Changu Narayan Temple is a world heritage site at Bhaktapur and is the oldest temple in Nepal. It has a history that dates back to around 3000 years. On the edge of a hill, the temple stands royally over the rice fields of Bhaktapur, approximately 22 km away from Kathmandu. Changunarayan is free from pollution and offers cool air with lots of short hiking and cultural journeying around nearby villages. UNESCO world heritage site of Changu Narayan Temple is a great place to visit and explore. If you are an art lover then there are lots of Thangkas to buy and even Thangkas painting class and chance to learn local wood carving skills from professionals.
Built in the two-tiered pagoda style, the main temple here is protected on all sides by pairs of mythical beasts – lions, elephants and ram-horned griffons – and its roof struts feature some amazingly intricate carvings of Tantric deities. The statue within shows Vishnu as Narayan, the originator of all life, but the delightfully bejeweled metal-plate doors are only opened for rituals and only Hindus may enter. The temple came very close to breaking up in the earthquake, and much work will be required to stabilize the structure.
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Some Fast Facts
- The temple of Changu Narayan was originally built in the 4thcentury during the Lichhavi Dynasty
- The Changu Narayan temple is a double-roofed temple devoted to Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayan. The temple is adorned with ten incarnations of the Narayan. Stone lions guard all the four doors of the temple.
- Garuda, half-man and half-bird is the vehicle of the Vishnu. A life size stone statue of Garuda kneels in front of the west face of the temple. There is an inscription stone behind the statue. The inscription provides important information on the Licahhavi dynasty.
- To the north of the temple is the statue of Vishnu seated on a Garuda. The sculpture dates back to the 9thcentury and is yet another attraction in the area.
- The temple’s true gem are the much older sculptures dotted around the patio. The statue of Vishnu in a half man and a half lion incarnation called Narsingha is something not be missed. It dates back to 464 AD. Another statue shows Vishnu as Vikrantha/Vamana, the six-armed dwarf who later transformed into a giant. To the side of these images is a small black slab showing a 10-headed and 10-armed Vishnu.
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How to Reach Changu Narayan Temple
If you are confused on how to get there, the following tip might help you to grab a good day ahead.
- By taxi: It’s about 25-30 minutes from Thamel in non-rush hour. Taxis will try to overcharge, set the price before getting in with a friendly bargain. You can also take a taxi from Kathmandu, and that will cost Rs 800. A taxi from Bhaktapur will cost Rs 250.
- By bus: For more adventure you can take a mini-van bus from Kathmandu city. There are direct mini vans to Bhaktapur departing from anywhere around Ring road. You can easily find a bus in Kathmandu that will take you to Bhaktapur .You can also catch the bus from Jamal Bus Park which is situated just before Rani Pokhari on Kantipath Road. The bus will drop you off for around 60 rupees. It is the cheapest medium to reach your destination and is also a way to experience the daily lifestyle of the locals here.
- Have changes handy and not tucked out deep inside your pocket. The buses are going to be crowdie.
- The buses are super slow but save you the extra bucks.
- Take the ride as early as possible. Will save you the traffic and also excessive crowd in the bus.
- Regardless of age and nationality, everyone has to pay Rs 60 to enter the premises of Changu Narayan.
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