Stupas are Buddhist memorials. Though they can be from a few inches / centimeters tall to hundreds of feet / scores of meters tall and come in a wide variety of forms, the heart of every stupa is a representation of the burial mounds under which the Buddha's cremated remains were placed, one stupa at each of the major locations where he had taught.
Stupas contain either relics or "treasures," typically religious texts, at their core but are solid masonry. Legend says that the enormous stupa here was built during a draught using water collected from dew to make mortar each day.
The stupa is built on many levels of terraces, and is painted with safron garlands and adorned with prayer flags. It is set in a mandala (mystical circle) design. Altogether 108 Buddha images and 147 inset prayer wheels adorn the base of the huge circular edifice. It was created in the mid 5th century and has had many renovations since. The last major update was in the middle 1850, when the outer ring of prayer wheels was added.
The Magnificent Seven - The World Heritage Sites of the Kathmandu Valley
The Valley of Kathmandu is fertile, flat and compact. It is situated at the altitude of between 1,200 to 1,500 meters (between 4,000 to 5,000 feet).
The valley is also small, with an area of only 220 square miles (570 square kilometers). Yet in its smallness, there are record seven World Heritage Sites declared by the UNESCO - a fact unrivalled anywhere in the world! The seven man-made wonders are the milestones of Nepal's past and a living museum of high culture.
Unesco World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu