Thursday, March 1, 2007

Boudha Nath Stupa

Boudha Nath Stupa, The biggest stupa around the world

Rarely a tourist visiting Nepal wishes to return to his homeland without treading on a land that has been accorded a great amount of reverence. The famous land that arrests our attention and has been a place of sanctity over centuries is Boudha, a home to Tibetan refugees over decades and one of the holiest pilgrimages for Buddhists who come on a perpetual journey traversing many lands in a quest for self realization. One wonders after all what is in store in Boudha for tourists, of all other beautiful monuments and shrines in Nepal and why Tibetans had chosen this particular land for their abode. Our all curiosities find an answer once we set our sight upon the Great Stupa which is in substance a storehouse of mysteries and a stack of ancient tales of wisdom. For this and many more reasons Tibetan Buddhists have deliberately taken refuge in this sacred land. The Great Stupa with its unsurpassed beauty woos tens of thousands of tourists every year. The one step in finds the place vibrant with spiritual moorings. This marvelous monument captivates our curiosity and stirs up our imagination to dig up the history of it. Curiously enough we reach no where as regards its historical moments for want of documents. The commissioning of the Stupa has no scientific and documentary evidence to chronicle it in the book of history, yet plenty of legends we come across about the origin of the Stupa interest one and all.

A tale that arrests our mind goes back to a dynastic rule of King Dharma Deva centuries ago. During his reign a deadly drought deserted the country stirring up a massive famine causing people to die of

starvation. Dharma Deva called on royal astrologers to unfurl the reason and possible remedy. One of the astrologers pondered over it and visualized that nothing but a sacrifice of a man with 32 uncommon attributes and flair should be made at a spring from where water flows. The king meditated over this for hours and days and arrived at the conclusion that no one other than the monarch himself is possessed of the qualities discernibly described by the royal astrologer. Then he summoned the prince and commanded him to go to the site of the spring at midnight to find a person shrouded in a white robe. He further added that he must serve the head of the person without looking at his face to sacrifice at the site from where water springs up. The prince unquestionably set off for the site to accomplish the performance and did it promptly without looking at the countenance of the person obeying the instruction of his dear father.

No sooner had the prince performed the deed than the shower of rain started to sweep the city with floods of water spreading every where. People all over the country sang songs and danced in great jubilation rejoicing at the fact that finally their days of woes are over. But when all the people were celebrating in great joys the news filled the air and pervaded through the whole nation to strike every body with horror that the sacrificial deed performed at the spring was of the monarch himself. The break of the news dismayed one and all but every one can figure out the state of the mind of the prince who was ignorant of the fact that it was his own father who was sacrificed out there. Filled with remorse for a great wrong done from his part, the prince renounced all worldly affairs to set off for the jungle to live in seclusion. Engrossed in great meditation he passed the rest of his life in the jungle. It is believed that it is through the power of his meditation that the Great Bouddha Stupa appeared in this site. This is one of the thousand tales that revolve about the origin of the Stupa. Some Buddhists believe that the origin of the Stupa goes along with the origin of the Swayambhu Chaitya. They relate that the Swayambhu Chaitya originated from a lotus flower and the site where the root of the lotus has reached been the place from where the Stupa appeared. These tales have been legendary and strongly believed.

Bestowed with this beautiful Stupa, Boudha has been a centre of attraction for Tibetans who entered Nepal as refugees since 1950. Swarming in and around the Stupa they built many monasteries, Gompas and stupas. Boudha is a Tibet in miniature. In ways of life and in terms of their settlement styles around the Stupa, they bear a considerable resemblance to a life style in their original abode, Tibet. Every year thousands of monks, Lamas come to visit this great pilgrimage. Buddhists and those who believe in Buddhism invest large sums of money in building monasteries and teaching Buddhism for they are convinced that there is a substantial return on their investment spiritually if not in the mundane world. On the list of world heritage sites, the Stupa stands one of the ten heritages of Nepal. The Stupa is 36 metre tall and occupies 82.36 m and 82.03m in length and breadth with prayer wheels surrounding the wall. When Tibetans in their large mass go around the Stupa citing their Mantra and move the prayer wheels in their typical Tibetan robes with beads around their necks, the onlooker unaware of his existence in Nepal feels that he is in Tibet itself.

In other words, he will be on a mental ride to Tibet to revel in the mystical world leaving his physique in Nepal. Monks in their marooned robes between 10 years to 80 years of age strolling around entails the fact that Boudha is endowed with many living Buddhas incarnated in varied forms. Modernism is no doubt sweeping through Bouddha, yet the ancient Buddhist civilization is still at large. The new generation through westernization in their attitudes and outlooks are metamorphosed in their behavioural patterns and living style, yet the old generation who have passed parts of their lives in Tibet make the city still vibrant with Tibetan cultures in terms of their communication, fashion, movements so on and so forth.

Buddhism is a religion which remains vivacious even after centuries. Boudha for that matter is a place for all seekers where their quest for Nirvana gets visualized. For spiritual edification, if one is on an eternal pilgrimage Boudha stands second to none in this part of the globe.

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