When you think of stupas, what immediately comes to your mind? I can bet most of you probably thought of either Boudhanath or Swayambhunath. After all, these are the two most popular stupas that people often visit. But there are hundreds of these monuments scattered throughout Kathmandu and Nepal in general. Although we are familiar with this hemispherical mound base that supports a tall thin umbrella-like structure of stupas, it’s built in other shapes and architectural designs around the world too.
Stupas are mostly constructed to commemorate and safely keep the remains of Buddhas or their prominent disciples and are found in places that hold importance to Buddhism. The architectural structure that we are familiar with – circular dome with a protruding umbrella – was influenced by the burial mounds seen most prominently in the Indian subcontinent.
I personally find stupa areas to be a good place that helps me clear my mind and lighten up. The popular stupas are always bustling with people. You don’t even have to do anything but just sit there and observe your surroundings. People watching can be fascinating and incredibly calming. However, if you want a place to wind down and maybe do a little bit of introspection a less popular gumba or stupa can be your pick. It will be serene and silent and you might not even have to venture very far from home.