Changu Narayan Temple in the Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley, where you will find the capital of Nepal, is filled with many temples dedicated to the worship of the gods from the Hindu faith. One of these sacred places is called the Changu Narayan temple, considered to be one of the oldest Vishnu temples in Nepal's Kathmandu. The Changu Narayan Temple is dedicated solely to Narayan also known as Lord Vishnu.
The temple of Changu Narayan was first built in the fourth century but was later built again in 1702 after having been destroyed by a fire and earthquake. The temple is said to contain the idol representing Lord Vishnu within its sacred chambers, placed there in the fifth century. The statue of Lord Vishnu, with ten heads and arms, is protected by another statue from the same era called the statue of Garuda. He is the carrier or the bearer of Lord Vishnu and is placed in front of Lord Vishnu in a kneeling position as a show of honor.
The priests of the temple are given the special responsibility to look after the idol allowing no other human access to the inner chambers. The temple has many statues representing Vishnu in his many forms. Apart from the main temple there are other shrines dedicated to Shiva, Ashta Matrika and Krishna found outside in the main courtyard.
The Changu Narayan temple is situated near Bhaktapur and is an impressive building to view from a distance. The pagoda-style temple with its double roof lends itself to the surrounding area providing a picturesque view of the valley. When you come closer to the building you will notice the many beautiful carvings that are in and around the temple. Each statue has been individually carved out of Nepalese wood, metal or stone, definitely worth a look. Stone lions situated on either side are there to guard the doors leading into the sacred temple.
Inside the Changu Narayan Temple on the roof struts you will see a variety of carvings, each representing the goddesses and Vishnu in their different embodiments that they have taken on. Unfortunately, access into the inner-parts of the temple is prohibited to any visitors that are not of the Hindu faith.