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Photo Feature | A rainy-day pilgrimage to Swayambhu

Pratik Rayamajhi

Pratik Rayamajhi

Photo Feature | A rainy-day pilgrimage to Swayambhu

As I moved towards the temple, a group of monks chanting Buddhist hymns caught my attention. They were repeating the six-syllable Sanskrit mantra—‘Om Mani Padme Hum’—which was both peaceful and spiritual

It was raining heavily on the morning of June 29, Wednesday. I had to be at Swayambhunath, the famed fifth-century stupa. The plan was to capture the view of Kathmandu valley from up there but the monsoon downpour was relentless. As I was already up, I decided to take my chances. I grabbed my camera bag and took off on my bike.  

Fortunately, the rainfall stopped as I reached the iconic Buddhist pilgrimage site. I was hoping to find the place relatively crowd-free as it had been pouring down all morning. But to my surprise, there were many visitors. 

Huffing and puffing, I reached the top, with my camera pointed at the wonders of Swayambhu. Undoubtedly, my first impulse was to capture Kathmandu, with Dharahara soaring higher than any other building. 

As I moved towards the temple, a group of monks chanting Buddhist hymns caught my attention. They were repeating the six-syllable Sanskrit mantra—‘Om Mani Padme Hum’—which was both peaceful and spiritual. Moving around, I came across several Buddhist devotees lighting butter lamps near the statue of Lord Buddha, one of the attractions of Swayambhu. 

The devotees and casual visitors were scattered all around the place: some of them circumambulating the dome-shaped shrine and spinning the prayer wheels, others counting their sacred beads.

I was fortunate that the rain stopped and I got to capture the picture I had planned to, but I got so much more. Apparently, morning life at Swayambhu cannot be hindered–come rain or shine.