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10 Most Popular Hindu Temples of Nepal You should visit

Once a Hindu kingdom, Nepal has a cultural diversity related to Hindu religion. There are many temples being one in every locality. In fact, Kathmandu, the capital city of the country is also popularly known as a city of temples. Temples in Nepal is well crafted with different arts and unique in its own kind. Here is the list of 10 Popular Hindu temples of Nepal that are also the most revered temples.

1. Pashupatinath Temple 

There needs no introduction to this temple for any Hindu as it is a highly revered temple of Lord Shiva. Jyotirlinga at Pashupatinath Temple is regarded as the head over the 12 jyotirlingas i.e. the body of Lord Shiva. It is also the national deity of the country and the complex is on UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ list Since 1979. The temple is one of the 275 The Paadal Petra Sthalams (Holy Abodes of Shiva) on the continent.

Pashupatinath - One of the Most popular Hindu Temples in Nepal
Image Credit – Prakash Yadav /Flickr

This Temple stands at the bank of Bagmati river in the land area of 264 hectares and encompasses other 518 temples and monuments. According to the legend, the jotirlinga was found dug inside the bank if Bagmati river by a herdsman when he was astonished to find one of his cows showering milk at the place.

2. Muktinath Temple

Muktinath temple is located at the base of Khatang Kang(Thorang Peak) in Baraha Gaun in the district of Mustang in the north central part of Nepal, and it is about 20 km’s northeast of Jomsom at an altitude of about 3800 meters from the sea level. “Mukti” literally means moksha or liberation or salvation. This temple has importance for both Hindus and Buddhists.

Muktinath Temple - One of the Most popular Hindu Temples in Nepal
Photo by Umesh Paudel on 500px.com

The small temple contains a human-sized golden statue of Sri Vishnu Bhagwan as Sri Mukti Narayana. In addition to Mukti Narayana, the temple has bronze images of Bhoodevi (the Earth-goddess form of Lakshmi), the Goddesses Saraswati and Janaki (Sita), Garuda (the mount of Vishnu), Lava-Kusa (the sons of Rama and Sita) and the Sapta Rishis (Seven Sages created by Lord Brahma).

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3. Budhanilkantha Temple

Budhanilkantha Temple is situated in the northeast of the Kathmandu Valley at the bottom of Shivapuri hill. The shrine of Budhanilkantha depicts Lord Vishnu in reclining position floating in the water. It is carved with the single stone with Vishnu sleeping with crossed legs on Shesha Naga. Shesha Naga is the servant of Lord Vishnu and king of serpent deities.

Budhanilkantha Temple - Muktinath Temple - One of the Most popular Hindu Temples in Nepal
Budhanilkantha – Sleeping Vishnu, Image credit – Wikimedia.org

According to the legend, a farmer and his wife struck on a figure while plowing the field and stream of blood began to flow. This turned out to be the figure of lost Budhanilkanta and placed in the present position.

4. Varaha Temple in Varaha Kshetra Temple

The Varaha Temple is located in the eastern Nepal 20 km from Dharan at the convergence of Sapta Koshi and Koka rivers. It is one of the four greatest Hindu pilgrimage sites of Nepal. It consists of 5th-century sculptures and in front of it, there is a stone to test how free you are from sins. Anyone who can lift up the stone is considered sins-free. Apart from the main shrine, there are numerous other statues in the form of boar dedicated to Varaha, Lord Vishnu’s 3rd avatar.

Varaha Kshetra Temple - Muktinath Temple - One of the Most popular Hindu Temples in Nepal

It is believed that Lord Vishnu in Varaha Avatar, Killed Hiranyakashipu in the same spot, where the Varaha Kshetra Temple is built.

5. Manakamana Temple

Manakamana Temple of Nepal
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Manakamana Temple is situated in Gorkha district of Nepal and is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. By the description of the name Mana (meaning heart) and Kamana (meaning wishes), it is believed that all wishes will come true if you worship the temple by your heart selflessly. The temple is in square shape under a massive magnolia tree. It is four storied pagoda style temple with the entrance marked by one stone that is the sacrificial pillar.

6. Dakshinkali Temple

Dakshinkali Temple is located in the outer line of Pharping Village and is 22 km away (southwest) from the Kathmandu city. It is one of the main revered temple dedicated to Goddess Kali. Animal sacrifices like cockerels and uncastrated male goats are common here as a worship usually done during the festivals.

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Dakshinkali Temple of Nepal
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According to beliefs in Nepal, Goddess Kali herself appeared in the dream of a Malla King in the 14th century and asked a person to build a temple there. The person also had a dream with images of stone like that of Goddess Kali at the same place. So the person built the temple as commanded by the image with the shrine erected with four golden serpents and the stone carvings of Ganesha, Asthamatrikas, and Bhairava nearby.

7. Changu Narayan Temple

Changu Narayan Temple is located in Bhaktapur district of Nepal. It is said to be the oldest running temple in Nepal. It has many carvings of Tantrik deities surrounded by stone made lions, elephants and ram-horned griffons. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is built in two-tiered pagoda style.

Changu Narayana temple of Nepal
Image Credit – Ivar Shrestha

According to the legend, this is the place where Lord Vishnu resided as tree after getting the curse from killing Sudarshan’s son mistakenly. The curse went off after a cow herder and Brahmin cut off the tree when seeing one of their cow’s milk was stolen by a dark boy and hid on the tree. When cutting the tree, red blood came out and thinking they did a crime became nervous and afraid. Lord Vishnu appeared and thanked them from removing him from the curse and explained everything. The Temple was built in the very place which is now known as Changu Narayan Temple.

8. Dantakali Temple

Dantakali Temple is located at Dharan, Southeast of Nepal. Danta means tooth in the Sanskrit language. After the death of Satidevi and Lord Shiva roamed around different places, one tooth of Satidevi is believed to be fallen down at this place where the temple stands today.

 Dantakali Temple
Photo by Kiran Kafle on 500px.com

The place is beautiful with the green hills all around. The sight of the Dharan Bazaar from the top is mystifying. The temple holds great religious significance for the Hindus and it is one the must-visit temples during the Dashain festival.

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9. Bajrayogini Temple

Bajrayogini Temple
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Bajrayogini is one of the 10 wisdom goddesses. Bajrayogini Temple is situated in Sankhu, Bhaktapur. It is regarded as a Tantrik temple. The main temple is a three-story high building, which was obviously carefully constructed with the utmost attention to details. There is a statue of the goddess Bajrayogini in this temple which features a red face with three eyes as well as hands, which have the thumb and middle finger carefully, decorated. Ornaments surround her statue.

10. Bangalamukhi Temple

Bangalamukhi Temple
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Bangalamukhi is one of the ten forms of wisdom goddesses, symbolizing the potent female primeval force. Temple of Bangalamukhi is located in the south of Kubheshwar Temple area. Since Bangalamukhi is worshiped to overcome their weaknesses like turning defeats into victories, failures into achievements, devotees especially unmarried people worship this temple to find the desired spouse and married people worship for good children. The temple is more popular among youths in Nepal.