

Unfortunately, this temple also sustained damage during the earthquake, which I am not surprised about. I don't know how much damage was sustained.

This picture here is my favorite picture I've ever taken! It has so much culture and I loved the people of Nepal.

I also love this picture of these women looking out on the city.

I loved this man, who hung around the same spot for my entire time at the temple, watching the people and the monkeys.
I had a great time watching people trying to throw coins into that little pot, which I believe means that you'll have good luck. The people throwing the coins were having a fabulous time.

This is one of my other favorite pictures that I've ever taken.

This is another one of my favorite pictures I've ever taken. That older woman was having such a fantastic time.

After the temple, I headed back to the area around my hotel and wandered around some more. I also got lost and asked if I wanted a gigalo, but that will be my next blog.

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