Monastery, Nepal. [Boudhanath]
Photographer: Bourne and Shepherd
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the stupa of Boudha near Kathmandu, Nepal, taken by Bourne and Shepherd in the 1870s, from the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views. Nepal has a long history of both Buddhism and Hinduism flourishing side by side for centuries. The great Boudhanath stupa a few kms from Kathmandu is the largest in the Valley and has numerous gomphas or Buddhist monasteries in the vicinity. The dome of the stupa is elevated on three 20-cornered terraces of decreasing sizes. On it is set a cube-shaped turret with the eyes of the primordial Buddha (Adibuddha) painted on each of its sides, and this is topped by a 13-tiered spire. Over 100 images are set in niches around the base of the hemispherical dome, and the whole complex is encircled by a perimeter wall, containing prayer wheels arranged in groups of five. Newari tradition dates the stupa to the 5th century AD, although it was completely rebuilt by a Tibetan teacher in about the early 16th century. The stupa, associated especially with Tibetan forms of Buddhism from about the 13th century, has become a sacred centre of exiled-Tibetan Buddhist culture in modern times.