Dashain, a paramount festival in Nepal, holds profound significance for a populace deeply rooted in tradition and culture. It is a time when numerous temples beckon devotees to partake in the festivities, marking a season of reverence and celebration.
The grand celebration of Dashain, Nepal's most significant festival, commences with the ceremonial installation of a sacred vessel and the initiation of Navadurga worship on the auspicious day of Ghatasthapana. During the Navaratri, spanning the festival's initial nine days, devotees also embark on pilgrimages to temples dedicated to Navadurga, collectively known as Shakti peeths.
Shakti peeths hold profound religious significance, particularly for honoring Goddess Sati, Durga, or Shakti. While some individuals adhere to precise criteria for identifying a Shakti peeth, in general, devout worshippers regard all temples dedicated to Devi, Durga, or Bhagawati as Shakti peeths.
In the city renowned for its many temples, Kathmandu Valley stands as home to numerous Shakti peeths, here are top 5 of the most prominent among them.
The Guhyeshwari Temple, situated in Nepal, is a place of great reverence dedicated to Adi Shakti, symbolizing the original power. Beyond its significance to Hindus, it holds profound importance for Buddhists as well. Located on the eastern bank of the sacred Bagmati River, approximately one-kilometer northeast of the renowned Pashupatinath Temple, this temple ranks among the prominent Shakti peeths in Nepal. According to legend, it marks the spot where a part of Sati Devi fell following her immolation. As the tale goes, King Pratap Malla constructed this sacred edifice in the 17th century, adding to the sanctity of the site.
Nestled approximately 17 kilometers south of Kathmandu, the Dakshinkali Temple stands as a sacred oasis enveloped by lush forests, where two streams converge in harmonious serenity. It draws a throng of devotees, hopeful that Goddess Kali will grant their desires, particularly on Saturdays and Tuesdays. An annual Dashain festival unleashes a vibrant fair, enhancing the temple's allure. During Navaratri, numerous pilgrims offer sacrifices of ducks, chickens, and goats as an act of devotion. This temple not only symbolizes spiritual reverence but also the profound connection between nature and faith, making it a captivating destination for visitors seeking both solace and cultural insight.
Maitidevi, a renowned Shakti peeth in the Kathmandu Valley, lies nestled between Dilli Bazaar and Gyaneshwar. This sacred site has been entrusted to the care of the Vajracharayas for generations. While its origins trace back to the era of Amshuvarma, the present Maitidevi temple took shape in 1711. Devotees flock to this shrine, particularly on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, ardently believing that Goddess Maitidevi will grant their wishes. Every ninth day of Dashain, a vibrant fair graces the temple grounds, accompanied by solemn animal sacrifices as part of age-old traditions. Maitidevi stands as a revered sanctuary where faith meets ancient rituals.
The Bagalamukhi Temple, nestled in the heart of Patan, is a revered sanctuary dedicated to Goddess Bagalamukhi, a manifestation of Durga. A timeless legend narrates the goddess's intervention, rescuing the tormented inhabitants of this area from the clutches of the demon Bagala and inspiring a deep-rooted devotion. Thursdays, in particular, are regarded as the day of Goddess Bhagawati, drawing a surge of devotees to this sacred abode. Additionally, during the grand festival of Dashain, the temple witnesses an influx of pilgrims who seek the blessings and protection of Goddess Bagalamukhi, making it a pivotal spiritual destination in Patan.
Taleju Bhavani Temple
Nestled in the heart of central Kathmandu, adjacent to Kathmandu Durbar Square, the Taleju Bhavani Temple stands as a testament to historical grandeur. Constructed in 1564 by King Mahendra Malla, this temple carries an intriguing legend. Taleju Bhawani, a goddess graced with four heads and ten arms, is believed to have originated in southern India before ascending to the esteemed position of the Malla Kings' clan deity, subsequently embraced by the Shah dynasty. A unique characteristic of this temple is its annual opening, a solitary event transpiring solely on the ninth day of Dashain, preserving both its sanctity and enigmatic allure.
photo credit: english.onlinekhabar, Nepal Travel Guide, Khojnu.com