Swayambhu monastery, (in) Kathmandu, Bagmati Zone, NP

Raw data

This site is reputed to be the oldest Buddhist site in Nepal. It dates from the 12th century, if not before. The site has various stupas and shrines and has been re-built many times. It is located in central Kathmandu.
There are no vihar buildings on the site because Nepali monks and nuns chose to marry and set up houses in the xxth century.
See See Kathmandu Valley: The Preservation of Physical Environment and Cultural Heritage, A Protective Inventory (Vienna: Anton Schroll & Co,1975), II, 108.
Src: Nepal
Input by: Stewart Gordon, Sep 19, 2009

Kathmandu, Nepal Page
Other names: Kantipur,Khatmandu,Kantipura,Katmandu
World:Nepal:Bagmati Zone
Latitude 27.7167 Longitude 85.3167

tmciolek, 16 Nov 2009.

"Swayambhu plays a major part in the lives of the Vajrayana Buddhists of Northern Nepal and Tibet, but more especially of the Newari Buddhists of the Kathmandu Valley. Swayambhunath occupies a prehistoric cult site. Ancient legends suggest the site initially served a nature cult, only later becoming associated with Buddhism. […] The oldest inscription in the temple precinct refers to the monastery as founded in about AD 460 during the reign of King Mana Deva. By the 13th c. it had become widely known, a fact to which the writings of a Tibetan pilgrim called Dharmasvami who spent eight years in Swayambhunath testify. In 1346 however, the Sultan of Bengal's Muslim troops reduced the shrine to rubble. It was rebuilt in 1372, the expense being borne by the nobility of Kathmandu. The bronze sections and bejeweled mast, made in Kathmandu, were carried up Swayambhunath Hill in procession. The stupa is assumed to have taken on its present shape at this particular time. Much of the current lay-out of the temple site is owed to Pratapa Malla (1641-74). He created a pilgrim way from Kathmandu to Swayambhunath, building a bridge across the Vishnumati and adding the impressive flight of steps giving access to the shrine from the east. The two tall shikharas framing the stupa's tower also date from his time." - http://www.planetware.com/kathmandu/swayambhunath-nep-cn-ksb.htm#NEP-CN-KSBS

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 28 Dec 2012

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Swayambhu monastery, NP.

General location of the Swayambhu monastery, NP.
lat=27.7145 long=85.2915
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Swayambhu monastery

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Nepal:Bagmati Zone

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Monkey temple - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swayambhunath
  • Swayambhunath - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swayambhunath

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 27.7145 Long 85.2915 - based on the visual identification of the site in satellite imagery, maps.google.com - tmciolek, 16 Nov 209

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag 0433-66c - tmciolek 28 Dec 2012
  • 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

13. Date-late

  • in the 21st Century, still in active use.
  • MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 28 Dec 2012

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Epigraphical, archaeological

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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