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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DOLAKAHA BHIMSEN

     In the eastern upper part if Dolakha towhship lies the temple of Bhimeswar, which is popularly knoen as Dolakha Bhimsen temple also. The people of Dolakha regard Bhimeswar as their supreme Lord. The roofless temple houses the Shiva Linga underneath of which, it is believed, there is a holy pond. On both sides of the image of Bhimswar there are idols of Goddesses. Fairs are held there on the occasion of Bala Chaturdasi,Ram Navami, Chaitraastami, Bhima Ekasashi etc.
     In the month of Aswin-Kartik (Sept-Oct-Nov) during Durga Puja festival, goats are sacrificed there. There is a trust to run the religious worship.
     From the Kalinchowk peak near Dolkha, one can have a clear view of the Bhimsen Tower of Kathmandu during the fine weather.
     Approximately at a distance of 200 yards from the Bhimeswar temple there is another temple of Tripurasundari where devotees assemble during the festivals of Chaitrastami and Durga Puja. Only the priest of the temple is allowed to have a glimpse of the image of the Goddess.

Friday, August 12, 2011

NYATAPOLA

      This five storey temple is at Bhaktapur, 6 miles east of Kathmandu. It was dedicated to Siddhilaxmi, the Goddess of  Riches. This wonderful temple was built by King Bhupitindra Malla  of Bhadagaon in 1798. Standing on a base of five elevated stone platforms, this temple is the tallest in the city. It stood the great earth- quake of 1933 A.D. This temple was built for Goddess Laxmi. Figures of wrestlers,elephants,lions,griffins and images of deities guard the five platforms of the temple. Perceval Landon describes the temple thus:
     "In general the Nyatapola of Bhadgaon may be taken as an illustration of the usual design of Nepalese religious architecture".

Thursday, August 11, 2011

SWARGADWARI

     In the western part of the district of Piuthan (Rapti Zone) on the top of Swargadwari mountain (6960 ft. or 2122 meters) lies Swargadwari, one of the most famous places of Hindu  pilgrimage. Swargadwari, one of the most famous places of Hindu pilgrimages. Swargadwari is almost 26 km. south of the district headquarters of Piuthan- Khalanga Bazaar.
     During summer thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit this place.
     As the mythology states- the holy place derived its name from a spot where ancient sages practiced penance. That is why this spot is called Swargadwari of the Gateway to Heavens and the mountain itself was, later on, known as Swargadwari peak. And the historic temple of Swargadwari stands there on the peak.
     As the hearsay goes-long ago, there was a bachelor hermit (Bal Brahamchari) Padma Giri by name, who was, with the passage of time, renowned as Swargadwari Mahaprabhu. With his continuous penance, he attained great enlightenment and did a lot pious thing to the local people. It was this Swargadwari sage who built a holy pond there and started the system of Akhand Hom (Eternal Fire) in it. In 1941, the Great sage passed away and he was buried there. Over that holy burial ground marble slabs were placed and a temple was built. A herd of several hundred cows belongs to the temple trust which manages the lodging and fooding of the visitors. On the peak of the Swargadwari mountains there is a picturesque cave where the Great Sage- Swargadwari Mahaprabhu used to meditate in the past.
     Every year fairs are held there during Baisakh's Poornima(April-May) and kartik Poornima (Oct-Nov) festivals. Pilgrims from different parts of Nepal and India pay visit there.

SHESH NARAYAN

     A few miles south-west of Kathmandu,the temple of Shesh Narayan is situated amidst wonderful natural scene near Pharping on the way to Dakshinkali. The image of Lord Vishnu with four hands dates back to very olden days. The temple of Shesh Narayan was constructed in the time of Lichchavi King Haridutta Varma in the third century A.D. Around the temple there are fish ponds. Just behind the temple there in the cave where there is a shape of a cow's dug through which water flows all the year round in drops. As the mythology runs, in the hoary past milk used to flow from it  (It was believed to be the dug of  the holy Kamadhenu, the divine cow which fulfills the desires of all).

GUHESWARI TEMPLE

     Near the holy temple of Pashupatinath is located another historic and holy temple of Goddess Guheswari. This ancient temple lies on the south-west bank of the holy river Bagmati at Devpatan. This one storied temple has got its own peculiar features which distinguish it from other pagodas and prove its historic antoquity. Pre-historic mythologies refer about of Guheswari was constructed during the reign of King Shanker devof the Lichhavi period with the help of great tantric Narsingha Tahkur by name. King Pratap Malla of Kathmandu got this temple repaired with the advice of a noted Tantric Lambakarna Bhatta in the year 1654 A.D. In the modern times, King Rana Bahadur Shah presented various muscial instruments to be used  during the prayer and worship of the Goddess in the temple.
     The temple of Guheswari houses no image of any Goddess. Devotees offer wine,eggs etc in a holy orifice which has been regarded as the place of  worship since times immemorial.

DATTATRAYA TEMPLE


     Some 5 miles from the Nepalese capital this famous temple of medieval days lies in the  city of Bhaktapur. This temple was constructed during the reign of Yakshya Malla , then Malla King, in 1427 A.D.  It is said that this temple was built with the wood of a single tree. The temple of Dattatraya  was renovated during King Biswa Malla's time. Thousands of devotees come to pay homage to Lord Dattatraya  during the Shivaratri fair in February.
     Just behind the Dattatraya temple there is an ancient monastery which is renowned the world over for the wonderful "Peacock Window". This famous window was carved during the reign of King Biswa Mall in 1458.

DAKSHINKALI

     On the slope of a mountain, some 6 miles south of  Kathmandu, lies the temple of Dakshinkali, a place of pilgrimage. Historians point out that the image of Dakshinkali was set up there in the 10th Century by Vedic followers.
     Dakshinkali tops the list of holy places of pilgrimage in relation to Hindu Goddesses, which dates back to times immemorial. one image of Dakshinkali was carved in accordance to the vedic tantricism during the reign of King Jayapratap Malla with the advice of the famous tantric Lambakarna  Bhatta.
    Devotees visit this holy place specially on Saturdays and goats are sacrificed in large numbers. Apart from the religious point of view this place has also been a popular picnic spot.

CHATURVARNA VIHARA

     Near the historic Durbar Square of Bhaktapur lies Charuvarna Vihara, a Buddhist monastery, Built in the year 1491 A.D, this monastery was dedicated to Padmapani Lokeswar f Buddhists. This monastery was constructed by Taudhidhan Bajracharya during the reign of  King Raya Malla.

CHANGU NARAYAN TEMPLE

     A few miles north of Bhaktapur, the historic temple of Changu Narayan is located on a hillock called "Dolagiri". This ancient pagoda type temple was constructed by Vishnu Gupta and later reconstructed in the reign of King Hari Datta Varma of Lichchavi period in the year 325 A.D. This temple is believed to be the oldest pagoda type temple so far available in Kathmandu Valley. It represents the ancient artistic heritage of the Lichhavi period in Nepal. This temple houses the famous ancient image of  Barah, the boar incarnation of lord Vishnu. This temple is noted for its architecture and sculpture.
     The historic image of Garud was placed in the temple by the illustrious Lichchavi King Manadev. This temple was repaired to a considerable extent by Queen Devi Gangarani, the consort of King Shiva Singh Malla in the year 1585 A.D

BUDHANILKANTHA

     Some 6 miles north of Kathmandu lies Budhanilkantha , a place of pilgrimage. Here one sees the huge image of Lord Narayan-asleep on the waters of a holy pond upon a bed of snakes. This is one of the most ancient images of Nepal. Historians trace its existence even in the reign of King Hari Dutta of 6th century.
     This image of Nilkanth meaning "the Blue Thorated one", one of the names of Lord Vishnu, the creator of the Universe, was carved during the Lichchavi period. It has got four hands with Sankha (the conch-shell), Chakra (wheel weapon), Gada (the club with a ball at its one end) and Padma (thelotus). On the crown of the image there is an image of Buddha.
     Located on the lap of the Shivapuri hill, this huge image of Budhanilkanth is one of the oldest images in Nepal. When the Valley of  Kathmandu was opened for human settlement King Dharmaketu had set up an image of Budhanilkantha.
     Later on, during King Dharmagati's reign, this image of Lord Vishnu was found lying buried as a result of landslides of the Shivapuri hill. King Vishnu Gupta (575 A.D) had this holy place on the lap of the Shivapuri hill excavated. When this excavation work was on , scartches were made unknowingly in the images of Vishnu while digging. And the nose and the toe of the image started to bleed.
     The same story repeated during King Hari Dutta's time also. When excavation was on, the fleet of the image of Vishnu started bleeding. The image was then surrounded by a holy pond and this bleeding stopped.
     Historically this wonderful scuppture dates back to the 6th century.
    

BOUDHA



     Three miles east of Kathmandu lies Boudha.  There is a famous ancient Buddhist stupa which resembles the Swayambhu stupa. As the mythology runs, it took 12 years to complete the construction of this Chaitya.
     This Buddhist Stupa, one of the highest in the  world, was constructed during the reign of King Mana Dev of the Lichhavi Period. when this chaitya was under construction there was no rainfall in the Valley of Kathmandu continuously for 12 years. And the clay had to be moistened for use in its construction. Some historians claim that this stupa is 2000 years old.
     The watchful, four pair of eyes (possibly keeping watch for peace and prosperity of humanity) as depicted in the four cardinal sides of this Chaitya, the Buddhist Prayer-wheels around its base and murmuring prayer of"Oum Mani padme hum" of Lama priests give it a look of antiquity and holiness. The chief priest (Abbot) (popularly known as the Chiniya Lama) is Mr. Punya Bajra who surprises tourists with his mysterous Yeti (Snowman) lore.

BHAIRAB TEMPLE

     Bhaktapur:- the three storey temple of Bhairabnath is a beautiful pagoda which houses the image of Bhairab, the God of War. This temple presents a different style and design of pagoda type of Nepalese architecture of medieval days. Constructed during the reign of King Jagatjyotir Malla, this temple at first had only one storey. Again after a decade it was made three storied. After the great earth-quake of 1933, this temple was removated.
      This temple of  Bhairab is located at Toubal tole of Bhadgaon. The history of this temple is as old as the history of the city of Bhaktapur. It was king Anand Dev who had established this city of Bhaktapur by constructing 12,000 houses for settlement. And it was the same King who had built this temple in a bit smaller size.
     Centuries later, King Jagatijyotir Malla started the Chariot festival of Bhairab in the year 1570 A.D , including the famous festival of Bisket jatra (the festival of the Huge wooden pole called Lingo). Both these festivals occur simultaneously every year in the middles of April. As the history records the present temple is the contribution of King Jagatjyotir Malla.

BATSALA TEMPLE


      Near the Nyatapola temple of  Bhaktapur lies the temple of  " the Bell barking Dogs' i.e the Batsala temple of Goddess Batsala devi. The local dogs start to bark at the peculiar sounds of the bronze bells of this temple. Thus," The bell of the Barking dogs"(Khicha Kho gan)  is a noteworthy feature of the Batsala temple. This bell was hung in the temple by King Bhupatindra Malla. Built during the Malla period, this temple, which looks somewhat like the Krishna temple of Lalitour, is made of stones.
     The Chariot festival of Goddess Batasal devi was firstly introduced by the Lichhavi King Shiva Deva. this festival is observed jointly with the holy fair of Chandravinayak.

BARAHKSHETRA

   A few miles from the main city of Biratnagar, on the banks of the Kosi river, Barahkshetra, the holy place of Hindu piligrimage, lies at the confluence to the two rivers- Saptakoshi and the Kokaha. The famous temple of God Barah is located on the left bank of the Kosi river at a distance of 4 miles from Dharan. The two storey temple houses the image of Barah, the boar- incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Historians have traced the existence of this image from the 12th century.
     Every year in the month of October a grand holy fair is held at Barahkshetra. This fair lasts for 5 days. during this fair thousands of pilgrims from the the Nepalese Tarai and mountainous regions as well as Hindus from India visit this holy place to pay homage to God Barah, the boar incarnation. The devotees dip in the holy water at the confluence of the two rivers-the Saptakoshi and the Kokaha. They bring water from the confluence and offer to God Barah. Barahkshetra is one of the four prominent places of Hindu pilgrimage. Some 2 miles from Barahkshetra lies another temple of the white Barah. . Nearby is the monastery of Chatara.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE

        A few miles east of the main city of Kathmandu lies the most famous pagoda temple of  Pashupatinath, on the bank of the Bagmati river. It is one of the oldest temple of Nepal. As Lord pashupatinathh is the Guardian Deity of the Nepalese Hindus, thousands of devotees and visitors visit this temple to pay homage to Lord Pashupatinath every day. During Mahashivaratri holy festival , a grand religious fair is held in Pashupati area. Thousands of Hindus from different parts of Nepal and even  from India come to pay their homage to Lord Pashupatinath.
         On many religious occassions of the Hindus such as Harisayani Ekadasi (fasting day), Haribodhini Ekadasi(fasting day), Haribodhani Ekadasi(fasting day), Balachaturdasi(festival when food grains and cereals are scattered or sprayed in the Pashupati area) etc, thousands of Hindu devotees visit Pashupatinath temple to pay their homage to Lord  Shiva (Pashupati).