Archives for the month of: October, 2011

Considered the oldest temple in the Kathmandu valley, Changu Narayan is the temple which successfully laid down the blueprint for the distinctive two tier pagoda adopted by a majority of the temples around the valley.  Located a few kilometer from Bhaktapur, Changu Narayan is one of the seven designated UNESCO world heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley, believed to have been built at around the 4th century AD.  Surrounded by a lush forest and rice fields of the surrounding countryside Changu Narayan offers the perfect respite from the concrete jungle of the city as one can access several scenic paths for a walk.

However, Changu Narayan was rebuilt after the original structure caught fire in the 17th century.  In fact, the statues and idols in the temple’s courtyard are much older than the actual temple itself and they do not fail to match the beauty and splendor of the temple.  Exploring the various statues in the courtyard of the temple is another adventure in itself: a glimpse into a bygone era.

All in all, Changu Narayan is an overlooked gem in the pantheon of Kathmandu Valley temples.  One will certainly love Changu Narayan for its searing beauty and tranquil atmosphere.

The Changu Narayan Temple

The Main Door of the Changu Narayan Temple

The Main Door of the Changu Narayan Temple

Details of the Bronze Carvings on the Main Door of the Temple

A Statue with a Severed Head

A Statue of Garuda Bowing Before the Changu Narayan Temple

A Centuries Old Sedan Which Was Used to Carry an Idol of One of the Many Avatars of Vishnu During Various Festivals

Between Indra Chowk and Hanuman Dhoka lies Jana Bahal.  Jana Bahal is home to a statue of Arya Avalokiteshwara, which plays a central role in the Seto Machchendranath festival at Kathmandu.  The Seto Machchindranath festival is essentially a smaller, less elaborate version of the Rato Machchendranath festival of Patan.

Jana Bahal remains oblivious to the fanfare of the inner city, separated from the urban sprawl of Kathmandu by its thick walls.  The tranquility within the courtyard of Jana Bahal is antithetical to the urban chaos that lies beyond its gates.

The Modest Entrance of the Jana Bahal

A Bronze Lion at the Entrance of Jana Bahal

Local Shops Inside the Courtyard of Jana Bahal

The Courtyard of Jana Bahal

A Large Portion of the Statues Found in the Courtyard are Small Stone Stupas

Details of the Carvings on the Walls of Jana Bahal, Some of the Finest I've Seen in Nepal

What is Jamara without Dashain and what is Dashain wihout Jamara?

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Indra Jatra is an important festival of the Newar community in the Kathmandu Valley which is primarily a monsoon festival aimed at appeasing the Hindu rain god, Indra.  Although the full festival is one week long, only the first day of this festival is a national holiday.  It is then that the most powerful government officials gather at Hanuman Dhoka in order to witness an ancient, intricate festival.

A day before the actual Indra Jatra one can sense the fanfare that is going to envelop the premises of the Royal Palace.  A relatively crowded day, one can see the ongoing preparations for the festivities that are to take place the day after.  Between Jhonchhe (Freak Street) and Kumari Ghar stands the chariot which Kumari will use as her mode of transportation during the festival.  A cultural oddity of the Newar community of Kathmandu, the Kumari is considered to be a reincarnation of Goddess Taleju, who herself is a local variant of  Goddess Durga.  A home-schooled child who lives a life with her family and priest, the Kumari is largely restricted from travelling anywhere outside the premises of the Kumari Ghar.  In addition to the chariot of the Kumari there are chariots for a Kumar and a Ganesh who hold less ritualistic importance.

A Chariot nearby the Durbar Square - This Chariot will be used later on in the Festival to carry Ganesh or Kumar

The Taleju Temple of the Kathmandu Durbar Square. The Taleju Temple opens its Doors to the Public only once a Year during the Ninth Day of Navaratri Festivals which is referred to as Dashain in Nepal

A Handicraft Store in the Backdrop of the Taleju Temple

A Shop Owner Dusting Souvenirs for Sale

A Shop Owner at the Dubar Square reading the Newspapers in the Morning

The Hanumandhoka Palace

A Crowd at Hanuman Dhoka a Day before Indra Jatra

The Crowd 0utside Taleju Temple as it is Opened Momentarily

A Street Vendor Nearby Hamundhoka exhibiting a Large Range of Nepali Topis and Flags for Sale

The Masque of Aakash Bhairab which is Unveiled Once a Year During Indra Jatra. A pipe from its Mouth Spouts Liquor which is Treated as a Prasad

Pigeons Sunbathing on top the Roofs of the Temples surrounding the Hanumandhoka Palace

The pictures below are those of the cars, buses, vans and trucks used by the Kanwariyas during the course of their pilgrimage to Rishikesh and Haridwar during the Hindu month of Shhrawan.  From there onwards, the kanwariyas walk to Neelkantha Mandhir dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.  These vehicles are fully equipped with a gas stove, cooking utensils,, food grains, non-perishable vegetables in order to provide the pilgrims with a vegetarian meal.  For more information on the route taken by the kawariyas please refer to my other post on the Kanwariyas.