Budhanilkantha Temple - Narayanthan Temple Dedicated To Lord Vishnu
The Narayanthan Temple, widely known as the Budhanilkantha Temple, is a temple located on the base of the Shivapuri Hills with a large statue of Lord Vishnu lying over the snakes.
Budhanilkantha Temple, also known as the Narayanthan Temple is located in Budhanilkantha of Kathmandu city. It is an open-air temple, meaning that the main shrine isn’t built within a confined space inside a temple. Dedicated to Lord Mahavishnu, this Hindu temple’s main statue represents Lord Vishnu. The statue is in a laid down position in the middle of the pool of water.
This main statue is made of a single block of black basalt and is 5 meters tall in the recessed pool of water which is 13 meters long. It is considered to be Lord Vishnu’s largest stone carving in Nepal.
Take a public bus from Ratna Park Bus Stop to reach Budhanilkantha. It is just 10 km away and at the quickest, it takes about an hour to reach there. Then it is only a few minutes of a walk straight ahead to see Budhanilkantha Temple. With a car, the route might take half the time.
One shouldn’t miss out on hiking to Shivapuri after reaching Budhanilkantha. Pass the entrance gate of Shivapuri National Park which might take about a half-hour. From there, there are multiple places to visit and multiple activities to do. Hiking to Tare Bhir, or up the Shivapuri Hill is also a well-known escape for many.
Best Time to Visit Budhanilkantha Temple
The best time to visit Budhanilkantha Temple (Narayanthan Temple) is in Haribodhani Ekadashi, which falls on the 11th day of Kartik. It would be from October to November, so one can expect Budhanilkantha Temple to be full of Hindu pilgrims. Other than that, this temple is visited all year round as a celebration of Lord Vishnu’s awakening from his 4 months long sleep.
It is believed that King Vishnugupta, a king of the Kathmandu Valley built the sculpture of Lord Vishnu in the 6th century CE. Ever since the temple has become a dedication to Lord Vishnu which is filled with devotees all year round.
Myths about Budhanilkantha Temple
There are some myths surrounding the Budhanilkantha Temple. It revolves around how Lord Vishnu’s shrine was built or found, or how Lord Vishnu’s name came to resemble ‘Old Blue Throat’. Or where the water surrounding Lord Vishnu’s shrine comes from.
Budhanilkantha Temple’s water from Gosaikunda lake
It is believed that the water surrounding Lord Vishnu’s statue in Budhanilkantha Temple originates from Gosaikunda Lake. As the myth goes, when Lord Shiva drank the poison from a churning ocean to save the universe, he had struck his trident (Trishul) on a mountain to drink some water. It ended up creating a lake which is Gosaikunda Lake.
Lord Vishnu’s name also represents ‘old blue throat’. Some people believe this to be true because of him drinking the poison that turned his throat blue. And some believe that after he drank Gosaikunda’s water, the only effect left from drinking the poison was a blue patch on his throat.
Lord Vishnu’s shrine found under a farm field
It is also believed that there was a farmer and his wife whose plow hit this statue of Lord Vishnu that is in Budhanilkantha today. That hit caused bleeding from the ground immediately. They dug further and found the statue.
Lord Vishnu’s shrine was later brought to the temple area
That shrine was later taken out of that field and brought to Budhanilkantha Temple. This was done under the order of King Vishnugupta, a 6th century Lichhavi period king who worked under the Bheemarjuna Dev.