Bhaktapur with subtitles like, “city of devotees” is also pledged as the city of temples. Among which, Changunarayan is crowned as the oldest temple in Nepal. That undoubtedly is an epic example of then’s art and architecture.
It is said that this two-storeyed Vishnu temple is neither built in pagoda style nor shikhara style. But it is of pagoda style. This traditional Nepali styled temple is beholding the history of the lichavi kingdom till today.
Besides, it was also enlisted in the UNESCO world heritage site in 1979 A.D. Along with the Bhaktapur durbar square.
This sacred temple lies on the top of the northern hill station of Bhaktapur. Numerically about 7 miles away from Kathmandu. The inscriptions and sculptures found in this temple are said to be the oldest one. With the erecting date of 464 C.E. which was commenced by king Manadeva, the one most king of the lichavi kingdom.
The structure of the temple has four doors facing each direction. And, all of the doors are guarded by a pair of lions, sarabhas, griffins, and elephants on each side of the entrances.
The main entrance ( western gate) of the temple is an artistic wedge, postured with carvings of snakes. Not only the gates but also the struts are filled with amazing wood carvings. The carvings of ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu and other deities are simply a diversion to the eyes.
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, Kileshwor Mahadev temple.
It is small though but has the most beautiful engraved struts.
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.
The statue of Vishnu Vikrant, Narshima, Vaikuntha Vishnu, and Vishworup. Plus, Shridhar Vishnu, Garuda Narayan, or Chanda Narayan, Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla and Queen Bhuvan Laxmi. These statues are simply gratifying the space of Changu.
The shreds of evidence say that King Bhupatindra Malla also had hands in the renovation of Changu Narayan temple.
Nevertheless, it has almost all of the faces of Lord Vishnu in its premises. And, yes the rest house in a corner.
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Changu Narayan Temple courtyard, Changu Narayan Municipality, Bhaktapur District, Nepal.