SHANTI STUPA (Pokhara)
Shanti Stupa (Peace Stupa from Pokhara, Nepal)
Nepal is the birth place of Lord Buddha, the god of peace. He was born in 563 B.C. Since it is the birth place of Lord Buddha, there are many religious heritages related to Buddhism. Shanti Stupa is one of the important Buddhist monuments of Nepal which was built on 27th Bhadra 2030 and was destroyed on 13th Shrawan 2031 and then again rebuilt on 8th Jestha, 2049. It is the Nepal’s first Shanti Stupa and 71st Shanti Stupa of the world.
World peace Pagoda (Bishwo Shanti Stupa) is a massive Buddhist Stupa, it has an immense role to beautify the Pokhara valley. It is located on top of Anada hill of Pumdi Bhumdi Village Development Committee, the Stupa lies approximately 7 kilometers away from Mahendra pool, and the main market of the valley. This Stupa was designed by Monk Nipponzan Myōhōji organisation and founded by Monk Litokowo. The Stupa is situated at an elevation of 2 thousand and 1 hundred meters above sea level.
The Stupa is 115 ft. tall and 344 ft. in its diameter. Besides the Stupa, a Bihar with the idol Buddha and a guest house with 12 rooms are constructed within the premises of the Stupa. A huge idol of lord Buddha made in Japan has been installed at the front part of the Stupa. The western part of the Stupa is equipped with the installation of an idol of Buddha received from Sri Lanka and another idol of 6ft. received from Thailand. And in the southern part of the Stupa, there has been installed an idol made by a Nepali sculpture. The Stupa is surrounded with all these idols of Lord Buddha as souvenirs from different countries of Asia. The Stupa occupies about 21 ropanis of land .One has to ascend 37 steps to reach the bottom part of the Stupa .The upper part of the Stupa is equipped with “Dharmachakra” and on the top of the Stupa, Gajur (Pinnacle) of golden color has been installed. And furthermore, on the upper part of the Gajur, a crystal stone received from Sri Lanka has been placed. This is considered as a symbol of intellect and grace.
One can visit the Stupa through several ways and directions. After getting off at Chhorepatan, one can climb up the hillside on foot for about 1 hour to reach the Stupa .Those not willing to walk on foot can take a car or a taxi. Cars and taxis can reach there by way of Kalimati of Pumdi Bhumdi VDC. Another way to reach the Stupa is through crossing Fewa Lake by boat and hiking up the hill. Following this direction, it takes about 1 hour on foot.
It has already been stated that the Stupa was the sole product of sincere initiative and a design of a Japanese Bhikshu Nipponzan Myōhōji. His proposal of constructing a Stupa at that very place was highly welcomed by Dharmasila Guruma, a buddhist nun of Dharmashila Buddha Bihar of Nadipur, Pokhara and Meen Bahadur Gurung, an ex-minister. The keen desire of the Japanese Bhikshu could be materialized as the land (i.e.Anaau danda) was granted by Meen Bahadur Gurung.
The Peace Pagoda is unique of its type in the Pokhara valley. The Stupa gives a feeling and message of peace and prosperity. Situated on a hill top of Pokhara valley, the Stupa has an immense value and significance from both tourism and religious point of view. From tourism point of view, one who climbs the hill i.e Anada, can enjoy having a glance at the Himalaya range like Machhapuchhre, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himalayas and greenery scene, scenery of Pokhara valley and its surroundings. Anada danda itself is an appropriate picnic spot.
The Stupa itself represents the real norms and value of the philosophy of Lord Buddha. From the religious and tourism point of view, it is, thus, suggested to the institutions concerned to pay their proper attention for the conservation of the Stupa and its surrounding environment. And, moreover, the Stupa is supposed to be highlighted through national and international press and media.
This temple is one of the most important Buddhist monuments of our Nepal which has attracted millions of visitors from abroad and has promoted tourism sector of Nepal and contributed in the economy of our country. Transportation up to the Stupa must or can be made better so as to attract more number of tourists towards the temple. Just like other cultural monuments of Nepal, its surrounding is not so polluted or degraded. This should be maintained sustainably. Nepal is a cultural country thus; there are many cultural heritages here. Because this temple has attracted so many tourists in Nepal and has contributed in the national income of Nepal, it is a valuable asset of our country. Therefore, it must be preserved.
- Sulochana Bamanu
Glitter Future School