Swayambhunath, a Buddhist Stupa in Nepal

The Swayambhunath Stupa, a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Kathmandu, Nepal, helped shape the arrival of Buddhism in the area. Three hundred and sixty-five steps lead up to the temple, which is characterized by a grand golden spire looming high above the valley with a view of the city below. The four walls of the Stupa each showcase a pair of eyes, representing wisdom and compassion. The Nepali symbol for the number one sits between the eyes, representing the unity of all things and the path to enlightenment through the teachings of Buddha. Hundreds of monkeys scamper about the statues and colorful prayer flags, giving it the nickname “Monkey Temple.” According to mythology, the monkeys grew out of lice on the head of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom and learning, while raising the hill upon which the Swayambhu Stupa stands.