Just as Pashupatinath Temple draws thousands of Hindu pilgrims, Boudhanath has been the ultimate pilgrimage and prayer site for Buddhists ( of course Hindus also revere this site ). Located only 11 km from central Kathmandu, the stupa dates back to the 14th Century and is supposed to have taken seven years to complete. It is the largest single chorten ( stupa ) in the world and the largest spherical stupa in Nepal. Apart from the soil, bricks and stone used for the construction of this massive dome-like structure with the gilded spire on the top, many kilograms of gold were used for its decoration. Known as 'Khasti' in Nepali and 'Jyarung' in Tibetan, it has been incorporated in the World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1979. The remains of Kassapa Buddha are said to be entombed in the stupa.
Tibetans have been doing trade for centuries with Nepal and Boudha has always been a place of rest and prayer for Tibetans once they entered Kathmandu via the trade route from Sankhu. In addition, there was a substantial influx of Tibetan refugees in the 1950's when they fled persecution in Tibet and since then have chosen to settle in Boudha. As a consequence there are fifty or so odd Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the surrounding area – with more being established.
Despite urbanization and the mushrooming of businesses and tourist interests, Boudha still retains that spiritual and mystical aspect of the days gone by; saffron clad monks, sweet burning incense, butter oil lamps, Buddhist devotees who turn the prayers wheels as part of their karma and curio and traditional handicraft shops that line the fringes of the stupa is a test of your senses which gives you an insight into the bygone days.
Boudha has over the years become a thriving tourist hub with all its selection of cafes and restaurants and numerous lodges and hotels.
Unfortunately, the catastrophic earthquake of April 25 2015 did some damage to the golden spire and the stupa has been restoration since November 2015 and is nearing completion.