It’s no wonder why they nicknamed Swayambhunath Temple in downtown Kathmandu the temple of monkeys.
It was prevalent as they hopped from statue to statue, squabbled amongst themselves and snatched anything shiny from the travelers passing through.
In a way, they reminded me of Abu from Disney’s classic movie Aladdin; just barely making ends meet and taking anything shiny that peaked their interest.
It was almost comical too…but I didn’t dare make eye contact with them as I ascended the steep stairs leading to the top of the mountain where the main temple was based.
Along the way, monkeys perched themselves atop a variety of different Buddha statues and ledges, cleaning themselves while lying around lazily. Yup, I definitely made it to the Monkey Temple of Nepal.
The Monkey Temple of Swayambhunath
Similar to the Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai, the stairs leading up were rather steep but, when you took your time, the climb wasn’t too strenuous. Your mind is easily distracted with ancient architecture, locals selling a variety of different items and, of course, the plethora of monkeys running around.
Surprisingly, there were even a few dogs who got along with the other wildlife who also lied lazily in precarious places, sniffing around for scraps of food that could be salvaged.
Once we reached the top of the stairs, we paid a small ticket price or 200 RPS ($3.26 USD) to enter the temple. From there, we found more statues, tables of souvenirs and other objects working alongside the many monkeys.
Call me typical, but I think what I enjoyed most was not only the monkeys (although this was a huge characteristic of the location) but mostly how intricate the designs were on all of the statues, stupas, and bells.
Similar to the temples I found in Thailand, I’ve always found Asian culture fascinating. This goes even more so for the Nepalese language.
To my surprise, there was even a small cafe at the top sitting alongside the Stupa itself with a spectacular view of the city as well as the surrounding rainforest. It was good to see that, unlike the weathered and aged statues outside, the upkeep for the shrine inside was well kept and had a freshly lain coat of paint to keep it shining beautifully.
Stepping back outside the interior doors, I continued taking in the view as well as the fascinating statues. Prayer flags were strewn across different parts while the dogs & monkeys continued to lye around lazily.
At the end of the tour, I took in one last final view of the main golden stupa and made my way down the stairs. Visiting the fabulous Swayambhunath Temple was definitely worth the climb up, just remember that if you decide to visit keep a wary eye out for frisky monkeys! 🙂
Have you ever had a close encounter with a monkey?
Legend has it that any temple which talks about the incarnation of Lord Rama from Hindu mythology, you will find a lot of monkeys around. Probably this is one of those temples. Did they try to snatch things? They always do! Assuming temples and mountains and adventure intrigue you, you have to visit India. Some of the most beautiful temples lie at the highest of altitudes here. My personal favorite has been Tunganath temple. Maybe on your next visit to Asia, you should go there!
Wow. This is AWESOME. Thanks for sharing. Those monkeys are so cute. I really like how vibrant the photos are .
Thanks Brandon; the monkeys were adorable. You just had to be careful not to accidentally make them mad. I saw one big monkey pounce on a guy because he was trying to wave him away…it’s all about respect! lol
What an amazing place! I love all of your photos and I’d love to explore it myself someday! What a great view from up top, too!
Thanks Lauren! The Monkey Temple was a pretty popular stop for backpackers in Kathmandu. Definitely hope you get to the top…just be wary of the frisky monkeys! 😉 lol
Amazing! Nepal has been on my list for a long time and this would be totally worth the trip!
I hope you make it there soon Margherita. But if you think this temple was cool, wait until you get to see the rest of the country…absolutely breathtaking would be underplaying it a bit! 😉
Monkeys are adorable. I can never stop watching them. We’ve not been to Nepal yet (high wish) but who knows one day…
You’ll make it there Antonette! There’s one thing I’ve figured out while traveling: if you want something, then go for it and never let anything hold you back! 😉
These are awesome and fun photos 🙂 Monkeys were all over the place when I was visiting Angkor Wat! Despite being told by everyone to stay away from them, I fed one a Cliff bar and then her babies ran over! Super cute. They were only interested in that Cliff bar, haha. I would love to go to somewhere as spiritual and adventurous as Nepal!
I LOVE monkeys! Although, I suppose they can get a bit crazy in some areas! Looks like a great day at the temple!
They sure can…I love seeing them play around but always try to keep my distance (in most cases). lol
Cool temple and adorable monkeys? I don’t think it gets much better. And of course I need to send a little love to the dog too 😉
Haha of course, the dogs were just as adorable!
This looks like such an incredible place! I’d love to visit it as well, if only I wasn’t afraid of all these monkeys around (even if they fit there perfectly :)) I’ve seen pretty many of them in South Africa, they might be cute but you never know what crazy might come to their minds 😉
Hahaha…yeah I didn’t let me guard down while I was walking around. I saw one run up to an old man who was trying to shush one away and pounce on his leg, nearly knocking him down!