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Colloquially known as ‘the Monkey Temple’ for its resident population of macaques, the Swayambhunath complex crowns a hilltop to the west of Kathmandu. The site has been sacred since the beginning of written history – and probably well before. A magnificent stupa, with gilded tower and pair of huge, all-seeing eyes, forms its iconic centrepiece. Early morning or late-evening, when smoke from incense offerings and dozens of yak butter lamps fill the air, are the best times to visit.
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