A short distance from the more famous Swayambunath Temple is the quieter, but no less impressive Amideva Buddha Park, built in 2003 and featuring a gigantic triumvirate. But those who take the time to wander around the park will find many more curious marvels.
Measuring 67 feet tall, the central statue that dominates the landscape is of Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha who began life as Siddhartha Gautama. This portrayal is the Amitābha (or Amideva) form of the Buddha, who is associated with longevity. He holds a giant bowl in his hands, which contains the nectar of immortality.
To the left of Shakyamuni Buddha is the 64-foot-tall Chenrezig (also known as Avalokitesvara), the “one who looks with unwavering eye.” He is the most compassionate of all Bodhisattvas, and those who utter the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” invoke his assistance. He is depicted with many arms which he uses to reach out to help the multitudes in need. The Dalai Lama is considered an incarnation of Chenrezig.
To the right of Shakyamuni Buddha, also at 64 feet tall, is Guru Rinpoche (aka Guru Padmasambhava), “The Precious Master.” Incarnated as a fully enlightened being, Guru Rinpoche is a keeper of primordial wisdom and revealed to the world the complete Vajrayana (tantric) teachings.
The statues are encircled by prayer wheels. Walking behind them reveals a great many additional treasures including an ornate stupa, a chörten containing an enormous prayer wheel, intricate artwork around the base of the statues, and the occasional rooster. Of particular interest are the sculptural recreations of sacred mountains including Kailashnath, the mountain where Shiva is said to reside. To one side of Kailashnath is a large golden shiva lingam, which may or may not be considered a phallic symbol, depending on the information source.
Despite its size and religious significance, this park gets far fewer visitors than other sites around Kathmandu. A stop here can provide both a respite from the chaos of the city and a chance to take a quiet step toward enlightenment.
Know Before You Go
Although local opportunists may attempt to extract a fee from visitors, the park is free to enter.