How did Swayambhunath & Boudhanath get their names?

Do you know why the names Swayambhunath and Boudhanath end with – nath?

If you notice the names of many things in Nepal, you will find that many names are ended with the word “Nath.”

The answer is not as straight as your tour guide will make out. In some places, it may be easy. But for Syawambhunath and Boudhanath, it’s an outright puzzle.

From tour guides to monks history teachers Everyone has a different interpretation.

Swoyambhunath at night
Swoyambhunath at night

The real meaning of Nath.

The Sanskrit word of natha means “lord, master, protector.”

Nath is an Indian surname, commonly found among Bengali and Assamese Hindus.’ Nath’ community belongs to the Yogi-Nath group and are listed as other backward class in West Bengal and Assam.


From where the term nath come from?

Its origins are linked with Adhinath’s name and are used by lord Shiva.

Natha group ( Hindu sub-traditional group) start the system of Naming Nath.gtg

The establishment of the Natha distinct historical began around 8th and 9th with a simple fisherman.


Is this is the only mention of Nath or Natha in the world? No

Bodhisattva is worshipped as “Natha” in Srilanka. He is specified in Chola Literature (Tamil), which was originated from south India in the 9th and 13th century. In this terminology, Bodhisattva was also known as Natha-deva.

The most exciting thing is that aside from the name and terminology are the dates. They almost correspond to the origin of the Hindu group known as Natha. In the condition of Bodhisattva, there little else known in connection with the name of Nepal. In conclusion, there are practitioners of yoga who also place to maintain term Nath though it is said that it will come later. To make matters confusing, the Natha was Practitioners of yoga.

Sexy Boudhanath
Boudhanath Temple

Who was that, Natha??

Though their origin is about the 9th -10th century, they are primarily known for their rather outbox challenging ways. They allowed all shady practices and stay away from societies learning to explore their inner power.

It seems like a foreign culture, but Natha’s popularity grew, and they began forming monasteries. During this age, they developed a strong following and dedication to walking long distances for spiritual practices.

In Nepal, Natha is known as Sadhu.

During this period the sub-group of natha became warriors in Islamic invasion of India

Natha mainly believes in extensive spread travels and search for a higher level of spiritual power rather than the other’s written doctrine.

Two branches are consisting of Sadhus and regular householders or workers who practised their beliefs at home. Sadus is also known for making a long-distance walk to Pashupatinath during the Shivaratri festival.


Natha and Buddhism.

If you ask historians about the Natha, you will get an answer that they were Hindu culture that also beli8ved in Buddhism. It is an understandable simplification.

In Tibet, because of their extensive travels that Natha was documented in Buddhist text. But the Natha did not directly practice mainstream.

They do meditation or other activities to reach a higher understanding. However, some have delved deeper and come up with individual branches of Buddhism that Natha was meant to have practised.

If we go in a more in-depth education of Tibet doc, Matsyenranath is often referred to as Lui-pia and Nepal; he is a form of Bodhisattva. So there is, it seems a connection.

From my view, the most likely result is that they start practising their won form of Buddhism and exploration for higher spiritual power.

Boudhanath Temple
A temple in Boudhanath of Kathmandu in Nepal. The prayer flags were flying high.

The Natha and Nepal.

The oldest religious sites in Nepal is Swayambhunath. According to the Gopalarajavamsavali, it was founded about the beginning of the 5th century by the great-grandfather of king Manadeva, king Vasudeva.

Avalokiteshvara is represented through many Buddhist scriptures and many statues.


The Real name of Swayambhunath.

The oldest religious sites in Nepal are Swayambhunath. According to the Gopalarajavamsavali, it was founded by the great-grandfather of king Manadeva, king Vrsadeva, about the beginning of the 5th century. Mythology also says that Bodhisattva, Manjushree let the water out of a lake, and the Kathmandu valley come out with a lotus blossom becoming a “Self Awoken, Lord.” This is where the stupa is built. It thereby holds the title of the Kathmandu’s first building.

The official name of Swayambhunath is Swayambhu Maha Chaitya, and the first recorded name was “Singru-Vihara-Chaitya-Bhatjarika.”

The real meaning of Swayambunath is” self-manifested,” self-existing.”

The first written data of the stupa comes from King Manadeva, who had done here in 640CE, so it predates the Natha.

The Seto Machchhendranath temple located in Kathmandu’s Jana Bahal with the Machchhendranath temple in South Patan is dedicated to Machchhendranath. There is a change in spelling due to different languages commonplace in Nepal, so it’s not an issue.

Swayambhunath Maha Chaitya
Swayambhunath Maha Chaitya

Though what about Natha?

The only certification of the Natha is said to be an inscription at Swayambhunath, according to the late historian.

For those wondering, I do not include Pashupatinath temple here as it is established to the 5th century, and the likelihood is that the phrase nath here is undoubtedly a direct link to lord Shiva as Adinath. Whereas, both Swayambhunath and Boudhanath have Buddhist points of origin.


How are the Natha and Swayambhunath is related?

Natha and Swayambhunath are known as “lord.”One has Buddhist origins, and another has a vague delving into Buddhism.

When was Swayambhu Maha Chaitya named changed into Swayambhunath?

From the period of Natha, it was changed to Swayambhunath.


The real name of Boudhanath.

The great white stupa is established in the Licchavi period in 400 CE. The area was known as Boudha, and the city is known as Boudha.

The previous name of Boudhanath is Khasti or Khasa Chatiya from the Newar Chronicles. There is no orientation to the Natha here. The link between the Swayambhunath and Boudhanath is that they aside from Buddhism. Both names are enduing with Nath and fascinating the presence of an Ajima temple at both sites. Both Hindu and Buddhists respect Ajima alike, often being cited as a Newar god.

The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world.
The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world.

When was Boudhanath built?

According to history, after unwittingly murdered his father, one king constructs the stupa.


When did the nath get used?

This is the million question. Nobody seems to be talented to quote an orientation as to when these terms were first used in the Nepali memoir when it comes to Swayambhunath and Boudhanath. Again, the likes of Pashupatinath and Machchhendranath all make a judgment. But Swayambhunath and Boudhanath had different original names.

Candle light

When and why Swayambhunath and Boudhanath were renamed?

As mentioned earlier, the answer is usually right there. But, there is no evidence. Nobody seems to identify this.

Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake Trek

The Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake Trek is situated in the Mountain ranges of central Nepal. The total length of the Annapurna Circuit trail is between 160-230 km, and you can complete this trek as per your available time (generally between 10 to 20 days). It depends on where there is motor transportation utilized and where the trekking route in ended. Adding on, the Annapurna Trek encircles the Annapurna Massif and crosses the two different river valley. The highest point we reach while trekking is the Through la Pass (5416m). This route also touches the edge of Tibetan Plateau. The interesting fact about this trekking is almost all the trekkers hike this route in an anti-clockwise direction because you need to slowly gain an altitude, which makes the Thorung La pass safer and more comfortable.


Waterfalls in Annapurna Circuit Trek

Adding on, this trek gives us the closest scenario of Annapurna Massif (Annapurna I-IV), Fishtail(6998m), Dhaulagiri(8167m), Mt. Manaslu(8163m), Gangapurna, Tilicho Peak(6920), Mt. Hiunchuli(6441m), Lamjung Himal (6986), Pisang Peak, and Paungda Danda. Many other peaks are ranging from 6000-8000 m in altitude from the Annapurna range.


Annapurna Circuit and Tilicho Trek Option

There are two ways of starting this trek; first, we can begin it from Besisahar second from Bhulbhule in the Marshyangdi river valley. From Kathmandu, It is around 6 hours drive to reach Besi Sahar. The trail passes along with impressive milestones of paddy field, Himalayan ranges, river valley, waterfall, and many beautiful scenarios.

The Annapurna Circuit is the most voted as the most extended trek in the world, as it includes a wide range of climatic zone, from tropics at 600 m to the arctic 5416m at Thorung La pass. Furthermore, the full range of culture which represents Hindu culture at the lower foothills and Tibetan culture at Manang Valley and lower Mustang. The continuous development of roads and other infrastructure changed the shape of the village. It also made the route look easier, which helped the trekkers to compete for their trek easily.

According to the NATT ( New Annapurna Trekking Trail) from Besishahar to Manang made trekkers view the beautiful Himalayas and valley around Marshyangdi River easier. NATT is a new trekking trail to Annapurna Circuit to stay away from roads. However, with the construction of the way, mountain biking is becoming popular. And the Mustang is becoming the world’s most famous mountain biking destination.


Way to Tilocho Lake
Way to Tilocho Lake

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is about 15-20 days, leaving from Kathmandu with a stopover in Pokhara before coming back to the capital. The trail is relatively challenging, and on the way, we cross the number of rivers and wooden suspension bridges. Likewise, there are Tea houses and lodges for meals and accommodations. Some people might be interested in staying in a tent for this they need to carry tents and food along with porters. It is a little bit costly option but wholly exotic.


Our Daily schedule for Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake Trek

We ate breakfast early in the morning and leave Besishahar by following Trishuli and Marshyangdi River. We took lunch at Beshisahar after 6 hours long drive. From Beshisahar, we took another vehicle to reach Chamje; on the way, we saw several waterfalls, gigantic cliffs, hydropower plants, Marshyangdi River, underground tunnel, water reservoir, and many more excellent views. We spend our first night at Chamje.

On the second day after having a delicious breakfast at the lodge, we depart from Chamje to Dharapani, taking footrail, crossing many suspension bridges. On the way, we saw mountains and the world’s dangerous route made by cutting the large rocks. The waterfalls and river banks were equally breath-taking. We stayed in a tea house for lunch with a scenic view. Finally, after walking for several hours, we reached Dharapani. We stayed in the lodge, and in the evening, we had dinner and overnight there.


Suspension bridge near Dharapani
Suspension bridge near Dharapani

On the third day after spending the night at Dharapani, we moved to our destination, and the breakfast over Dharapani was fruitful. Then we stopped at Bagarchap for tea and Thanchowk for lunch. After walking for several hours, we reached Chame. In the evening the dinner was delicious. After dinner, we stayed near the Furnace because till we reach Chame, the weather was already cold. Besides, it was difficult to remain without fire.

On the fourth day, we had breakfast and again started our journey — this time, we reached Brathang, which is also known as apple farm. Fortunately, we had an excellent chance to taste the delicious apple over there. Then we had our tea at Dhukur Pokhari, and finally, we reached the upper Pisang. There is Ghumba at the height of Upper Pisang from where we can get a clear view of Annapurna Massif. By the way, there is lower and upper Pisang. We checked in the hotel at upper Pisang. The dinner was terrific, and the locals were accommodating.

On the fifth day, finally, we reached Manang, which is our destination for acclimatization. Manang was as beautiful as expected. The beautiful valley surrounded by the Mountain, which sparkles during the full moon at night if the sky is vivid. We stayed in Manang for acclimatization. In the morning, we left to see the Gangapurna lake. Also, you can visit the ice lake and Ghumba over there in Manang. Adding on, the Tilicho Lake(4919m), one of the highest lakes in the world, is the destination, gone trekking from Manang- Overnight in Manang.


On and around Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake Trek
On and around Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake Trek


An important day for Tilicho Lake in Annapurna Circuit Trek

On day sixth early in the morning, we left from Manang to Tilicho Lake. We reached Khangsar and had our breakfast. Then we started moving again and arrived at Shri kharka and had our lunch there. The more we get close, the trial becomes more visible and transparent and equally seems more daring and challenging. The adventurous test to Tilicho Lake was full of ups and downs. The route was dangerous as some parts of the area were in a landslide zone but protected by an iron wire fence and stone. After walking for several hours reached Tilicho Base Camp. We took it as our day and rested in the base camp. We had our dinner and gathered near the Furnace, and many people were there as well. Then we went to the lodge and slept as we had our big day tomorrow — overnight in the Tlicho Base Camp.


Tilicho Lake
Tilicho Lake

On the seventh day, we left basecamp at dawn (5 AM), and we were already tired before we reach our destination. There is a place called 21 ghumti, which was the toughest part of the trekking. On the way, we saw the Mountains very close to our vision. For instance, we were surrounded by mountains. The route was partially covered by snow. Finally, we reached Tilicho Lake, and we were all overwhelming. The view was such we were out of words; everyone started shouting with joy. We took loads of pictures for the memory, and the view was mesmerizing.

In a short period, we left there as it was windy we couldn’t stay there for long. We returned to the base camp tired and joyful that we were able to reach the Lake. Afterward, we packed our bags and left. We stopped at shri kharka for lunch. From shri kharka, we moved again and arrived yak kharka that day. We must say that day was toughest and memorable as well- Overnight in Yak kharka.

On day eight, we had our breakfast and moved on from Yak Kharka. We stopped at Fedi for the tea; and then for lunch in base camp, which is at the height of 4925 m. we stayed there for the night. We had to cross suspension bridges and Mountain cliffs to reach up to basecamp. The trek from Yak Kharka to base camp isn’t fair, but due to high altitude, we kept it a short distance. Everyone was tired, and we slept because we had a huge day to overcome tomorrow — overnight in High Camp.


Mostly awaited day

On day ninth very early in the morning, before sunrise, we moved from basecamp. Today is our toughest day. Therefore we prepared ourselves from the beginning. At the height of 5416m, we were walking and crossed Through la Pass. The moment we crossed the Pass, our heart was overwhelming. Slowly by gathering ourselves, we continued our journey and reached Muktinath. We went to the hotel, kept our luggage and freshened up. Hene, We visited the temple and took-bath. The water was cold. The Muktinath temple is the holy place, and there is 108 tap water, while it’s believed that taking a shower in that 108 tap water takes away our sins. After that, we came back to the hotel and stayed there for the night.


Thorong La Pass
Thorong La Pass

On the tenth day at Muktinath, it was cold though we were already at a lower elevation. In the morning we had our breakfast and moved from there. We took the bus from Muktinath to Jomsom. For further information, you can also trek this route without taking a bus. There is a small airport in Jomsom, which flies to the Pokhara. Then we had lunch in Jomsom, took some rest; After that, we took a bus to Tatopani.

On the way, we were welcomed by the beautiful ancient village Marfa, the Kaligandaki river, hydro plants, and the excellent views of the mountains. After several hours of drive, we reached Tatopani, we checked in the hotel and went hot spring. The hot spring was excellent at the bank of the Kaligandaki River. We had lunch at the hotel and took rest for the day. You can directly go to Kathmandu or Pokhara from Tatopani to end Annapurna Circuit with Tilicho Lake Trek but we do not want to miss Ghorepani.


An optional trek to Ghorepani under Annapurna Circuit with Tilocho Lake Trek

On the eleventh day from Tatopani, we moved to Ghorepani. The hiking trail was excellent, and we had Nepali Dhedo at Durbindada. Then we carried on our trekking, after 6 hours of walking we reached Ghorepani. We checked in the hotel and took rest. We had dinner and stayed near the Furnace for a while. Then we went back to our room- Overnight in Ghorepani.

Poon Hill

On day twelve in the morning, we woke up and walked to see the sunrise at Pooh Hill, which is at a distance of 30 minutes of walk. The view of the sunrise was magnificent. We went in the view tower and had a panoramic view of the Mountain range. After seeing the morning, we came back to the hotel, had breakfast, and started walking to Ulleri. From there, we took a microbus to Pokhara, which can be trekked as well. And we stayed Pokhara for the night in the hotel. In the evening time, we went for a walk at the lakeside and enjoyed the nightlife of Pokhara.

On the thirteenth day, Pokhara, which is a sophisticated city, a luxurious hotel, and a massive facility and enriched with natural beauty. Furthermore, loads of entertaining things to do, i.e., zip-flying, paragliding, kayaking, sky-diving, and many more. After enjoying the day in Pokhara, we came back to the capital city by the fight and checked in the hotel.

Nikesh Raj Shrestha