The shrine of Bouddhanath is not just one of the first landmarks you have seen while landing in the historic city of Kathmandu, it is the symbol of religious harmony, belief in the Buddha and his teachings.
Shaken badly by the April 2015 quake, the stupa was under scaffolding for a long time. Within a few months, reconstruction began; the stupa was perhaps the first place of worship to be renovated completeley after the devastating temblor.
It took effort, dedication and hardwork from the faithful worldwide to raise funds for the Boudhhanth to get back to its earlier glory. Restoration work was just completed a few days ago, and special prayers are being offered at the shrine to ask for forgiveness for inadvertent errors in the reconstruction work. According to the restorers, gold worth over Rs 200 million was needed for the task.
The Bouddhanath has been restored to its full glory thanks to generous support from the faithful worldwide. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ is to announce the completion of restoration work in a few days.
On an afternoon at the shrine, it seems that devotees are glad to see the old stupa back. The scaffoldings are gone, and many people come to see the new, yet old, stupa.
As monks of different sects converge at the stupa, there are others whose job is to keep the shrine clean. Draped in red and orange, the monks chant hymns that can even enchant the holy spirits that roam the Bouddhanath.
If you wait long enough at the shrine, you will probably meet every Nepali at the shrine. People from all over the country see it as a sacred site worthy of utmost respect.
As dusk approaches the Kathmandu Valley, darkness seems to have taken over the city. But the all-knowing eyes of the Boudhhanath do not close their lids, they remain wide open, contemplating, and praying for humanity.
The Bouddhanath serves as a reminder that although devastated by the quake, Nepal will rise up again, to its full splendor, just like the shrine has done.■