Located about 11 km (6.8 mi) from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa's massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.
The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline; it is one of the largest stupas in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 gompas (Tibetan convent) around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhu, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area.
The Stupa is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner, passes by Boudnath Stupa to the ancient and smaller stupa of Cā-bahī (often called "Little Boudhanath"). It then turns directly south, heading over the Bagmati River to Lalitpur - thus bypassing the main city of Kathmandu (which was a later foundation). Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha.