Swayambhunath Temple


14.5/5(10 Ratings)
Ranked 2 of 36 sightseeing in Kathmandu

The Swayambhunath Temple is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. Recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, this hilltop temple lets one explore the architectural splendour of Buddhist culture. One can always end the day with a visit here as it gives a spectacular vantage point for viewing the sunset.

It is at a distance of 10 kms from the Kathmandu airport.


During ancient times, the spiritual supremacy of the temple was acknowledged by many great monarchs, including Ashoka the Great offering homage to the temple. Said to have been founded by King Vrsaseva, the work on the structure began in 640 C.E. Although a Buddhist shrine, it is revered by Hindus as well, with many Hindu kings paying their respects at the temple. The upkeep of the temple has been steady and continuous as various patrons have poured in resources to improve upon the site. It has been renovated more than ten times during its 1500 years of existence, with the latest work being done in 2010.

Reason to Visit

There is long stairway with approximately 365 steps leading to the main complex. Brightly coloured statutes of the Buddha will greet you as you enter the main compound. There is also an alternate south-west entrance.

The temple is also known as the "Monkey Temple" due to the unusually large number of monkeys present in the temple's north-west complex. These monkeys are revered by the Buddhists as it is believed they are remnants left by the Bodhisattva Manjusri.

Those who visit the temple early in the morning can find Tibetan women lying face down on the ground as a sign of devotion and praise. Before dawn, pilgrims walk up the stairs and circumnavigate the stupa in a clockwise direction.

The temple complex is embellished with symbolism. A large golden object called the Vajra greets the eyes as one first sets foot into the complex. It represents spiritual virility and is guarded by two lions. The most recognisable feature, the Buddha's eyes on the top of the stupa, has a shape between them, which is often erroneously mistaken for a nose. This is a Nepalese symbol signifying unity. There are five copper gilded shrines and each contains one of the Dhyani Buddhas along with their consorts.

Entry Guidelines

The Swayambhunath Temple is open to all and does not close its doors during any time during the year. The price charged for foreigners is Rs. 200, but Indians are charged only Rs. 50 as India is a part of the SAARC group of countries.

Where to Eat

Visitors can tuck into the food at Nirvana Café, with its vegetarian pakoras, masala peanuts and other Indian goodies. The café offers customers a perfect view of Mount Everest from its premises.

Those craving non-vegetarian food can check out Yak Restaurant, which offers naan, chicken curry and other Indian dishes. The restaurant offers a great variety of vegetarian food as well.


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What travellers are saying about Swayambhunath Temple

Experience scale
  • Excellent 4
  • Good 2
  • Very Good 2
  • Terrible 0
  • Poor 0
  • Below Average 0
  • Average 0
Travellers recommend
  • Best Time: During DayLength of visit: 1-2hrs
  • Length of visit: 2-3hrsBest Time: During Day
Facilities available
  • Food available for purchaseFood available for purchase
  • Bathroom facilitiesBathroom facilities
  • Camera/Video allowedCamera/Video allowed
  • Wearing of shoes/footwear allowedWearing of shoes/footwear allowed
  • Lockers/StorageLockers/Storage

Timing, fees and more


Operating hours

7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
7:00 am - 7:00 pm

Entry Fee

NPR 50
Free/not applicable

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Reviews and Ratings

Jagdish Raval

Jagdish Raval3.6/5

415 reviews

Leading Attraction of Kathmandu

We were delighted to visit this leading and one of most favourite tourist spots of Kathmandu. The temple is also known as monkey temple as there are so many monkey on the way to temple. The temple is on hilltop and we seen entire view of Kathmandu Valley and Kathmandu City also. There are two way to climb for temple. Swayambhunath Complex consist of a Stupa and some temples. This is a Budhhist Spot. You will be tempted to take snaps. One of them is enclosed. Worth visit place.

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Pritesh Mehta

Pritesh Mehta5.0/5

569 reviews

The most famous Buddhist Chaityas of the world

The views of Kathmandu and the surrounding valley are superb from here. This is the most famous Buddhist Chaityas of the world. The 2000 year old Chaityas is commonly known as the Monkey Temple because of its resident population of apes. This spectacular Buddhist stupa from which the Buddha's eyes gaze serenely down, lies on a hilltop only 2 km from the center of Kathmandu. It is very good temple for the visit.

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Singh Rajendra

Singh Rajendra4.6/5

9 reviews

Very nice to visit

It is situated at a Pahadi, very nice wind is flying, it is the Stupa of Lord Buddha with his temple and we see the whole city from this Stupa, it is very nice place with all facilities.

Ishank Gupta

Ishank Gupta5.0/5

13 reviews

Joyful place

The place is overall nice and you will be happy and delightful to visit it. Do visit with your whole family to take blessings of Lord Shiva. Place is full of Joy.

Iqbal Brar

Iqbal Brar3.6/5

19 reviews

Not well managed

Most of the places for Buddha religion are very clean and tidy but I saw some of those in Nepal which were not but nonetheless this was clean and just not properly managed but still a must see.

Jitendra Sinha

Jitendra Sinha5.0/5

5 reviews

Amazing experience, good view

This is one of the best temples I have ever visited. You would find hundreds of monkeys but they won't bother you. The monument stands with certificate of ages and calmness. I felt after visiting that if I had miss this view, my Nepal trip would have been incomplete.

Sivaji Kadarkarai

Sivaji Kadarkarai4.3/5

18 reviews

Have an interesting holiday

Very interesting to see Swayambunath after climbing around hundred steps. So many interesting things we saw. The city view from the top was wonderful. The Pasupathinath Temple is one of the holy temples in India. The five faces of Lord Shiva is wonderful. Durbar square is another set of temples near the palace of the king. One of the the important temple is KUMARI Temple, where a girl child is worshiped as LIVING GOD OF NEPAL. Apart from the temple visits. Seeing Mt Everest from the plane is a wonderful and a memorable experience.

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Raj K

Raj K4.3/5

130 reviews

Had a good time!

This place is one of the most sacred places for Buddhists and is situated over the hills. Taxis from Thamle is easily available for 300 bucks. There is a beautiful stupa at the top and you need to climb some 50-70 steps to reach. Also, the best part is you can have a look of Kathmandu City from the top here which is quite amazing experience. Entry fee is 50 bucks for SAARC residents.

Venoo Vasudevan

Venoo Vasudevan5.0/5

6 reviews

A Lively Place

You feel enriched and that you have achieved something after climbing those holy steps. I have only seen pictures and this was for real. The sculptures and the mood was really lovely and from the top, Kathmandu was great. The Government has to do something about the roads. So many tourists and it is time that they perked up these roads.

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Photos of Swayambhunath Temple

Swayambhunath Temple, Kathmandu

Photo by

Thejasvi Bhat

Swayambhunath Temple, Kathmandu
Swayambhunath Temple, Kathmandu

Photo by

Thejasvi Bhat

Swayambhunath Temple, Kathmandu
Swayambhunath Temple, Kathmandu

Photo by

Thejasvi Bhat

Swayambhunath Temple, Kathmandu

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