What to See in Swayambhunath Stupa?


Swayambhunath Stupa is a big deal in Kathmandu. It is termed as the most iconic landmark nestled way up on a hill in the west of the city, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main structure of the stupa is a large dome-shaped structure that is covered in gold and white paint. The spire holds a pair of large eyes, which are said to represent the wisdom and compassion of the Lord Buddha.


The stupa is believed to have been built more than 2,000 years ago and is surrounded by several temples and shrines and of course the monkeys. You will see thousands of monkeys there which are considered to be sacred and are a popular attraction for visitors. However, visitors are advised to be cautious and to keep their belongings secured, as monkeys there are quite mischievous.


From Swayambhunath Stupa, you will be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the city – it is a sight to behold. 

what to see

  • Harati Devi Temple
    Located at the northwestern side of the Stupa, the Harati temple honors Goddess Harati, known as the defender of children and the Hindu patron of smallpox. Devotees frequently visit the temple, bearing testimony to its significant religious importance.


  •  Shantipur (Place of Peace)
    Shantipur, also known as the “City of Peace,” is a mysterious temple situated towards the northern side of Swayambhu Hill. It is deemed to be the most holy and secretive among all the esoteric shrines of Newar Buddhism. No one is allowed to enter the temple other than Bajracharya priests; and so the mystery continues.


  • Agnipur
    The Hindu deity of Fire, Agni, is honored at Agnipur – a small temple protected by two lion statues.


  • Nagpur
    Nagpur houses a small reservoir that is dedicated to Naga, the venerated serpent deity. When the water level reaches the bottom, the serpent idol placed at the tank’s base becomes visible.


  • Pratapur and Anantapur
    King Pratap Malla built Pratapur and Anantapur, both towering white shikar-style temples in 1646, honoring his own name and that of his spouse, Ananta Priya. These two sacred Shikara temples remain magnificent structures till this day.


  • Vasundhara Mandir
    The Vasundhara Mandir is a religious sanctuary devoted to the veneration of Vasundhara, a divinity in Buddhism who represents affluence, fortune, and plenty. She is frequently equated to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth.


  • Agam house
    Aagan Chhen, or the Agam house, serves as a refuge for the Buddhacharya priests and their families.


  • Statue of Dipankara
    If you venture to the north-west corner of the stupa and pass through a courtyard of small chaityas, you’ll come across a hidden gem – the black Dipankara statue, also referred to as the ‘Buddha of Light’. This remarkable statue is believed to depict one of the past Buddhas who achieved enlightenment before Gautama Buddha and dates back to the 7th century, boasting intricate beauty.


  • Swayambhu Buddhist Museum
    This museum actually boasts a wealth of rare Buddhist statues, with the highlights being the breathtaking Sleeping Buddha statue, which alone makes a visit worthwhile. This museum has an impressive collection, so we recommend visitors a must-visit. Additionally, the best thing is that it allows visitors to enter at absolutely no cost.


  • The Chaityas Courtyard
    On the northwestern side of the Stupa, there is an open area adorned with numerous small chaityas- all in a maze-like form.


  • The Stairs of Swayambhunath
    For an authentic Swayambhu experience, it is recommended to follow the pilgrims and ascend the 365 steps leading up to the hilltop stupa- amazing exercise right there! The climb may be challenging, but it’s definitely worth it. Additionally, there are numerous sights to behold on the way up, such as the stunning seated Buddha statues located at the base of the eastern stairway. Alternatively, if you prefer to avoid the stairs, you can reach the top western entrance.


  • The Viewpoint
    Swayambhu offers a remarkable vantage point that is definitely worth experiencing. It is highly recommended to visit during sunrise or sunset, as the panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley is truly awe-inspiring. The Viewpoint at Swayambhu guarantees a breathtaking sight that you definitely do not want to miss on your trip.


  • The World Peace Pond
    Located on the western side of Swayambhunath stupa, the World Peace Pond features a statue of Buddha atop a lotus flower at its center. Tradition holds that tossing a coin into the pond and successfully reaching the metal bucket will grant one’s wish. So, you will always find someone doing so- a sight to capture!


  • The Monkey Pool
    Experience the joy of watching playful monkeys as they dive, swim in their water tank, designated for their bathing needs. The Monkey swimming pool is a delightful and visually appealing attraction that should not be missed!


  • The Monasteries
    One can visit numerous monasteries  around Swayambhu. The Karma Kagyu Lineage Monastery, which is part of the Karma Raja Maha Vihar Monastery, is a highly significant school of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the oldest schools of Kagyu tradition. The Dewa Dharma Monastery is a must-visit destination for its impressive bronze Buddha icon and its traditional Tibetan paintings. On the northern side of the site, the stunning Whochen Thokjay Monastery is also definitely worth a visit.


  • The Buddha Amideva Park
    Buddha Amideva Park, which was founded in 2003 and is located at the base of Swayambhu hill, boasts three magnificent golden statues of Shakyamuni Buddha, Chenrezig, and Guru Rinpoche. You simply cannot afford to miss visiting this stunning park.