The exact origins of the sight, one of the most important pilgrimage sights for Tibetan Buddhists, are unclear. Local legend says the Stupa was originally a lotus flower that emerged from a great lake that once occupied the Kathmandu Valley. History tells us the complex was commissioned by an early fifth century AD king, making it one of the oldest religious sites in Nepal.
For the best views of Kathmandu bellow the temple complex, visit in the early evening as the sun begins to set. If time permits, you can walk down the hill from Swayambhunath all the way back to Durbar Square in less than an hour.
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