"...Listen mighty king! This wonderful stupa is one that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the all times have actually dissolved into and in which they abide….It's like a wish-granting jewel which automatically answers any prayer that is made to it." Great Buddhist guru Padma Sambhava replying to King Thrisong Dechen of 8th century in Tibet; quoted from the history of great stupa (Bouddha).
Such are the praises found in the Buddhist scriptures about the historic Bouddha Stupa an iconic monument of Nepal, world heritage site declared by UNESCO and a principle pilgrimage site for Buddhist religious devotees from across the world. In Buddhist countries stupa or chaitya is one of the most common monuments build for spiritual purposes; thus, we find them in everywhere built in different sizes and designs dating back to different periods of the history.
|Bouddha Stupa Renovated after the Earthquake of 2015|
Bouddha stupa also called Jyarung Khasyor by Tamangs and Tibetans along with another historic stupa of Soyambhu has special value in spirituality of Mahayana Buddhism. The stupa was not only visited by pilgrims of all levels from common people to royal families from different neighbouring countries from time to time, but its replicas were built in respective countries by the Buddhist rulers and their families. One of such replicas of Bouddha build in 18th century is believed to be in eastern Bhutan a place called Tashiyantse. Another one built in 17th century is recently renovated in Shey, Ladakh of Jammau and Kashmir state of India.
Ladakh a remote western Himalayan land was an independent kingdom ruled by Buddhist kings from 9th century to 19th century before becoming the integral part of modern India. According to the sources found in leaflets and guide books, Ladakh's King Deldan Namgyal (1642-1694 AD) had requested King of Nepal to send a team of Nepali architects and craftsmen not only to build the replica of Boudha stupa near his palace in Shey but he also requested them to build a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha that still guard the ruined palace of Ladakh kings.
|Shakya Muni Buddha Inside Shey Palace, Ladakh|
I had visited Shey palace several years ago and had seen the Giant Buddha Statue made of copper considered one of the largest metal Buddha status found in the entire Himalaya. Inside the shrine room of Buddha there was a small handwritten note displayed saying the statue was built by Nepali artists in request to Ladakhi king. Looking down from the ruins of the palace one could gaze the view of a virtually vanished monument that still looked like small Bouddha stupa of Kathmandu. I used to tell to my foreigner tourist friends that, the ruin resembled like a replica of Bouddha. However, I couldn't find resource to reconfirm it as even most local people seemed unknown about the forgotten monument.
|Nepali Workers Giving Hand in Renovation of Replica Bouddha Stupa|
I reached Ladakh once again in 2014 during the Kalachakra event and I found out exciting news that the stupa near the old palace is in the final state of its renovation with the help of foreigner volunteers. And sure enough to my guess, the team involved in renovation had done enough research which affirmed, the stupa was originally built by Nepali architects in 1650s who were invited by the then king Deldan Namgyal. Luckily, I had an opportunity to witness both the ongoing renovation and consecration puja for newly renovated stupa and very nice coincidence that the project team had found eight Nepali workers from west Nepal to give their hands on rebuilding the replica of their own heritage back in their home country.
|View of Replica Bouddha Stupa Shey, Ladakh Before Renovation in 2004|