The temple is known for its symmetry, which lends it beauty. It is perched on a hill that looks out over the rice fields of Bhaktapur, some 22 km from Kathmandu
Bhaktapur is a Nepalese city described variously as the City of Culture, the Living Heritage, Nepal’s Cultural Gem, an open museum, and the City of Devotees. Ancient Bhaktapur is famed for its exquisite art, fantastic culture, vibrant festivals, traditional dances, and the native way of life of the Newari people. Even though it's only 12 km east of Kathmandu, the area’s traditional dwelling, ways of life, and surroundings might make you feel as though you’re travelling back in time.
Bhaktapur is also known as the “City of Temples” and the “City of Worshippers”. Among numerous temples, Changu Narayan Temple stands out as a magnificent example of Licchavi-era architecture. It is also known as Nepal’s oldest temple.
The Changu Narayan temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu, who is revered by Hindus as the preserver of the divine power of creation. It is located in the town of Bhaktapur. It is one of the oldest temples, with a history dating back approximately 3000 years, and was established in the 4th century under the Licchavi dynasty by King Mandev.
The Changu Narayan Temple has significant religious and historical relevance. It has two stories. The temple has four doorways, which are guarded by lion statues, and the temple is embellished with carvings.
The shrine is adorned with the best pieces of stone, wood, and metal from the Valley. Inside the temple, you may see a variety of arts and sculptures made of stone, wood, and metal. When you visit Changu Narayan, you witness the complete cultural evolution of the Kathmandu Valley. The temple is known for its symmetry, which lends it beauty. It is perched on a hill that looks out over the rice fields of Bhaktapur, some 22 km from Kathmandu.
The Changu Narayan Temple is one of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Nepal that demonstrate historic and aesthetic achievements. This temple is claimed to be the Kathmandu Valley’s oldest Hindu temple still in use. The main shrine here is guarded on all sides by a pair of actual and mythical creatures; elephants, lion, winged lions, and ram-horned griffons. Its roof struts are adorned with sculptures of Tantric deities. The 2015 earthquake severely damaged Changu Narayan and its adjacent structures; but, repair of the complex is going on.
The Chinna Masta Temple is next to it, which houses the revered god Chinna Masta. Similarly, in the same row as Chinna Masta Temple, there is another beautiful temple, Kileshowor Mahadev. It is little but it has the beautiful etched struts.
There are several stone sculptures of Lord Vishnu. And, most importantly, all of them were carved in the sixth or seventh century where each portrays a distinct narrative and incarnation of Lord Vishnu, which are Vishnu Vikrant, Narshimha, Vaikuntha Vishnu, and Vishwarup. Also, there are statues of Shirdhar Vishnu, Garuda Narayan, and Chanda Narayan, as well as King Bhupalendra Malla and Queen Bhuvan Laxmi. These sculptures adorn the Changu Narayan’s complex.
The evidence suggests that King Bhupatindra Malla was also engaged in the Changu Narayan temple’s reconstruction. Almost every mystical face of Lord Vishnu can be found in the Changu Narayan. Regardless of their age or nationality, visitors to Changu Narayan Temple must pay an admission charge.
Despite the fact that Changu Narayan is home to many sculptures and models, it is also highly recognized for its exquisite metal, stone, and wood crafts. The sanctuary and its surroundings are absolutely mesmerising. So, make sure to check out every inch of this marvel.
Compiled By: Rebika Bishokarma
photo credit: Wikipedia