The third of the 'Three Stupas', Swayambhunath (Phage a Shinkin, in Tibetan) means 'self created'. Located just 30 minutes from central Kathmandu, this great stupa is believed to mark the place where the primordial Buddha manifested himself and enclosed his perpetual flame.
The Kathmandu valley was once covered in a lake. The compassionate Bodhisattva Manjusri drained this lake with his sword by cutting through the side of the valley, so freeing the land for human habitation. The eyes which look out over the valley from each side of the stupa's tower are to be regarded as the eyes of the Supreme Uncreated Buddha.
The stupa was first built by the Buddhist king Vrsadeva at the beginning of the 5th century AD. It has been restored many times over the centuries, particularly in the 12th and 14th centuries. The large central stupa is surrounded by temples, guesthouses and tiny votive stupas added over the centuries by numerous devotees.