Monday, July 13, 2009

BajraYogini Pride of Sankhu

Monday, July 13, 2009
The oldest and most historic location in the Kathmandu Valley

Sankhu is a very old Newar city and lies 23 km from Kathmandu. It derives its name from Sankhapura, which means Conch City. It lies on the famous route to Tibet. The traders used this route from 7th to 9th centuries AD. This legendary city is worth a visit, because of its old houses, beautiful wood- carved temples and old stone water taps. The famous temple of Goddess Ugratara Bajrayogini is situated at a 45 minute walking distance from here.

The Goddess Bajrayogini is the Hindu – Buddhist parallel manifestation of Goddess Kali. The temple complex is supposed to be as old as Changunarayan (467 AD). It is mentioned in Gopal Vamsabali, a research manuscript, which states Manadev, performed penance at this place. The present three- tier structure or the temple is the contribution of King Pratap Malla.

It is believed that Shankharapur was established in 1801, although many have argued that its founding date was in 1299. But no matter which date is completely accurate, it still remains the oldest and most historic location in the Kathmandu Valley. The legend related to the history of the town tells of a kingdom that was created and how the Tantric goddess Bajrajogini was significant in the establishment of Sankhu. Her shrine is hidden in the dense forests surrounding the town and it is a place of pilgrimage for many Hindus and Buddhists.

The annual Sankhu festival is also held in her honor. Her shrine consists of beautiful statues, stupas and a few other shrines. The main structure at the shrine was constructed in the year 1655 by the then King, Prakas Malla. It is the most historic and oldest shrine that is located in this area. The goddess of wisdom is honored at the Sankhu Bajra Jogini and Hindus make their way to this shrine to offer blood sacrifices to the goddess. Buddhists have their own tantras here to make their own offerings. The caves that are located near the temple of Bajrajogini should also be explored, as it is said that in the cave that has two rooms the priest pays penance here for his love for her.

The Changunarayan Temple and the Salinadi River (a holy river in the Hindu religion) are two other very important and breathtaking sights. The lush green forests that surround Sankhu are worth looking into, as they are peaceful and magical, with many creatures and birds that make the forest their home. This charming destination in Nepal has a wonderful mixture of culture, tradition, history and spectacular beauty to share with visitors. It is guaranteed to be a rewarding experience and is a recommended town to visit when in Nepal


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