I particularly loved this place and I had the opportunity to go back there several times during my three month stay in Nepal, by day, by night or even during the anniversary of the birth of Buddha.
Not only does the vision of those who believe in Buddhism practising their ritual and turning towards the Stupa cause even the biggest atheist among us to ponder the universal meaning of life, but also the surrounding alleyways are absolutely brimming with places that are so typical and welcoming. It's here that you can savour a good breakfast or try a more local dish, sip an iced coffee on a roof terrace of one of the numerous cafés neighbouring the Stupa and boutique shops selling mandalas and other typical artefacts of the country.
Wherever you look, everything brings about a type of questioning, every movement and ritual intrigues you, it is a place where you feel particularly in tune with the heart of the country and at the same time universally connected to the whole world.
Once I slept at a hotel right by the Stupa and it is worth knowing (something that I didn’t at the time) that the night-time activity that takes place around the Stupa is the most unique. Followers of Buddhism perform a circuit from 2 a.m., this rite is called the Circumambulation, a ritual consisting of: walking around a sanctuary and lying flat on your stomach on the ground after each step while stretching out your arms like a swimmer doing breaststroke (rather intriguing for the gaze of an outsider who discovered this performance from their hotel bedroom…). Except that in the majority of cases, believers carry a type of wooden racket in their hands which they scrape against the ground during each ‘breaststroke movement’. After each step when the rackets where scraped along the ground the sound rang out into the night sky, which for me, tinged the night with the most absolute purity.