Category Archives: Travel

Revisiting the Childhood Crush

Temples in Kathmandu impress me more with their sheer size than intricate craftworks.

But no other temples appealed me more than the famous Changu Narayan did.

I first knew about Changu Narayan when I was 9. There was a brief description with a picture of this oldest temple in Nepal on the history book of grade 4. Actually the lesson was about Manadev, a Lichchavi king and Changu Narayan was built by him along with Managriha, a castle. I was quickly in love with the temple then. But over time, the childhood image of it slowly ebbed away as I grew older. I never visited the temple.

Time went on. Sometimes it seemed whether I’d completely forgotten this world heritage site. But, in fact, the childhood memories of it had only left dormant. And recently it became prominent again.

Only a few months ago, I managed some time out of my schedule to pay a visit to this shrine.

Driving through (and also walking) the golden, harvest-ready wheat fields and the greenery of vegetables from Byasi, Bhaktapur to the small hilltop of Changu was quite an indelible experience.

You know I was apparently holding my breath to have a glimpse of this temple that once had fascinated then 9-year old child so much.

And I was like ‘oh my god!’ as I for the very first time saw the spire and the top of temple from the bus stand at Changu. The picture goes like this:

Chagru_Narayan

I’d now finally arrived to the place of my childhood crush. And the rest is history…

That is, I spent the whole day gazing at the magnificent temple and the wide assortment of bas-reliefs from our glorious past.

PS one of the many sculpted reliefs of Lord Vishnu (with his vehicle Garuda) at the premise of Changu Narayan has long decorated the front face of 10 Rupees bill.

Why Nyatapola isn’t the Best Temple in Nepal

Why I love going to Kathmandu? Yes, She’s from Kathmandu. But she’s not the only one that so much appeals me to visit Kathmandu. Ancient ornate temples and  monuments are also there dwelling the valley!

Nyatapola, the five storied temple in ancient city of Bhaktapur of deity Siddhi Laxmi from the Malla period, is  often regarded the most magnificent and beautiful temple in Nepal. Bhaktapur Municipality has its logo made entirely of silhouetted Nyatapola. Most profoundly, this five tiered temple graces the front of 100 rupees bill, the most used bill. Besides these, Nyatapola has been depicted/honoured in many other occasions and places.

But I didn’t find it as much appealing as it had been depicted, well at least in the case of its massive five-tiered base. It quickly dawns on anyone that gazes at the temple that there’s a stark discord between red-brick tiers and stone stairs that lead to the door and stone gatekeepers (of five different types). How beautiful Nyatapola would have looked if the tiers had also been made of stones same as gatekeepers and stairs!

Nyatapola temple, Taumadhi square, Bhaktapur

(Picture taken by myself during my visit to Bhaktapur, Taumadhi Square approx. a year back)

The base tiers should also have been made from stone so there would be a matching, homogeneous display of marvelous architecture from our glorious past even after the renovation. The red-brick tiers have been a sacrilege not only to those centuries-old massive, original stone sculptures (guardians) but to the whole temple too. Those base tiers were renovated during King Mahendra’s reign, the plaques attached to one of the walls of the tiers tell.

Those red-brick tiers have totally defiled the originality and beauty of Nyatapola. Either replace those stone guardians with red bricked ones or reconstruct the tiers with stones. Nyatapola’s one of the main attractions along with its skyscraping height, massive base, balance and symmetry is the massive stone gatekeepers that stand on either sides of the stairs up to the door. Remove those guardians (they are, in ascending order from the ground: famous wrestlers from Malla period, elephants, lions, griffins and female deities) and Nyatapola will look like a king without a crown.

So, the red-brick tires of Nyatapola should be reconstructed with stone blocks so it could match to those rough, sturdy stone guardians and further the beauty of the most magnificent temple in Nepal.

The Most Envied Place

Heard, Chhimkeshwori Mahotsav is being held for 3 days, from today. Subash Dai provided me some information. I still wonder how such Mahotsav could be organized at such remote place. Anyway, I love that place and always wish to be there. But this time, damn we missed the Mahotsav. Tomorrow is Fagu Purnima i.e. Holi, the possible influx of people on the eve of the Holi to the Chhimkeshwori Mountain will help make the Mahotsav more enjoyable and crowdy….. Fagu Purnima and New Year are the days, when lots of people visit the temple, located on the hilltop of Chimkeshwori although It sees a good number of people visiting the site throughout the season of ‘’Laligurans’’ i.e. Rhododenron, from beginning of Fagun to mid Baisakh.

The place is really beautiful and also equally scenic. Chilling cliffs, hugeness of the mountain, scenic beauty seen from the hilltop, abundance of Laligurans forest, beautiful country scenes around have made the mountainous site a  place worth to visit. I still miss the village ‘’Bhaange‘’ and ‘’Labdi‘’. Last time we visited the place was on 1st of Baisakh, 2065 i.e. New Year day.

Now, I’m really missing that beautiful place. But I hope, we could soon make a visit there. Let’s see.

(Written on March 9, 2009)