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Swayambhunath Stupa is the most ancient and mysterious holy shrines in Kathmandu valley with a golden spire crowning a conical wooded hill. Its lofty white dome and glittering golden spire are visible for many miles and from all sides of the valley.

By the time 5th century AD, the stupa was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination according to the historical records which were found on a stone. Its origins, however, date to a much earlier time, long before the arrival of Buddhism into the valley. There’s a legend about the site which tells of a miraculous lotus in the 15th century Swyambhu Purana. Planted by a past Buddha, it blossomed from the lake that once covered Kathmandu valley.

In order to esteem this miraculous light for its power in granting enlightenment. saints and divinities traveled all the way to the lake. At one moment, the Bodhisattva Manjushri had a vision of the dazzling Swyambhu light while meditating at the sacred mountain of Wu Tai Shan. Manjushri rid his blue lion to fly across the mountains of China and Tibet to worship the lotus. Deeply influenced by the power of the radiant light, Manjushri felt that Swyambhu would become more easily accessible to human pilgrims if the water were drained out of the lake. So Manjushri cut a gorge in the mountains which were surrounded by the lake with a great sword. As a result, the water drained away and left the valley of Kathmandu today. The lotus was then transformed into a hill and the light became the Swayambhunath Stupa.

The stupa represents Buddha’s mind. It is said that visit a stupa is as the same as meeting a Buddha in person. It offers peace, freedom and joy to the whole world and ultimately helps us to obtain perfect enlightenment. Spiritual practices bring stronger results when performed close to stupas than in other powerful places.

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