The Changu Narayan Temple is located in Changunarayan Municipality of Bhaktapur District, Nepal. This hill is about 7 miles or 12 km east of Kathmandu and a few miles north of Bhaktapur. The Manohara River flows beside the hill.
The Changu Narayan Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is one of the oldest temples in Nepal that is still in use today. Like a lot of other temples in Bhaktapur, the Changu Narayan also features stone guards in the form of lions, elephants, and griffons on the outside.
The temple was built neither is shikara style nor in pagoda but consists of double-roofed, dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayan and held in special admiration by the Hindu people.
This Changu Narayan Temple is said to be the oldest Hindu temple still in use in the Kathmandu Valley. Built in the two-tiered pagoda style, the main shrine here is guarded on all sides by pairs of real and mythical beasts – elephants, lions, winged lions and ram-horned griffons – and its roof struts feature some amazingly intricate carvings of Tantric deities.
Bhaktapur is located in the Kathmandu Valley about 8 miles (13 km) from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. It has a population of around 65,000 people. Bhaktapur literally translates as Place of Devotees, which is pretty unsurprising given all the temples that are in the city. Bhaktapur is considered the best place in Nepal for its preserved historic buildings, courtyards and shrines, a fact that UNESCO recognised by awarding Bhaktapur (and the Kathmandu Valley) World Heritage Status in 1979.
Inside, the deity Vishnu is depicted as Narayan, the creator of all life; along with the figure of his consort, Garuda, that is said to date back to the 5th century. The stone inscription in front of the statue is believed to be the oldest in the Valley, with Vishnu’s symbols, the conch and the chakra disc, depicted on two pillars near the shrine.
Apart from the main temple there are other shrines dedicated to Shiva, Chinna Masta (Kali), Ganesh and Krishna found in the courtyard. A pilgrimage to the temple of Chinna Masta, considered to be the mother goddess worshipped at the site in prehistoric times, is held here each year in the Nepali month of Baisaakh (April-May).
The temple has four entrances and the gates are guarded by life-size pair of animals such as lions, sarabhas, griffis and elephants on each side of the entrance. The struts of the temple feature the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu and other idols craved in wood. The temple premises lights up during festivals such as the Changu Narayan Jatra, Mahashanan, Haribodhimi Ekadashi and especially Nag Panchami.
Introduction about Changu Narayan Temple
This shrine is dedicated to lord Visnu and held in special reverence by the Hindu people. This temple is considered to be the oldest temple in the history of Nepal. The Kashmiri king gave his daughter, Champak, in marriage to the prince of Bhaktapur. Changu Narayan Temple is named after her.
Situation of Temples After Earthquake
The temple was rebuilt in the following years. More recently, the Gorkha Earthquake of April 2015 damaged 753 temples, shrines, and monasteries across Nepal, including 241 in Kathmandu. Changu Narayan suffered heavy damage but restoration projects began almost immediately.
Know Before You Go
Changu Narayan is located about seven miles east of Kathmandu. From Kathmandu you can take the bus to Bhaktapur, then take another bus to the temple. There’s also a museum located on the way up to the temple. Inside the temple complex you are free to explore most of the grounds, but only priests can enter the main temple.
The entrance fee for foreign nationals is 350 Nepalese rupees ($3.50 US) and 250 Rupee for SAARC Nationals.