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Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath is one of the main stupas in Nepal and indeed the whole of South Asia and, since 1979, has been a UN World Heritage Site. There are several legends surrounding its origins, but the first historical mention of the Boudha stupa date back to the fifth century AD. In April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, destroying the stupa. Following the appeal launched by guru Gong Qiao to rebuild it, the disciples of the Guru Banma Charity Foundation took on the task of providing lighting for the complex. From above, Boudhanath looks like an enormous mandala, the geometric figure containing numerous other geometric figures that is one of the main symbols of Vedic culture. As in all Tibetan mandalas, four Dhyāna-Buddhas (constructions with Buddha eyes) mark the four cardinal points. The fifth Buddha, Vairocana, is placed in the centre, on the dome’s white hemisphere. All the numbers found in this stupa have symbolic significance. Each Buddha is the embodiment of one of the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and either. The nine levels represent the mythical Mount Meru, the centre of the cosmos in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. The thirteen rings from the base to the pinnacle symbolise the path to enlightenment, or “Bodhi”, the term which gives the stupa its name. At the bottom, the two circular plinths supporting the hemisphere of the stupa symbolise water. The goal of the project was to provide uniform lighting so the building would stand out on the landscape without creating light pollution. This was achieved with MaxiWoody spotlights installed on poles on all four sides of the building. The spotlights’ 12° optics fitted with cylindrical anti-glare screens are aimed at different heights so that they illuminate the dome and the square tower topped by a 13-step pyramid symbolising the ‘stairway’ to enlightenment. Lastly, the golden canopy representing air and the spire representing ether are lit at a colour temperature of 3000 K. All present, worshippers and tourists alike, were deeply moved when the new system was switched on for the first time.

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  • Year
  • Client
    Guru Banma Charity Foundation Limited
  • Photographer
    Wei Shen

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