Changu Narayan temple; the oldest temple of Nepal

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Bhaktapur, commonly known as the “city of worshippers,” is also known as the “city of temples.” Among those various numbers of temples, Changunarayan Temple, without a doubt, is an epic specimen of art and architecture from the Lichhavi time period. It is also titled the oldest temple in Nepal.

Changu Narayan temple

Changu Narayan temple

This two-story Vishnu temple is claimed to be built in neither pagoda nor shikhara style. However, it is in the pagoda style. This traditional Nepali-styled temple preserves the history of the lichhavi dynasty to the present day.

In addition, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, along with the Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

This famous shrine is located at the peak of Bhaktapur, a northern hill station. In terms of distance, it is around 7 miles from Kathmandu. The inscriptions and sculptures discovered in this temple are considered to be the oldest, dating back to 464 C.E. Thus, it is assumed to be established by King Manadeva, one of the greatest monarchs of the lichhavi kingdom.

The temple’s structure includes four doorways, one facing each direction. All of the entrances are guarded by a pair of lions, sarabhas, gryphons, and elephants on either side.

Stone images of elephant at Changu Narayan temple

Stone images of elephant at Changu Narayan temple

The temple’s main entrance (western gate) is an exquisite wedge adorned with serpent decorations. Not only the gates but also the struts are covered in intricate wood carvings. The carvings of Lord Vishnu’s eleven avatars and other deities are purely a visual diversion.

An image of Narsimha at the struts of Changu Narayan temple

An image of Narsimha at the struts of Changu Narayan temple

Within the premises of Changu Narayan Temple

The Changu Narayan Temple itself comes into the premises of Changu Narayan Temple, at most prime. Then comes the Chinna Masta Temple, which has the sacred deity, Chinna Masta in it. Similarly, in the same row of Chinna Masta Temple, there is another beautiful but tiny one, the Kileshwor Mahadev temple.

Chinna Masta Temple

Chinna Masta Temple

It is small though but has the most beautiful engraved struts.

Kileshwor temple of Changu

Kileshwor temple of Changu

With these magnificent beauties, it has a lot of stone images of Lord Vishnu. And, foremost almost all of them were carved in the 6th or 7th centuries. Where they all depict a different story and incarnations of Lord Vishnu.


Narshima-Changu Narayan Temple

The statue of Vishnu Vikrant, Narshima, Vaikuntha Vishnu, and Vishworup. Plus, Shridhar Vishnu, Garuda Narayan, or Chanda Narayan, Statue of King Bhupalendra Malla and Queen Bhuvan Laxmi. These statues are simply gratifying the space of Changu.

According to the evidence, King Bhupatindra Malla was also involved in the renovation of the Changu Narayan temple.

Nonetheless, it has practically all of Lord Vishnu’s faces on its premises. And, yes, there is a rest stop on the corner.


The temple of Changu Narayan was made in 464 C.E.

The temple of Changu Narayan is located at Changu, the northern hill station of Bhaktapur, at an altitude of 1600m.

You can catch a local bus from Ratna Park or from Bagbazaar if you are staying at Thamel, which directly goes to Bhaktapur and Changunarayan too. But you need to walk a little bit to reach the premises of Changu Narayan Temple.

The entrance fee to enter the Changu Narayan temple varies as per nationality. It costs, Rs.350 for Non-SAARC nationality and Chinese citizens, Rs.250 for SAARC nationals and free for the Nepalese.

As per the evaluated evidence and found inscriptions, it was built in 464 C.E. which apparently made it the oldest temple of Nepal.

Yes, there are restaurants and cafes on-site, convenient for all kinds of visitors.

Yes, it is. Even a single woman could travel here alone.

No, not exactly. You can make your tickets available for one more day at the time you buy them if you are gonna stay at Bhaktapur Nagar. Otherwise, you don’t have to worry about extra ticket expenses.

Yes, it is.  Changu Narayan is counted among the four major Narayan temples of the Kathmandu Valley. And, many events and occasions took place over here, especially in Ekadashis.

Unless you are a Hindu, you could not enter the Changu Narayan temple.

Yes, you can take photographs of the temple but you are not allowed to take pictures of the deity that resides inside the temple.


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  • Changu Narayan Temple courtyard, Changu Narayan Municipality, Bhaktapur District, Nepal.

  • 27.716357, 85.427949
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  • Changu Narayan is the oldest temple of Nepal.

  • It dates backs to 464 C.E.

  • It was enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1979 A.D.

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