Changunarayan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple situated atop a hilltop in Bhaktapur district of Nepal and dedicated to Lord Vishnu, believed to be the preserver of the universe in Hindu mythology. Dating back to 4th century, this is considered one of Nepal’s oldest temples and was constructed by King Hari Datta Verma during Licchavi era; it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. Some sources attribute its construction to King Hari Datta Verma while others credit King Manadeva – but it could have involved both as it has undergone numerous renovations and additions over time – its exact origins may never be fully known.
Changunarayan Temple is a revered and holy site for those seeking blessings from Lord Vishnu. Art and history buffs alike appreciate the temple’s ancient architecture and artwork, located only 12km east of Kathmandu by road. A visit to Changunarayan Temple provides an unforgettable opportunity to learn about Nepal’s vibrant cultural and religious heritage.
After the earthquake damage, reconstruction efforts for the Changunarayan Temple were necessary. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely convinced about the modern style in which it’s been rebuilt. The use of various colors on its wooden statue takes away from its traditional and historical appeal. Personally, I preferred when the statue was covered in gold metal for a timeless and majestic appearance.
My opinion is that the reconstruction could have been done more successfully if it had kept the temple’s traditional design and architecture while also using modern materials and techniques for durability and safety. Nonetheless, I applaud the authorities’ efforts to preserve its cultural and historical significance and guarantee visitors continue to feel awed and reverence when visiting.
The ancient Changunarayan temple showcases the skills of ancient Nepalese artisans through its stone sculptures, wood carvings, and metalwork. It also houses an iconic idol of Lord Vishnu in a reclining position on Shesha, an infamous serpent.
Contrastingly, the new Changunarayan temple offers contemporary amenities like a paved courtyard, museum and parking lot. This was constructed after the old temple was damaged by an earthquake in 2015.
Story about Changunarayan Temple
Changunarayan Temple is an ancient temple located in Nepal built during the 4th century AD to honor Lord Vishnu. Legend has it that it was originally situated along the banks of the Vishnumati River but later relocated due to fears of flooding.
One of the most beloved legends associated with this temple is that of Lord Vishnu and Garuda, his mythical bird vehicle. Legend has it that Garuda was inspired by the beauty and sanctity of the place and settled at its base where today’s main deity stands – depicted reclining on serpent Shesha with his consort Lakshmi at his feet.
Over centuries, this temple has undergone many renovations and restorations, including a major reconstruction after the 2015 earthquake. Despite all of the damage, Nepalese government officials and international organizations worked diligently to restore the temple back to its former glory.
Today, Changunarayan Temple remains a beloved pilgrimage site and cultural and architectural treasure of Nepal. With intricate wood carvings, stone sculptures, and metalwork showcased by Nepalese artisans, visiting this spiritual landmark offers visitors an insight into Nepal’s rich cultural heritage. Visiting Changunarayan Temple is more than just an experience; it’s an opportunity to embrace oneself in spirituality.
How Changunarayan Temple plays a significant role to end Sati Pratha?
Changu Narayan Temple’s story is linked to the demise of Sati in Nepal. Legend has it that Raja Prithvi Narayan Shah, a king in the 18th century, saw a widow about to perform Sati – which involved burning herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. He was horrified and intervened, stopping her from performing it. Subsequently he issued a royal decree banning Sati throughout Nepal and eventually it disappeared from society altogether.
Today, the temple stands as a testament to progress and hope as it was instrumental in ending Sati, Nepal’s barbaric practice of ritualistic killing. People from around the globe visit this iconic site to pay their respects to Lord Vishnu and gain insight into Nepal’s vibrant culture and history.
Statues of Changunarayan:
- Statue of Garuda
- Statue of Narasimha (half-lion, half-man incarnation of Lord Vishnu)
- Statue of Vishnu in a reclining posture on the serpent Shesha
- Statue of Vishnu in his form as Narayan
- Statue of Vishnu in his form as Vaikuntha-Vishnu
- Statue of Bhairava (a form of Lord Shiva)
- Statue of Lord Shiva in his form as Ardhanarishvara (half-male, half-female)
- Statue of Chhinnamasta (one of the ten forms of the goddess Durga)
- Statue of Kileshwor (a form of Lord Shiva)
- Statue of Lord Krishna, Radha & Rukmani
WHY Visit CHANGUNARAYAN?
- Discover Nepal’s vibrant cultural and religious heritage: Visit one of Nepal’s oldest and most revered temples for unparalleled insight into the country’s vibrant spiritual traditions.
- Fascinating Legends and Stories: The temple is steeped in fascinating legends and stories, such as that of Vishnu and Garuda, that add to its allure and mystique.
- Beautiful Architecture and Artwork: The temple’s ancient architecture, intricate wood carvings, stone sculptures, and metalwork are a testament to Nepalese artisans’ skill and artistry – providing visitors with an eye-pleasing feast for the eyes.
- Spiritual Significance: The temple is a popular pilgrimage destination for both locals and tourists, who come to offer prayers and seek blessings from Lord Vishnu.
- Accessible Location: The temple is easily reached by road and lies only 12 km east of Kathmandu, making it a prime tourist destination.
Changunarayan Temple is a must-visit for those interested in Nepal’s cultural and religious heritage. With its ancient architecture, stunning artwork, and captivating legends, it provides an unforgettable experience for all visitors. Whether you’re spiritual, an art enthusiast, or simply curious about Nepal’s past – visiting Changunarayan Temple will be an unforgettable journey. As one of Nepal’s oldest and most respected temples, it stands as testament to their country’s vibrant culture that the Nepalese people are proud of.
Announcing my new book, “The Enigma of Changunarayan Temple,” a captivating exploration of the history, legends, and cultural significance of Nepal’s revered temple.
You can Directly read it from here.
During my recent trip to Changunarayan Temple with my friends, we had a hilarious moment when we stumbled upon the incomplete elephant statue. We couldn’t resist taking a few photos with it. We even joked that maybe the sculptor was just like us, who could not provide a finished art. Despite its unfinished state, the elephant still looked majestic and regal, and we couldn’t help but admire its intricate details. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, and we left with some great memories and even greater laughs.