The earliest written record of of Swayambunath Stupa is a 5th century stone inscription. The legend is that once Kathmandu valley was a lake and Swayambu hill existed as an island. On top of that hill stood a natural crystal stupa. Buddha, when visiting the place, declared that it was a wish-fulfilling stupa and whoever is touched by the wind that passes over the stupa receives the seed of liberation from the cycle of existence.
Later a Buddhist monk from China who was an emanation of the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri drained the lake and thus made the crystal stupa accessible for people. Nowadays it is protected against robbery by the dome-shaped structure. Throughout the centuries countless Buddhist masters from India, Sri Lanka, Tibet and China have visited the stupa. Swayambu means Self-Manifested or Self-Sprung.
Swayambunath Stupa, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Honored by kings, monks, and pilgrims alike the stupa represents Buddha’s mind. To visit a stupa is said to be the same as meeting a Buddha in person. It offers peace, freedom and joy to the whole world and ultimately helps us to obtain perfect enlightenment. Just seeing, hearing about, reflecting upon, or touching a stupa fosters peace and even spiritual release. The stupa pacifies physical and mental difficulties such as sicknesses, famine
Spiritual practices bring stronger results when performed close to stupas than in other powerful places. Visitors and pilgrims walk around the stupa in a clockwise direction and recite mantras, make offerings, turn prayer-wheels and make wishes for the benefit of all beings.