.All Trips / Asia / Nepal

Swayambunath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal

012 Swayambunath Stupa, Kathmandu

Swayambunath Temple, in Kathmandu, Nepal, is one of the most important sites in this ancient city.  It is known as the “Monkey Temple” because of the large number of (mean spirited) monkeys that have all but taken over this complex (and are said to be “holy monkeys”).

Swayambhunath is an ancient complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley.  Most approach it via a long uphill climb of 365 steps (one for each day of the year), past thousands of Buddhist prayer flags that set the atmosphere for the complex ahead.  Each morning before dawn hundreds of Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims ascend these steps and begin a clockwise walk around the stupa at the center of this ancient site.

The Swayambhunath complex dates to …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: A Land Like No Other (Part 3) Anuradhapura

Sri Lanka —  3) Anuradhapura

A great opportunity available to any traveler to Ceylon is the chance to explore the country’s rich history and extensive archeology.  This post will be the first of several describing my visits to the ancient sites in Sri Lanka and highlights the oldest of these, Anuradhapura (it’s pronounced just like its spelled).  The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose prehistory dates back to at least 1000 B.C.

Anuradhapura is one of the points of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, the others being the cities of Kandy and Polonnaruwa (which I’ll discuss in future blogs).  For over 1500 years Anuradhapurna’s palaces were home to a string of almost 125 kings ranging from around 400 B.C. to 1200 A.D.   The city’s development and rise to prominence coincided with the arrival of Buddhism …

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