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I am an ardent blogger and a web enthusiast. My blogs include varied topics from the picturesque details of my travelogue to theology and worldly facts. My passions are reading English and Tamil classics, Management Topics, Playing Tennis and taking long walks. I live with my wife in Bangalore. Visit regularly my children in Michigan and Colorado to spend time with them and three grandsons. Please brief your opinions there in when you read my blog :- http://divinenotes.blogspot.com.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Tour of Nepal - April 2017 A Spiritual Yatra to Muktinath ( Day 2 - Part 2 )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                          
 Tour of Nepal - April 2017
A Spiritual Yatra to Muktinath
         ( Day 2 - Part 2 )
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नाहं वसामि वैकुण्ठे न योगिहृदये रवौ
मद्भक्ताः यत्र गायन्ति तत्र तिष्ठामि नारद II
Lord Vishnu says to Narada: “ I neither reside in Vaikuntha nor in the hearts of Yogis. I stand there, where my devotees sing my name with devotion “

Friday 14th April 2017 ( Day 2 - Part 2 )

‘ Blue Coriander ‘ ,  the multi cuisine veg. restaurant attached to ‘ Mirage Lords Inn ‘ where we were staying became busy. Members of our group who were coming into the dining hall greeted each other  saying ‘Hare Krishna’. It was the New Year Day for the Tamils as well as the Malayalis (Vishu). Bangladesh, West Bengal, Tripura, to name a few more,  celebrate their New Year on April 14. It was the first day of Baisakhi. The day coincides with Nepalese New Year day and - A National Holiday for Nepal..

We had heavy breakfast. We started with a platter of freshly cut melons, cane/ watermelon juice. Cereal with milk; bread toast with butter and jam; soft puris with sabzi, vadas, chutney and a dessert Umm Ali, bread pudding in thick milk topped with nuts. ( based on Egyptian recipe) were all delectable. We finished our breakfast with a cup of steaming  coffee. The service in the restaurant was quick and courteous..

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    Discussion after Breakfast                            On our way for Temple visits

8:30am--As instructed by our Guide Sri Madhavananda  Dasa, we boarded the van  for temple visits. We recited ‘ the Narasimha Stotra ‘ after Sri Dasa. The traffic was heavy as  people were travelling towards holiday destinations to spend the weekend. The local people use a mask to cover the nose and mouth as  the dry wind carries soft sand all over.. We went past the Tribhuvan International Airport and a Buddhist Monument. Our destination was ‘ Bhaktapur’, 32 Kms from Kathmandu. We crossed a small bridge over Hanuman River. There was hardly any water and only trash covered the narrow river bed. Even the Bagmati River which is a source of drinking water is polluted,  but now the local volunteers  are taking steps to keep the river clean. We came across many brick kilns and observed a lot of construction activity on the way. .

Bhaktapur as the name denotes is a place for devotees (bhaktas). Our  vehicle had to negotiate a  narrow hilly path with fields on one side and a valley on the other.  Thanks to the driver who did a good job with the steering. We switched off the AC in the van to enjoy the natural air. The route was beautiful surrounded by hills and valleys set in the sub Himalayas offering a panoramic view. We came across many pilgrims on their way to the holy shrines.  A festive atmosphere prevailed all over..
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                                                 Reaching चाँगु नारायण

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.                                                 Taking Notes
10 am -We reached the base of Changu Narayan Temple and gathered around Sri  Dasa to hear  the legend ( from Nepala Mahatmya Chapter - 2 ) connected with this most ancient and popular temple :-                             

In Dwapara Yuga there lived a brahmin by name Sudarshana.. He was a great tapasvi but very short tempered. He had a red Kapila cow which used to  give sweet milk in abundant  quantity. He used the milk, butter and ghee obtained from the cow for performing yagas.. He noticed that the cow was giving very less milk for some time and one day had stopped giving milk all of a sudden. Sudarshana wanted to find out the cause. So along with his cowherd (gwala), he followed the cow which went into the forest of Champaka trees. As the cow reached the top of Dolagiri (hill), it poured the entire milk on to a particular Champaka tree and Sudarshana witnessed  a dark complexioned child coming out of  the tree and drinking  the milk.  Assuming him to be a demon, the brahmin cut off the tree with an axe. Lord Narayana emerged from the tree seated on the Garuda.  Sudarshana realised his mistake and prayed to God  for mercy. Lord Vishnu told him that it was not his fault. The Lord admitted that He  had committed a serious mistake sometime back by killing Sudarshana’s  father while hunting.  After that Lord Vishnu was wandering around mounted on the Garuda and finally reached Dolagiri forest where he hid inside the Champaka tree. He used to come out to drink the milk when the cow came there.  Now Sudarshana had freed Him from the sin by cutting his head. (cutting the Champaka Tree where the Lord was hiding)..

The brahmin requested  Lord Narayana to make that place as his permanent abode. The latter too agreed to reside in Dolagiri as Changu Narayana or Garuda Narayana.                                                                                                       
The priests in this temple are from the lineage of Sudarshana. The gwala’s descendants are the conservators of this temple. The Lord here is very compassionate towards his Bhaktas. By just chanting his name Garuda Narayana and Changu Narayan we can be freed from ‘ Kala Sarpa Dosha ‘  which affects us during some part of our life. Though the place has many poisonous snakes  they become harmless. Chanting the ‘ nama’  Changu or Garuda Narayana repeatedly nullifies the effect of the snake poison..
In Srimad Bhagavatam. Lord Krishna addressed the Serpent Kaliya at the end of kaliya Mardana episode :-
य एतत् संस्मरेन्मर्त्यस्तुभ्यं  मदनुशासनम् I
कीर्तयन्नुभयो: संध्योर्न युष्मद् भयमाप्नुयात् II (S. B. 10.16.61))
“ A person who remembers this episode of my curbing you (kaliya) and glorifies it in hymns in the morning and evening, should have nothing to fear from you, serpents”.

There is a strong belief those who have darshan  of Sri Garuda Narayana on special days like Dwadashi, Purnima and Wednesdays are destined to get emancipation and  go to Vaikuntha..    
After this interesting and absorbing narration by Sri Madhavananda Dasa,  we started climbing the hill to have darshan of Changu Narayana. The ancient temple of Changu Narayan is located on a high hill top known as Changu or Dolagiri in Bhaktapur district. It is the oldest temple in Kathmandu valley built as early as in fourth century by the Licchavi Dynasty. The temple stands as an epitome of culture, religion, history and spells a rich heritage of Nepal’s Kathmandu valley..
There is an entry fee of NC:200 / pp. Though the distance to the temple  was less than a Km the ascent was  steep with uneven steps.
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Colourful Display--- Shops owned by the Newar Community Who have stayed back
after the 2015 Earth Quake.

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We could see many houses, and shops selling beautiful handicrafts ranging from Pashmina shawls, scarves, crochet knitted bags, caps, hand bags, face masks etc; as the  colourful display attracted our attention, we felt  the climb was less tiresome. Once we reached the top we could  see the ravages caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake ‘ the Gorkha Quake’ that rocked these parts on 25th April, 2015. ( Actually we are recording this part of our travel on the same date exactly after 2 years .What a coincidence!!)., As we entered the main gates we started on a parikrama. .

First  we went to the Chinnamasta Shrine which has a low threshold and low ceiling.                                                        A woman priest was inside. Chinnamasta Devi  (as per mythology) cut off her head to offer her blood to the hungry Dakini and Varnini, her assistants..We paid respectful homage to the deity..

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                   Chinnamasta Shrine                                          Idols Inside

There are many stone carvings and small shrines within the temple complex. The main shrine which stands in the centre  has the typical Nepali style architecture.There are four entrances to the main temple with gilded doors guarded by pairs of lions, elephants, sarabhas and griffins. On the main entrance gate facing West, we could see the Shanka, Chakra, lotus and a Kadga on top of a stone pillar..


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Front View Of Changu Narayan Temple    -     Can see the cage like enclosure where the idols of King Bhupatindra Malla and his wife Bhuwan Lakshmi are kept  

Garuda Idol-  There is an idol of  a stone Garuda with human face  in front of  the main deity; Sweets are  offered by devotees to the statue on Nag Panchami day in remembrance of the epic struggle with the Takshaka serpent. The drops of moisture  formed on the idol is collected by the priests  which is believed to be effective against treatment  of skin diseases like leprosy and ulcers..  

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                                                Pranams to the Garuda idol                                                                                        

There is a  sculpture of Garuda Narayana / Changu Narayana -- Vishnu riding on a Garuda.( Supposed to be a swayambu). This is depicted in the 10 rupee note issued by Nepal Rastra Bank.

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           Changu Narayana                              10 Rupee Note depicting Vishnu on Garuda

There are also sculptures of Narasimha, Trivikrama, Jala Narayana, Vishwarupa Vishnu,         
Sridhara  Vishnu- stone sculpture of Vishnu, Lakshmi and  Garuda together, shrine of Kileshwar, Keshava Narayana, Pancha Mukha Narayana and a small shrine with a Shiva Linga and many more found around the main shrine. Some broken idol pieces were  seen lying on the ground.
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        Vishnu with Lakshmi and Garuda                 Idol of Jal Narayana
              
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               Ganesha                                                         Vishwarupa Vishnu
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         Narasimha Avatara                                          Trivikrama IMG_1080 - Copy.JPG    IMG_1094 - Copy.JPG   
                 Sri Lakshmi                                           Shiva Linga

The buildings are still being supported by strong wooden poles as an aftermath of the earthquake. Renovation work is in progress. .We paid our obeisances to the chief deity Changu Narayana and  also prayed for the welfare of the local Newar community..
                      
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                  Changu Narayana Temple supported by wooden poles

We went down the steps to board the van and proceeded for the next destination in                                                 
Bhaktapur  namely ‘The city of Devotees’, situated 1400m  above sea level, also known as Bhadgaon or Khwopa located 8 miles from Kathmandu. The city is rich in ancient arts, sculptures and cultural traditions. We also noticed their masterpiece in architecture in the  palaces. Bhaktapur is famous for its temples, shrines ,pagodas, Buddhist shrines and monasteries, ancient wells, taps etc;. It is  the city of open museum. It was once the capital of Nepal. Bhaktapur is listed in the World Heritage list by the UNESCO. The city is also renowned for Juju Dhau (King sweet curd) and beautiful pottery. The complex known mainly as Bhaktapur Durbar Square consists of (1) Durbar Square, (2)Taumadhi Square, (3) Dattatreya Square and (4) Pottery Square.

Bhaktapur is also known as the Tila Madhava Kshetra. Markandeya Maharishi describes (Nepala Mahatmya- 7th Chapter) the manifestation of Tila Madhava on the banks of Bagmati river..There lived a wandering business man by name Dharmadatta.. He was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu.. He travelled from one village to another selling his wares.. On a  Makara Sankranti day, he carried a huge stock of sesame (til) seeds  to this place and began his sale.  Instead of calling out ‘til’ he was  calling out the name of Madhava. (Just like the Gopis in Vrindavan used to sell milk and curds by calling out  the names Kesava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda ...). Lord Vishnu was extremely pleased with his devotion and appeared as Madhava from the heap of sesame seeds..Dharmadatta was totally astonished and offered his prayers to the Lord.. The people around observed the entrance of Dharmadatta into the transcendental form of Sri Maha Vishnu.. They started  shouting ‘Jai,’ ‘Jai’ in great admiration.. Since the Lord appeared in ‘Tila Rashi’,  He established Himself as Tila Madhava Narayana here. Offerings to him in the form of ‘patram, phalam, pushpam and toyam (water) increase many fold in quantity.

पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति |
तदहं भक्त्युपहृतमश्नामि प्रयतात्मन: || B.G. 9.26||



Lord Krishna says in Bhagavat Gita : “ If one offers me with love and devotion ( a heart that is pure ), a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it “.
                                              
The Deity is also pleased with the abhishekam performed with cow’s milk.  Tila Madhava ensures a place in Vaikuntha to those devotees who surrender to Him with implicit faith..

Valmiki Rishi Ashram is located 1.5 Kms from this place on the banks of Tamasa River. Lord Brahma ordered Valmiki to compose Ramayana Maha Kavya (Epic) on the confluence of the rivers  Veerabhadra and Tamasa. Hanumanji also stopped ( on his way while he was carrying the Sanjeevani Parvat) at Hanuman Tirtha which later became ‘Hanuman Nadhi or River.’
We had to climb up a few steps to reach the Bhaktapur Temple complex.  There is a ramp for two wheelers to go up. The entry ticket is NC 500 / pp..

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  Indrayani Mata Shrine on the way                              in the steps to  Bhaktapur
                                        
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                                         Entering The Durbar Square       

After listening to the Kshetra Mahima and legend of Tila Madhava we entered what is known as the famous “Durbar Square”. It is similar to the Kathmandu Durbar Square.. The Durbar Square  which is very spacious houses the Royal Palace with an artistic Golden Gate and 55 windows . We crossed the National Art Gallery and saw a number of shrines of different designs. The temples are closed  by 11:30 am itself. We noticed  a big gathering of people in the complex, since it was a holiday. The area was bustling with commercial activity.. Festive mood was in the air. We noticed many buildings supported with long wooden poles in sequel to the 2015 earthquake.  Renovation work was going on.

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             Gopinath Temple                                                       Durbar Square

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           National Art Gallery                       Golden Gate in front of the Royal Palace
                                                
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Durbar Square  with the Mini Pashupatinath temple, King Bhupatindra Malla sitting on a tall pillar, the Big Bell and Bhairavanath Temple seen above.
 
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                                                Way to Taumadhi Square
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            Nyatapola- 5story Building (Siddhi Lakshmi Temple )     IMG_1119 - Copy.JPG   IMG_1122 - Copy.JPG
   Open Well on the way to Dattatreya Square               Victory Pillar
 
The structures which attracted our attention were :
1. The Palace of 55 windows, a unique master piece of wood carving, said to be the oldest monument in Nepal..
2.- The Nyatapola Temple- A 5-story pagoda style temple  in Taumadhi Square built by King Bhupatindra Malla. Itis also called the Siddhi Lakshmi Temple, the Goddess of ‘Prosperity’. The temple was closed. It is a beautiful structure with plenty of art works.. There are  pairs of images in each step each one is said to be more powerful than the one below. This is the tallest  Pagoda style tower in Nepal..
3.- Rameshwar Temple-- the first temple we noticed as we entered the complex on our right side. It is an open shrine with four pillars dedicated to Lord Shiva..
4.--Gopinath Temple--A Pagoda style Temple close to Rameshwar temple that houses the three deities Balram, Krishna and Subhadra..
5.-- Badrinath Temple --adjacent to Gopinath Temple.
6.-- Kedarnath Temple--which is undergoing renovation after the earthquake.
7.--National Art Gallery--The entrance is guarded by Hanuman Ji with four hands.
8.--Vatsala Devi Temple which was totally damaged due to the earthquake, now undergoing renovation. It was more famous for its bronze bell, known to the local residents as the ‘ bell of barking dogs ’ as when it is rung the dogs in this area bark and howl.The bell is intact now.  
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                                     Vatsala Devi Temple under renovation

There is also a Big Bell which is rung in the morning and in the evening at the time of puja in the  Taleju Bhawani Temple. The bell was used for announcing the curfew hours during the Kings’ rule..
9.- The  magnificent statue of Bhupatindra Malla on top of a pole facing the palace.
10.- Bhairava Nath Temple--dedicated to most fierceful aspect of Lord Shiva..
11.-Golden Gate - in front of the 55 window palace which is very beautiful, artistic and richly moulded with intricate carvings.There are figures of Kali and Garuda and heavenly nymphs. There are also figures of monsters and Hindu mythical creatures.
12.- Mini Pashupatinath Temple- in front of the Palace..

In !934 there was a massive earthquake which affected the Bihar- Nepal belt.  At that time the Durbar Square suffered a major damage and many of the structures were never renovated. Hence the Durbar Square looks very spacious ( because of the open space ).

After watching  all these beautiful shrines and structures, we walked through the busy and vibrant  market  area. The narrow street is flanked by shops on either side selling  papier-mache face masks, paubha scroll paintings, wood carvings, metal work jewellery, black caps, ceramic products.  pashmina shawls, tote bags, paintings and hand woven carpets. We had to walk close to each other for there were chances of straying from the group and missing our way.

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                          Narrow street  flanked by shops on either side
    
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We visited a few more shrines.
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Stone Pillar with the engravings of -                      Madhava Narayana    
  • Tortoise, Fish and Boar at the bottom.


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      Durga slaying the Demon                    Tila Madhava Narayana Shrine (closed)

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             Narasimha with Lakshmi                                        Ganesa Shrine
The Tila Madhava Narayana shrine was closed. Sri Dasa tried to contact the priest but only to find out that the priest had shifted his residence after the earthquake. So we had darshan of the Lord only through the gaps in the shrine door.  In Narasimha shrine we climbed up a few narrow steps and prayed to the Lord. We could see the outer narrow prakaram was used as a storage place for their agricultural products. There were sacks of potato, onion, arvi, turmeric and other vegetables.


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   Durbar square  Vegetable Market                               Roadside Restaurant


There was an open air wholesale market (santhe) where people were busy buying clothes and other items of their choice. We witnessed hectic activity all over. Luckily we all met at one common point on our return path and walked down the steps together towards the van..

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                                           Art Gallery - Display on the Wall

Inspite of the holiday crowd engaged in buying and selling, Bhaktapur Durbar Square presented a neat and tidy appearance.. The pllace has the look of a cinema set with crowded streets, people dressed in  colourful  attire moving about leisurely, commerciall activities, shops selling artwares, and exotic buildings and structures..                                       

We came to know  that many Bollywood and Hollywood movies were shot at Kathmandu and Bhaktapur Durbar square.( Those who have not visited Nepal can capture scenes shot at these locations from the following list)..

Bollywood  Movies filmed in Nepal:-

  1. Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1992) - starring Dev anand, Zeenat Aman
  2. Mahaan (1983) - Amitabh Bachchan in  triple role
  3. Yudh (1985) - Anil Kapoor, Hemamalini, Jackie Shroff and Danny Denzongpa
  4. Khuda Gawah (1992) - Amitabh, Sridevi, Davi, Danny
  5. Beqabu (1995) - Sanjay Kapoor, Mamta Kulkarni..
  6. Gharwali Baharwali (1998) - Anil Kapoor, Raveena Tandon
  7. Love in NEPAL (2014) - (Pokhara) - Indian Singer Nigam and Nepali Actress Jharana Bajracharya
  8. Ek Haseena Ek Deewana (2013) - Govinda , Priyanka Chopra
  9. Baby  - Akshay Kumar, Danny, A.Kheer - Film shot in Bhaktapur Durbar Square,, Thamel Street,, Hyatt Hotel in Baudha..


Hollywood Movies filmed in Nepal :-
    
  1. The Golden Child (1986))
  2. Baraka (1992) - A documentary
  3. Little Buddha (1993))
  4. Seven Years in Tibet
  5. The Fall (2006))
  6. Returned - Child Scholar of Nepal’s Maoist army (2008))
  7. The wildest dream (2010) - featuring conquest of EVEREST
  8. Beyond the Edge - 3D Docu Drama featuring first ascent of Mt.EVEREST-
          - by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay..
    (9) Everest (2014))


2:00pm -We crossed the Supreme Court of Nepal, King’s Palace  on our way to have lunch at  Aniyor Restaurant in Kathmandu Durbar area in Thamel. Thamel is the main shopping centre of Kathmandu. We could only  view the shops from the moving van. We had lunch at Aniyor Veg. Restaurant run by ISKCON devotees. Nepali veg. menu consists of mainly ‘dal, rice and vegetables .There is a mention about ‘Aniyor’ in Govardhana Giri Puja. Though we did not get the word in Srimad Bhagavatam, Padma Purana, Brahma Khanda Chapter 23                             
mentions this word. Lord Krishna while accepting all the bhog offered by the people of Vrindavan  asked ’Aniyor’ (‘bring me more’). Aniyor was a village closer to Brindavan and people brought more offering in the form of food from that place. The word Aniyor is connected with food.
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                                aniyor  is  stated in the card of the restaurant.

Apt name indeed for a restaurant run by Krishna devotees.
We ate our lunch in the open courtyard after praying to Govinda. There were hot rotis smeared with ghee, rice, dal, potato cauliflower sabzi, salad, papad, pickles and curds (sweet). Throughout Nepal they serve only sweet curds. We thanked the restaurant people for the tasty Mahaprasad which they served with devotion.

Our next destination was  Budhanilkantha Temple (Old Blue Throat)  a Hindu open air temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is situated below the Shivapuri Hill at the northern end of Kathmandu valley. We crossed many landmarks on the way,-- Narayan Gopal Chowk from where the ISKCON Rath Yatra started that morning on the way to the main Temple,the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Embassies of the US, Australia, Japan and S.Korea and a big Heart Hospital. After an hour we reached Budhanilkantha (the name has no connection to Lord Buddha).

The Legend about Jal Narayana-
The chief deity of this place is Lord Vishnu who is in a reclining posture lying in the middle of a pool of water. The Deity is known by the name Jal Narayana.
Lord Krishna lived in Dwaraka in Dwapara Yuga 5000 years ago. At that time Nepal was ruled by  King Suryaketu who had a beautiful daughter by name Chandravati. There was a powerful demon Mahendra Damana, ( son of Banasura and grandson of King Bali) who had defeated Indra. Banasura was killed by Lord Krishna. Mahendra  Damana came from Mrigendra Shikara  (Lord Narasimha assumed the form of this hill after killing Hiranyakashipu) and occupied the beautiful valley of Sleshmantaka Vana. He drove away all the sages and started ruling from this place. He had a beautiful sister by name Prabhavati. She prayed to Vatsala Devi (Guhyeshwari) wife of Pashupati Nath who blessed her saying that Pradyumna, Lord Krishna’s son was the  most suitable husband for her. So Prabhavati set her mind to marry Pradyumna. Once sage Narada came here and she sent a letter through him to Pradyumna.  The latter came to Nepal and entered a cave and married Prabhavati  by Gandharva Vivaha. Mahendra Damana was enraged to learn  that his  sister had a male visitor and he fought with Pradyumna..

Narada at once went to Dwaraka and informed Sri Krishna about the fierce battle between Pradyumna and Mahendra Damana..Krishna came to his rescue with the entire Yadava army . Mahendra Damana had two brothers Kachapura and Sankasura. Pradyumna killed Mahendra Damana and Sri Krishna lifted the Dola Giri in one hand and Mrigendra Shikara in the other and vanquished the entire army of demons. After the battle Lord Krishna stayed there for a night.. He sent a message to Suryaketu through sage Narada that he would visit him the next day.. On hearing this Suryaketu did not want to wait till the next day  but he desired to have darshan of the Lord immediately.. He wanted to establish an idol of Sri Krishna as he could not be pacified without the Lord’s darshan. Narada blessed him to have his wish and told him that Sri Krishna would come to meet him along with Pradyumna in the morning.. Suryaketu established an idol of Lord Vishnu in Ananta Sayana posture in water and offered eight prayers.

Next day Lord Krishna came to visit Suryaketu along with Pradyumna. Suryaketu offered his daughter Chandravati to Pradyumna in marriage. Darshan of Lord Vishnu in Ananta Sayana posture leads one to Vaikuntha. We were fortunate to have darshan of Changu Narayana ,Tila Madhava and Jala Narayana all in one day.  

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Sri Dasa narrating the Legend of Jala Narayana     Shivpuri Hills at the Background
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                                     Way to Jala Narayana Temple
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                                                  Idol of Jala Narayana
After listening to the narration from Nepala Mahatmya (Chapters 13-18) we entered the temple premises to have darshan of Jala Narayana. The idol looked like the replica from Kshira Sagara.. The festival crowd became less by the time we entered the shrine.

.The idol  of Lord Vishnu in black basalt is 17 feet in length lying in a 43 feet long water tank with the legs crossed. The Lord is shown lying down on a thousand hooded Anant Nag or Adi Sesha. His four hands hold the four symbols, conch-shell, chakra, the lotus and the mace.  Hindus are allowed to go near the feet and have a close darshan.  (No direct photography is allowed).
According to one story, a farmer and his wife once struck a figure while plowing the field, which caused it to soak the ground with blood. This turned out to be the idol of Budhanilkantha, which was recovered and placed in its present position..
Another legend states that the statue was sculpted and brought to its current location in Kathmandu during the reign of the seventh-century monarch Vishnu Gupta who controlled the valley..
The king of Nepal Is not allowed to visit this temple at Budhanilkantha. It is believed if the king sees this deity he will die immediately. We visited the Lakshmi shrine within the premises. Then we left for the ISKCON temple close by and had darshan of the deities there.
A grand celebration was going on there on account of New Year Day. We donated some money for the Goshala and returned to Mirage Lords Inn by 6pm..

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                                       Darshan @  ISKCON Temple

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     Celebrating New Year Day                                      @  Goshala Counter

We refreshed quickly and  left for Pashupatinath Temple for the second time.. It took nearly 40 minutes to walk through the crowded path.
                                
We had a good arati darshan at Bagmati river and also  managed to have arati darshan of Lord Pashupatinath. The temple was very crowded compared to the previous evening. The shops were closed on account of the New Year festival.  We bought a few colourful strings of crystals and beads from a couple of shops  that were open. The roads were deserted when we returned to our hotel. We had dinner in the Blue Coriander restaurant - Cream soup, tokri rotis, paneer sabzi, mixed veg sabzi and hot milk.
We started packing since we had to leave Kathmandu the next day and travel towards Pokhara. The day was very successful as we had wonderful darshan at the famous and ancient temples in the close region of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. We felt a sense of fulfillment inward.
There was a thunder shower suddenly. With prayers for a good weather the next day we retired  for the day.
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya, Om namo Narayanaya !

Natarajans.

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