Swayambhu is located on a hill west of the city, this is one of the most important pilgrim centres for the Bhuddhist who visit this place from far and wide. Swayambhu is said to be two thousand years old, making it one of the world’s oldest and most glorious Bhuddhist Chaityas. Swayambhunath is one of the most ancient and holy Buddhist sites in the Kathmandu valley. It sits on a prominent hill that is visible from throughout Kathmandu. If you are familiar with Kathmandu, you also may have heard Swayambhunath called the Monkey Temple because of the troupe of monkeys that lives there As one climb up the 350 odd stairs, one is watched by the watchful eyes of the Bhuddha which has been painted on all the four sides of the tower. The stupas is situated three kilometers west of Kathmandu city, and stands on a hill.
Swayambhunath is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. It is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in parts of the temple in the north-west. The Tibetan name for the site means ‘Sublime Trees, for the many varieties of trees found on the hill. However, Shing.kun may be a corruption of the local Newari name for the complex. For the Buddhist Newars in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice, Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it second only to Boudhanath.
Although the site is considered Buddhist, the place is revered by both Buddhists and Hindus. Numerous king Hindu followers are known to have paid their homage to the temple, including Pratap Malla, the powerful king of Kathmandu, who is responsible for the construction of the eastern stairway in the 17th century.
The stupa was completely renovated in May of 2010, its first major renovation in 90 years and its 15th in the nearly 1,500 years since it was built. The dome was re-gilded using 20 kg of GOLD. The renovation was funded by the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center of California, and began in June 2008.
The dome at the base represents the entire world. When a person awakes (represented by eyes of wisdom and compassion) from the bonds of the world, the person reaches the state a bit higher. The thirteen pinnacles on the top of it symbolises that sensient beings have to go through the thirteen stages of enlightenment to reach Buddhahood.
On each of the four sides of the main stupa there are a pair of big eyes which represent Wisdom and Compassion. Above each pair of eyes is another eye, the third eye. Saying goes that when Buddha preaches, cosmic rays emanate from the third eye which acts as message to heavenly beings, so that those interested can come down to earth to listen to the Buddha. The hellish beings and beings below the human realm cannot come to earth to listen to the Buddha’s teaching, however, the cosmic ray relieves their suffering when Buddha preaches.