Sacred Swoyambhu Buddhist shrine adorned with 18 kg gold

In line with centuries old tradition, Nepal`s oldest Buddhist shrine, Swoyambhu has been given a new look by adorning it with 18 kilograms of gold.

Updated: May 28, 2010, 14:21 PM IST

Kathmandu: In line with centuries old
tradition, Nepal`s oldest Buddhist shrine, Swoyambhu has been
given a new look by adorning it with 18 kilograms of gold.

As per the tradition of only carrying out the renovation
of the sacred shrine once in 100 years, over 30 master
craftsmen toiled for over a year to give a new look to the
temple, which was thrown open to public last night under the
gaze of full moon on the auspicious occasion of Buddha
Jayanti.

The Buddhist shrine perched atop a 500 foot hillock on
the outskirts of Kathmandu has gone through 15 major
renovation works over the past 1500 years of its existence.

According to the temple administration, 18 kilograms of
gold was used on the stupa to give it a golden hue.

A comprehensive renovation work was undertaken where
parts of the shrine made in wood, stone, copper or gold were
restored to their original glory and beauty.

The renovation project was fully funded by the Tibetan
Nyingma Meditation Centre based in the USA. More than 40,000
images of photographic database of the stupa were compiled
before, during and after the renovation works, according to
the officials. Swoyambhu was declared a UNESCO`s cultural heritage site
in 1979. The renovation works were carried out in all the nine
shrines surrounding the stupa.

The metal plates of the stupa are cleaned, damaged
sections repaired and then each plate receives a new layer of
gold. The shrine became a riot of colour and light as thousands
of pilgrims thronged the temple to celebrate the 2554th birth
anniversary of Lord Buddha. They lit candles praying for world
peace and return of stability in Nepal after a decade long
civil war.

Although Nepal is the birth place of Gautam Buddha, the
Apostle of peace, the country is home to less than 20 per cent
Buddhists. However, hundreds of thousands of people both
Hindus as well as Buddhists visit Swoyambhunath Stupa to mark
the birth anniversary of Buddha.

PTI