The Mysterious Shrine of Manakamana

The legends that surround ancient monuments and shrines have always intrigued foreign visitors, and the stories lure them to visit these attractions. Many tourists come to Nepal to explore the magnificent architecture and design of the old buildings. The engineering feats that were accomplished are breathtaking, and the mystery and atmosphere of the monuments can almost be felt in the air. One of these spectacular monuments in Nepal, which has become a popular tourist attraction, is the shrine of Manakamana.

The Manakamana shrine is amongst the most visited attractions in Nepal. Located near the town of Gorkha, in the Gorkha district, the shrine was constructed on a ridge that offers wonderful views of the surrounding landscapes, such as the Trisuli valleys, Annapurna Himal, Marsyangdi and Manaslu-Himalchuli. Once the snow softly covers the area, it is an almost fairytale sight.

The Queen of the Gorkha King, King Rama Shah, was said to have powers that only her devotee, Lakhan Thapa, knew about. Unfortunately, the Queen’s husband stumbled onto her secret, when he saw her in the form of a goddess, and Lakhan Thapa transformed into a Lion. The King tried to discuss what he had seen, but died mysteriously. As with the custom of the day, the Queen committed sati at her husband’s funeral, but promised the devastated Lakhan Thapa that she would see him again. True to her word, a farmer hit a stone while plowing a field. Milk and blood started to flow from the stone, but when Lakhan Thapa started to worship the stone, the blood and milk stopped flowing. And it was on this spot, that the shrine was built.

The name Manakamana is derived from two words, ‘Mana’ meaning heart and ‘kamana’ meaning wish. Devotees believe that by worshipping at the shrine, their heartfelt wish will be granted by the goddess. It is therefore not only visited by tourists, but by believers. Fortunately, the shrine of Manakamana can be reached by cable car, and visitors will be astounded by the sight of the four story pagoda styled temple, the stone and sacrificial pillars and the Bhairay, Manakamana, Kumari, Betal and Ganesh stones.

When traveling through Nepal and its fascinating destinations, ensure that a trip to Manakamana is on the list. It is a beautiful monument and shrine, with magnificent views, majestic landscapes and thought provoking legends. Destinations such as Manakamana are rare opportunities for tourists to experience ancient cultures, and even make a wish or two.