Until a few decades ago, the white dome of Boudha capped with its gilded tower and finial, and all-seeing eyes was so prominent it could be seen from all over the once-emerald Valley.
Today, one of the country’s holiest Buddhist shrines is over-run by Kathmandu’s rampant urbanisation. The stupa itself is dwarfed by surrounding hotels, malls and apartment blocks. Boudha has lost a lot more than its serenity, it is losing its uniqueness.
Boudha is said to have been first built by Emperor Ashoka’s daughter who arrived in the Valley more than 2,500 years ago. Boudhanath is actually the Sanskritised name given during the Panchayat era in the 1960s. Its original name is Khasti Mahachaitya, which means ‘great stupa of the dew drops’, and there is an interesting story about how that name came about.