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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]
Official name: Kathmandu Valley
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv, vi
Designated 1979 (3rd session)
Reference no. 121
State Party    Nepal
The Eyes of Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa with Prayer Flags

Boudhanath (Devanagari, Nepali: बौद्धनाथ) (also called Boudha, Bauddhanāth or Bauddhanath or the Khāsa Caitya) is a stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is known as Khāsti in Nepal Bhasa, Jyarung Khashor in Tibetan language (Tibetan: བྱ་རུང་ཁ་ཤོར། Wylie: bya rung kha shor) or as Bauddha by speakers of Nepali.[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]

The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline. The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries) around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhunath, 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 Boudnath'). It then turns directly south, heading over the Bagmati river to Patan - 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.


Padmasambhava Buddhism[edit]

Little Boudnath, Kathmandu. 1979 Photo by James Khati.

This Bauddha stupa was built shortly after the death of Lord Buddha, and is the largest single Chhorten in the world.

The legend of its construction begins with an Apsara in a previous life, Jyajima (Tibetan: བྱ་རྫི་མ། Wylie: bya rdzi ma). Jyajima 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.

Tajibu (Tibetan: རྟ་རྫིའི་བུ། Wylie: rta rdzi'i bu) was born of a horse trader, Phagjibu (Tibetan: ཕག་རྫིའི་བུ། Wylie: phag rdzi'i bu) from a pig trader, khyijibu (Tibetan: ཁྱི་རྫིའི་བུ། Wylie: khyi rdzi'i bu) from dog trader and Jyajibu (Tibetan: བྱ་རྫིའི་བུ། Wylie: bya rdzi'i bu) from poultry business man. All four had a deep respect for religion and decided to construct the largest chhorten (stupa). The land necessary for the stupa was made available by Majyajima (Tibetan: མ་བྱ་རྫི་མ། 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. Majyajima 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 Sangye Tong Duspai Chorten (Tibetan: སངས་རྒྱས་སྟོང་འདུས་པའི་མཆོད་རྟེན། 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 Dharma King Trisong Detsen of Tibet 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 Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava on Ashada Dashain (on the tenth day of lunar calendar of first half of Ashada) in Oddiyana, Oḍḍiyāna (Skt. Oḍḍiyāna; Tibetan: ཨུ་རྒྱན།, Wylie: u rgyan, Oriya: ଓଡ଼ିଆଣ), 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 Bhami Thri Zher (Tibetan: སྦ་མི་ཁྲི་བཞེར། 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 Dudlon Mazhang Drompakye (Tibetan: བདུད་བློན་མ་ཞང་གྲོམ་པ་སྐྱེས། 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 he (the crow) prayed to the Bauddha Stupa to be a minister to protect and preserve the holy religion by killing the demonic king Langdarma (Tibetan: རྒྱལ་པོ་གླང་དར་མ། Wylie: rgyal po glang dar ma) in the next life. He was born as Lha Lung Pal Gyi Dorje (Tibetan: ལྷ་ལུང་དཔལ་གྱི་རྡོ་རྗེ། Wylie: lha lung dpal gyi rdo rje) in the next life, and assassinated King Lang Darma 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 Cholon Gos Padma Gung Tsan (Tibetan: ཆོས་བློན་འགོས་པདྨ་གུང་བཙན། Wylie: chos blon 'gos padma gung tsan) 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: སྐ་བ་དཔལ་བརྩེགས། Wylie: ska ba dpal brtsegs) and Chogro Lhui Gyaltshan (Tibetan: ཅོག་རོ་ཀླུའི་རྒྱལ་མཚན། Wylie: cog ro klu'i rgyaltshan); these two translated thousands of holy teachings of Lord Buddha into Bhoti (Tibetan) Language.

In addition, two crown princes of Nepal prayed to be helpers in disseminating the religion, and became Denma Tsemang (Tibetan: ལྡན་མ་རྩེ་མང་། Wylie:ldan ma rtse mang) and Legzyin Nyima (Tibetan: ལེགས་བྱིན་ཉི་མ། Wylie: legs byin nyi ma) in their next lives, and wrote many holy books. Additionally, the religious king of Tibet, Dechen Devachan, asked the greatest teacher Rinpoche: "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 Stupa[edit]

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 mythology[edit]

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 (Gopu) 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 Tibetan emperor, Trisong Detsän (r. 755 to 797) is also traditionally associated with the construction of the Boudhanath Stupa.Yolmo Ngagchang Sakya Zangpo from Helambu resurrected Boudhanath.[8]

2015 Earthquake[edit]

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 gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Shaha, Rishikesh. Ancient and Medieval Nepal. (1992), p. 123. Manohar Publications, New Delhi. ISBN 81-85425-69-8.
  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 reading[edit]

  • 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 links[edit]