From dawn ’til dusk, hundreds of monks as well as Nepalese and Tibetans of every age walk around a 40m high stupa called Boudha or Bodhnath. They pray their mantra by murmuring and twirling the prayer wheels over and over, seeking for accumulated wisdom and merit (good karma) as well as purified negativity (bad karma).
If you visit this magical and small country, marked off by China in the north and India in the south, you’ll find a few great attractions very close to the capital Kathmandu, as well as the great trekking tracks in the Everest region.
Among these stunning attractions, the Boudha stupa is definitively one of the most interesting sights, located approximately 10km east of Thamel, the main tourist area of Kathmandu. It’s one of the world´s largest stupas and therefore the mecca of Tibetan exiles in Nepal. It’s a great experience to sit in one of the roof terrace restaurants, try a cup of butter tea and enjoy the stunning view of the pilgrims who walk on the layers of the stupa which are colorfully decorated with prayer flags. If you prefer to get in deeper contact with the locals you might as well take a seat on a bench around the stupa and watch the praying people who are walking clockwise, spinning the prayer wheels and bearing the mantra “om mani padme hum”.
Around the Boudha stupa itself there are many shops and restaurants, which give you the opportunity to spend a whole day there. The run-of-the-mill souvenir shops are notoriously overpriced. However, you can buy unique prayer-flags, jewelry, hand painted paper or any kind of handcrafts and even obscure and antique items.
I never found out how to differentiate this original stuff from the cheap Chinese ones. One thing that is really remarkable is the huge amount of pigeons in this area. You and your Lomo will love the moments where the pigeon crowd flushes away.
If you hunger for more Tibetan culture you’ll find satisfaction in nearby situated monasteries. Monks in red habits will introduce you to their culture and traditions. You will love it!