Tuesday Jun 25, 2024

Changu Narayan Temple – Nepal

Address

Changu Narayan Temple – Nepal Changunarayan, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur District, Nepal – 44600

Diety

Vishnu

Introduction

Changunarayan Temple often described as the most ancient temple of Nepal. Changu Narayan Temple lies 20 km eastward from Kathmandu and 8 km northward from Dudhpati of Bhaktapur. This ancient temple dedicated to god Vishnu is one of the most important temples of Nepal. The temple as well as its premises is full of stone inscriptions related to the Lord Vishnu. The temple, built around the third century, is bedecked with some of the finest samples of stone, wood and metal craft, Listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

Puranic Significance

In ancient times, a Gwala, or cow herder, had brought a cow from a Brahmin named Sudarshan. The cow was known for producing large quantities of milk. The Gwala used to take the cow to Changu for grazing. At that time Changu was a forest of Champak trees. While grazing, the cow always went to the shade of a particular tree and a boy used to come there and drink the cow’s milk. In the evening, when the Gwala took the cow home and started milking her, he got only a very small amount of milk. This continued for several days. He grew very sad, so he called on the Brahmin saying the cow was not giving enough milk. After observing this with his own eyes, Sudarshan agreed with the Gwala. The next day they observed the cow’s daytime activity while she was grazing in the forest. Brahmin and Gwala both hid behind the tree. To their surprise, a small black boy came out of the tree and started drinking the cow milk. The two men were furious because they thought the boy must be the devil and tree must be its home. So the Brahmin cut down the champak tree. When he was cutting it down, fresh human blood came out of the tree. Both Brahmin and Gwala got worried, believing they had committed a great crime and began to cry. Lord Vishnu emerged from the tree and told the Brahmin and Cowherd it was not their fault. Vishnu told the story of how he had committed a heinous crime by unwittingly killing Sudarshan’s father while hunting in the forest. After that, cursed for the crime, he wandered the earth on his mount, ‘Garuda’, eventually descending on the hill at Changu. There he lived in anonymity, surviving on milk stolen from a cow. When Brahmin cut down the tree, Vishnu was beheaded, this freed Lord Vishnu from his sins. After hearing these words from Vishnu, Brahmin and Gwala resolved to worship the place and established a small temple in the name of Lord Vishnu. Even today, we find Sudarshan’s descendant as a priest of the temple and the Gwala’s descendants as Ghutiyars (conservators). There’s another legend too. About 400 years ago, a mighty warrior named Pranjal lived. He was the strongest in the entire country. Another warrior known all over Nepal named Changu challenged Pranjal. Changu defeated him and won the hearts of Nepalese people, so as a tribute to him this temple. It is said that this two-storied Vishnu temple is neither built in pagoda style nor shikhara style. But it is of pagoda style. This traditional Nepali styled temple is beholding the history of the lichhavi kingdom till today. Besides, it was also enlisted in the UNESCO world heritage site.

Special Features

In the temple premises the Chinna Masta Temple, which has the sacred deity, Chinna Masta in it. Similarly, in the same row of Chinna Masta Temple, there is another beautiful but tiny one, the Kileshwor Mahadev temple. Kileshwor Mahadev Temple; a Shiva temple on the premises of Changu This tiny and two-storeyed temple on the premises of the Changu courtyard is called Kileshwor Mahadev Temple. People often call this temple as the temple of Pasupatinath. There is a shared belief that the lord Shiva gets settled over there to protect the hill. As the Changu Narayan temple, this temple also seems quite old and full of art and architecture. This sacred temple lies on the top of the northern hill station of Bhaktapur. The inscriptions and sculptures found in this temple are said to be the oldest ones with the erecting date of 464 C.E. which was commenced by king Manadeva, one of the greatest kings of the lichhavi kingdom. The structure of the temple has four doors facing each direction. And, all of the doors are guarded by a pair of lions, sarabhas, gryphons, and elephants on each side of the entrances. The main entrance (western gate) of the temple is an artistic wedge, postured with carvings of snakes. Not only the gates but also the struts are filled with amazing wood carvings. The carvings of ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu and other deities are simply a diversion to the eyes.

Festivals

Since the ancient period, many festivals and fairs have been organized on various occasions. One of the main festivals of Changu is called Changu Narayan Jatra. The festival ‘Mahashanan’ held here as an important festival. On the day of ‘Jugadi Nawami’ and ‘Haribodhini Ekadashi’ special puja is conducted in Changu. Daily puja and aarati are conducted in the temple. On the occasion of family rituals, such as birthday, marriage, etc. local conduct special puja at the temple. One of the festivals of Changu is Nag Panchami and Hari Bodhani

Century/Period/Age

3rd century

Managed By

UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Nearest Bus Station

Bhaktapur

Nearest Railway Station

Raxaul and Gorakhpur.

Nearest Airport

Tribhuvan International airport

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