Chencho Dema

Nepal’s massive Bouddha, also known as Boudhanath, stands at 36 metres high, overlooking the busy Kathmandu city below with its sacred aura. This spiritual landmark is cradled by a lively enclave of monasteries, each resonating with the chants and prayers of monks. 

When Bhutanese pilgrims and visitors go to Nepal, they always make sure to visit Bouddha. It’s a must-see spot for prayer, meditation, and religious events. You’ll often see Bhutanese pilgrims circumambulating the stupa.

The stupa is not just a favourite spot for tourists; it’s also deeply cherished by local residents. Each day, the site teems with hundreds of visitors from near and far.

The vicinity of the stupa is dotted with shops offering Tibetan crafts, thangka paintings, and various religious artifacts. This transforms the area into more than just a spiritual destination; it is a bustling shopping hub as well.

The Nepalese government implemented an entrance fee system a few years ago. Under this system, visitors from SAARC countries are required to pay a fee of 100 NPR per person,  while those from outside the region are charged 400 NPR per person for entry.

Ticket office is located at the entrance of the Bouddha gate, making access easy for visitors.

Nepalese say that the stupa is one of the biggest round stupas in the world. Its popularity is further boosted by its convenient location, just a 30-minute walk from significant landmarks like the Pashupati temple. This proximity makes it easily accessible and contributes to the influx of visitors to the site.

A local tour guide, Raj Timalsena, said that most of the Bhutanese have visited the stupa at leat once.  “When they meet me, the first thing they ask me is about the Bouddha. Whether you are seeking spiritual enlightenment or simply exploring, Bouddha is an essential destination.” 

Since 1979, Bouddha has held the prestigious status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Renowned as one of the largest stupas in then world, its inclusion on this list highlights its immense cultural and historical significance.

Bouddha stands as a symbol of Nepal’s vibrant cultural and religious heritage, drawing in thousands of visitors annually. Its iconic presence serves as a testament to the country’s profound historical and spiritual legacy.

For most  Bhutanese visitors who were exploring the area around the stupa the visit is a must because of cultural similarities, appreciation for its architectural splendour, its historical significance, and the convenience of its location for exploration.

A 58-year-old woman from Thimphu expressed her long-standing desire to visit the stupa, influenced by recommendations from friends. This year, she fulfilled her wish, travelling with a group of friends to experience the site firsthand. 

Reflecting on her visit, she said: “I feel a profound sense of peace and a comforting familiarity, akin to being at home.”

Namgay Tenzin from Punakha travelled to Nepal for the first time in 2023 with his wife. Their primary reason for visiting Bouddha was to seek blessings, as the site holds deep spiritual significance and is revered as a profoundly sacred destination.

Local travel agents in Nepal say that besides Bouddha, Bhutanese pilgrims also visit places like Namo Buddha, Lumbini, Swayambhunath, Durbar Square, and Thamel for shopping.