Pasupatinath is the national god of Nepal. Lord Pashupati is also known as the the Aradhya dev of Nepal. The temple of Pashupatinath is carved in every treaty, pledges, on a 5 rupees note and the royal coat of arms of Nepal.
The temple of Pashupatinath lies at about 6 kilometer east of the center of Kathmandu. It is considered to be the oldest and the holiest temple of Lord Shiva. It is also listed on UNESCO world heritage site.
The temple of Pashupatinath is situated on the bank of Bagmati River. The temple is believed to be more than 2000 years. But the first proof of evidence was made in the year 477 A.D. It is believed that the temple was built in 3rd B.C century by Pashupreksha of Somadeva Dynasty. The present form of the temple was built by Malla Dynasty King Bhupetendra Malla in 1697.
Pashupatinath means lord of living beings. Literally “Pashu” means animal “Pati and nath” meaning lord or owner. Shiva Puran says how lord Shiva was called Pashupatinath.
Once Lord Shiva got exhausted living in the Kailash Parbat all the time, he vanished without telling anybody. Goddess Parbati, his wife, was very worried when Shiva did not show up for many days. Through her spiritual vision goddess Parbati saw that in a beautiful valley of Kathmandu in the place known as Mirgasthali there was a golden deer grazing along with other flock. Goddess Parvati knew it was Lord Shiva. She went as a disguise herself as deer too and went to Mirgasthali. Both Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati stayed there for long period of time enjoying as deer life. The absence of Shiva and Parvati other deities started having trouble from devils and monsters. They also used their spiritual vision and found both lord Shiva and Parvati dwelling in the forest of Mirgasthali. In order to get hold of them lord Bhrama and Vishnu made a plan to catch the deer. Bhramaha and Vishnu tried to catch the deer Lord Brahama could only get hold of one of the horn. The horn soon broke into three pieces. One of the pieces dropped in Gokarna, second dropped in Sleshmantak forest and the main piece dropped and vanished in the place where present Shiva Linga of Pashupatinath sits.
Along with the temple of Lord Shiva Pashupatinth, Pashupati premises has hundreds of temples and thousands of idols of various gods and goddesses. There are 64 Shiva lingams of various sizes in the right side of the Shiva temple. Also on the right side there is a Bhairav temple with the idol of Bhairav about 6 feet tall. The temple of Ganesh, laxmi, Swaraswiti, Narayan, a big idol of Hanuman stands in front of Shiva temple. A big idol of ox (Nandi) sits in front of main temple. On the back of the temple there is a temple of serpent god Bashuki. On the eastern side, there are stairs to reach the Bagmati River. On the bank of the river the cremation ceremony takes place. On the other side of the river various temples of different gods and goddess are present. Main amongst the temples is the temple of Biswaroop. Biswaroop is the idol of Lord Vishnu showing Arjuna all his avatars. Also through the woods on the same way we reach Guheswori temple.
Stupa is semicircle shaped structure (domed) memorial which contains the relics and remains of Buddha. Stupas are ancient form of mandala. Stupa in Sanskrit means heap or mound-like architectures. Stupa is called Chorten in Tibetan and now adopted by English.
Stupas are sacred places to worship. Stupa is also called Chaitya. However, Chaitya refers to close stupa inside a building. Sometimes, stupa is also referred as Pagoda.
Boudhanath is one of the largest Stupas in the world, located at heart of Kathmandu at Boudha near by ancient entrance from Tibet to Kathmandu. Sankhu is believed to be the old entrance from Tibet to Kathmandu, which is near to Boudhanath Temple. It is located at about 11 km (6.8 miles) from the center and northeastern within Kathmandu municipality. An ancient and smaller stupa of Chabahil Charumati bihar is located just in about the distance of 2.5 kilometers from Boudhanatha. Charumati Bihar is known as Little Bouddha.
The Stupa of Bauddhanath is believed to have the remains of Kassapa Buddha. It has different names in different languages. Newar community of Nepal calls it Khasti, Tamangs call it Jyarung Khasyor and in Nepali it is Bouddhanath. Boudhanath has been listed as world heritage site by UNESCO in the year 1979. Boudhnath is very popular place for Buddhist holly rituals and popular sightseeing place to all tourists in Kathmandu.
Boudhanath Stupa looks like a giant mandala from the top view or diagram of the Buddhist cosmos. Four of the Dhyani Buddhas mark the cardinal points as in all Tibetan mandalas, with the fifth, Vairocana, enshrined in the center (in the white hemisphere of the stupa).
The five Buddhas also represent the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space/ether), which are represented in the stupa's architecture.
There are other symbolic numbers too. The nine levels of Boudhanath Stupa represent the mythical Mt. Meru, center of the cosmos; and the 13 rings from the base to the pinnacle symbolize the path to enlightenment, or "Bodhi" — hence the stupa's name.
At the bottom, the stupa is surrounded by an irregular 16-sided wall, with frescoes in the niches. In addition to the Five Dhyani Buddhas, Boudhanath Stupa is closely associated with the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Padmapani), whose 108 forms are depicted in sculptures around the base. The mantra of Avalokiteshvara - Om Mani Padme Hum - is carved on the prayer wheels beside the images of Avalokiteshvara around the base of the stupa.
The base of the stupa consists of three large platforms, decreasing in size. These platforms symbolize Earth, and here you can look out at the mountains while listening to the chants of the devout doing kora, walking around the stupa praying.
Next come two circular plinths supporting the hemisphere of the stupa, symbolizing water. As at Swayabunath, Bodnath is topped with a square tower bearing the omnipresent Buddha eyes on all four sides.
Instead of a nose is a question-mark-type symbol that is actually the Nepali character for the number 1, symbolizing unity and the one way to reach enlightenment—through the Buddha's teachings. Above this is the third eye, symbolizing the wisdom of the Buddha.
The square tower is topped by a pyramid with 13 steps, representing the ladder to enlightenment. The triangular shape is the abstract form for the element of fire. At the top of the tower is a gilded canopy, the embodiment of air, with above it a gilded spire, symbolic of ether and the Buddha Vairocana. Prayer flags tied to the stupa flutter in the wind, carrying mantras and prayers heavenward.
The main entrance to the upper platform of Bodnath Stupa is on the north side. Here Amoghasiddhi, progenitor of the future Buddha, presides. Below Amoghasiddhi is the Buddha Maitreya, the future Buddha.
Surrounding Boudhanath Stupa are streets and narrow alleys lined with colorful homes, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and street vendors.
According to the Gopalrajbamshavali, Boudhhanath was founded by Lichhivi King Shivadev (590-604 AD). Though, other Nepalese records refer it to be built during the reign of King Mandev (464-505 AD). Tibetan sources claim a mound on the site was excavated in the late 15th or early 16th century and the bones of king Amshuverma (605- 621) were discovered there.
The Stupa is one of the ancient trade route in between Tibet and Kathmandu. The village of Sankhu in the northeast corner is the gateway of entering Kathmandu through Bauddhanath. There are vrious stories about Bouddhanath stupa. Most famous among all those is from Tamang Mythology. Tamang call the stupa Jyarung Khasyor.
According to the mythology an Apsara of previous life, Jajima was born in a very ordinary family of the earth. She was married to four husbands. Her four husbands worked in four different areas. The first one was a horse dealer, second one was pig dealer, third one was dog trader and the forth one was a poultry dealer. She gave birth to for sons from each of the husband. She named them Tajebu, Phajebu, Khijebu, and Jyajebu. Tajebu was born from horse trader, Phajebu from pig trader, khijebu from dog trader and Jyajebu from poultry business man. Her sons were very religious persons. They decided to construct a largest chorten (stupa). The land, necessary for the construction of stupa was made available by Majyamija. The constructions of stupa started in a speed. The construction materials like soil, bricks and stones were carried on elephants, horses, donkeys etc. Majyamija died after the construction of almost four stories of stupa. The four sons Jajima took over and worked hard for three more years and constructed The Bauddhanath stupa. It is believed that thousands of Buddhist followers and heavenly Deities converted themselves into Lama (Buddha monks) in the Bauddhanath stupa. It is said that because of its Rabne, the rays of Bouddhisattwa entered in the vocal from the heaven and the holy sound was heard in the sky
As empowered by the Bodhisattva this stupa is addressed with a great respect as Sange, Yhange Duibe, Chhorten etc.
After the completion of the construction of Bouddha stupa, Tajebu prayed to become the king of northern region. In his next life he was the king Thichen Devajan of Tibet. Phajebu wished to be a scholar. He became Bouddhisatwa, an enlightened teacher in Tibet. Khijebu was incarnated as the enlightened Guru, Rinpochhe. Jajebu prayed to be a minister for the protection of religion in the north so he became the minister Bhamitisi. Alomg with the people various animals had also worked to build the Stupa but nobody even remembered them. These animals became angry and prayed. The elephant prayed to be the demon in the next life to get rid of the religion. He became the king of Tibet in the form of Langdharm in the next life. In the same way, the Donkey prayed to become a minister in the next life to destroy the religion and he too became a minister 'Duilon Masyal Thoumbe" in Tibet. Crow hearing the prayers of these animals, wish to destroy the religion, prayed to be a minister to protect and conserve the holy religion. He was born as the brother of minister Lalan paldooc in the next life. The cowherds, shepherds, who prayed for the protection of religion, were born as ChhyolenGohi pemachaen in Tibet.
In the same way, chhodpurchan and sarse, these two Brahmins prayed to the stupa to give the birth in the holy country and to write the holy literature and they got the next life as Kavapalcheka and luigalchen and they translated thousands of holy teachings of Lord Buddha and wrote holy Kangyur. In addition to this two crown princess of Nepal prayed to be the helpers in spreading the religion and to write the holy books. They became Denama Chemang and Hegika Demoka in their next lives and wrote many holy books. One of the religious king of Tibet, Dechen Devachan asked the greatest teacher Rinpoche "what could be the factor and cultural back ground of our previous life that made us deeply devoted in religion and active in disseminating religious matters". He was answered and simply referred by the Guru as 'Jyarung Khasyor and its name, which is illustrated in Kambu Chhoi.
One of the other legend states that, s king in ancient time built a pond with stone water spouts near the present Royal Palace. But the water did not come out of the water spout. It worried the King.
After meditating for a long time, he found out that water would not flow out of the spouts unless a person gifted with all the 32 qualities was sacrificed to it. The king could think of no one except himself to be sacrificed. Determined to make the water flow out of the water spouts, he asked his son to be where he had built the pond with the water spouts at mid-night and chop off the head of a person whoever would be present during the midnight.
The Prince followed his dad’s ordered. As soon as the sacrifice was made, water started flowing out of the spouts. The scene was too horrifying. Unable to beer what he saw one of the stamped water spouts turned its face towards the sky. The pond and the water spouts is still near the Royal Palace. It is known as machha pokhari. The water spouts which looked towards they sky in now replaced.
When he saw the face of the dead body he was horrified with sock. The head which he had cut off was of his father. The Prince with depressed heart, went somewhere near the Bajrajogeni temple in Shankhu. He lived an sober life praying to Goddess Bajrajogeni for several years.
The Goddess became pleased with his prayer. She asked the Prince to build a temple of the Buddha to wash away his sin. The Prince started building the Stupa. But as he started the 12 years drought started in Kathmandu valley. He collected dew drops from cloth kept in the open throughout the night and started building the Stupa. Since the dew drops could be collected only during the winter, the construction took a long time to finish. The Stupa being built by a Hindu king for the Bhuddhists is held in great adoration both by the Buddhists and the Hindus. The Stupa is regarded as holy as the Soyambhunath Stupa.
It is believed that this Bauddha stupa was built just after the demise of Lord Buddha and is largest stupa in the world. After every 12 years water is filled in the Gumba of chhorten. Many kilograms of gold have been used for plating the stupa.
Stupa usually signifies a domed memorial that normally contains relics and offerings. Its shape evokes the seated figure of the Buddha, and there are 8 traditional variations to the form, each commemorating an event in the life of the Teacher. They are evocative of the eight chaityas that first held the Master's relics.
The Eight Types
Each of the eight kinds of stupas commemorates an important event in Buddha's lifetime:
Manakamana is temple of Durga Bhawani (Hindu Goddess), situated in Gorkha District of Nepal. Manakamana means the “wishes”. It is believed that Goddess Manakaman fulfills the wishes of ones who worship her with pure heart. It is very true when someone wish something from the heart; it is fulfilled by the God.
Manakamana temple is situated at about 1300 meters at a top of a hill surround by a small village community. It is about 9 Km north-east of the town of Mugling and at about 90 Km West from Kathmandu and East from Pokhara.
Transportation to Manakamana : Bus takes three to four hours from Kathmandu or Pokhara. Generally micro buses and mini buses run to Kurintar. One can take bus in transit from east/west (Janakpur, Kakadbhitta, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj) to Kathmandu or Kathmandu to east/west.
There was transportation to Abu Khaireni until the cable car was installed. And people walk uphill for 3 hours to reach Manakamana temple. Now, the cable car operates from Kurintar. Cable car takes 10-12 minutes to reach the top.
The cable car generally operates during the day time (9 a.m. to 5 p.m). It stops for a lunch break from 12.00 to 13.30. In festive occasions and on Saturdays and holidays it starts operations an hour before schedule time.
The charge is US$10 (tax extra) for foreigners, and Rs. 250 plus tax for Nepalese people. However, there is no method of separating foreigners from Nepalese other than self declaration by the tourist. The sacrificing animal especially goat is also charged Rs. 140 one way fare. Cock can be carried together with the passengers.
Manakamana is Hindu Goddess so she is worshiped with offerings of flower, sound, scent, dress, make-ups and colors. There is a tradition of sacrificing animals at the temple. Devotees stand in line for even for 5-10 hours during festivals. The line started from the temple gate reach longer than few kilometers sometimes. People can be seen standing in line with pooja samagri (worship materials) in hand and some of them carrying duck, cock or goat with them. People seem to enjoy standing in the line without food, some even with no water.
As per hindu mythology all objects in this universe is consists of five cosmic elements the earth, water, fire, air and ether or space or sky. Therefore the arrangement of pooja samagri is done on the basis of these elements then it helps in balancing and regulating the activated five cosmic elements in the universe. The worshipper then gets the maximum benefit both manifest and unmanifest frequencies emitted from the god and goddess.
Devi is worshiped with the same elements, and in Nepal there is a tradition to offer cloth (bastra) to god and goddess. Especially red is considered as saubhagya (long life in Nepal) so Devi is offered almost everything in Red color.
The pooja thali should contain at least the following in a puja basket along with pancha patro,
1. Abir (kumkum) for saubhagya
2. Kesar represents earth
3. Flower and Leaves
4. Dhup for Scent (Fragnace)
5. Diyo for light
6. Cloth (Bastra or Dress) and mirror
7. Fruit and Foods for Prasad (Coconut and sweet deserts)
8. Bell for sound
9. Betel nut and janai
10. Little amount of rice (anna, grain)
The priest takes the pooja material when devotee reaches near the Devi statue and he offers their pooja samagri to goddess and returns the same after offering her. People do Sankalpa (vow) and Bhakal (resolution) in the temple. The priest asks the devotees if they have any vow or resolution for which they are in the temple to offer. If they have any, the priest offers the pooja materials to Goddess in the name of Sankalpa and Bhakal of the devotee. People make resolution at the temple and when their wish is fulfilled they go to see the goodness Burga Bhavani, Manakamana Mata, again to offer their gratitude.
There are motels, hotels and lodges around Manakamana Temple. A single room cost from Rs. 100 to Rs 600 depending upon facilities one wants to avail. In cold days, most of hotels are closed but open sufficient enough to hold the guests at the winter.
Walking or Trekking to Manakamana
There is a way to walk from Gorkha to Manakamana, passing along the hill-top ridge through forest and paddy. It takes about 8 hours walk to cross the river, hills and the forest. You can reach with a simple compass. There are few rivers in the way, the bridges are often broken. Therefore, it is better to be careful, or it is best not to hike in rainy seasons.
You can walk from bank of Marsyandi River from Abu Khaireni. It takes about 3 hours to reach the top. It was old path before the cable car started its operation.
Manakamana is also famous for the sweet juicy small oranges (Tangerine). The hill of Manakamana is full of oranges in the season.
Story behind Manakamana
It is said queen of Ram Shah was a goddess. It is only known to her devotee. Even, king was unaware of it. Ram Shah is king Gorkha born in AD 1614. One day the king found his queen in goddess incarnation. He told this to Lakhan Thapa. King dies instantly, in AD 1636. The queen went Sati (commit cremation with the husband's pyre as per custom of that time). Lakhan Thapa objected and dismayed on her Sati. The queen convinced him that she would reappear again. In six months after queen’s death, Lakhan Thapa heard news that a farmer hit a stone while he ploughs his field and a stream of blood and milk came out from the stone. Immediately, he started performing Hindu tantric rituals and worship (hom and pooja) at the place. As soon the flow of blood and milk ceased, he established it as Manakamana Mai. It later on grew as Manakamana Temple. The current priest at the temple is the 17th generation descendant of Lakhan Thapa. Manakamana is only one of very few of its kind of temples where priest is from Magar community of Nepal.