Historically, the stupa was an important staging post on the trade route between Lhasa and Kathmandu, and Tibetan traders would pray here for a safe journey before driving their yaks on to the high passes of the Himalaya. Originally a Tamang settlement, today most of the people living in the village of Boudha (pronounced boe-da) are Tibetan refugees who fled China after 1959. The stupa also attracts many Sherpas, descendants of eastern Tibetans who migrated to the Everest region of Nepal in the 16th century.