Changu: best place to explore mixed culture in one society

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Whatever you call it, Changu or Changu Narayan, it carries the same sentiment. Because there lies one of the ancient temples of Nepal, Changu Narayan, most people know it by its name. In addition, it is known as Dolagiri too.

This area is perhaps the most beautiful of all the golden sites in Bhaktapur besides the Durbar Square in Bhaktapur. Since they were both declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979, these two places have become highly famous in the area.

Changu somehow is fairly unique from any other place in Bhaktapur. It holds antique architecture in the name of Changu Narayan Temple. Similarly, the surroundings, it is simply the perfect closure of nature.

It has a dynamic culture that is both modern and ancient. It is a developed location, yet it is also somewhat distant. It is undeniably a complicated composition that includes historical, contemporary, and natural scenarios.

changu narayan temple

Changu Narayan temple
PC: Ferdi Susler

The religious aspect of Changu

The Changu Narayan Temple, according to the evidence, is Nepal’s oldest temple, with distinctive construction and religious beliefs.

Hindus from many parts of the world frequently visit this location. Haribodhini Ekadashi, Naag Panchami, Janai Purnima, Mahashanan, Jugadi Navami, and other festivals attract them. Aside from that, the locals do their daily pujas there.

The legends

If there is a major religious site in Nepal that has no mythology associated with it, then you must be missing something. Yes, in Nepal, it is so obvious that every holy place has at least one story related to its emergence.

And this is where the story of Changu begins…

According to the legend, once a brahmin named Sudarshan traded out his cow to a cow herder (gwala). When the gwala bought her, he started to graze her in the champak forest because of the good availability of green grasses and plants over there.

He had a thought as if he fed her good grasses, she’ll honour him with a good amount of milk. But, that thing anonymously never happens to him. He continued grazing her in the forest. But, the result wasn’t satisfying for him. He always got a tiny portion of milk.

He was so disappointed, thus decided to call Brahmin Sudarshan. As soon as the gwala call him, Sudarshan gave his attendance at the gwala’s place where the gwala describes all his problems to the brahmin. Considering the words of gwala, both of them decide to go and check out the activities of the cow.

As per the planning, they followed the cow while grazing. Surprisingly, they saw a very unnatural incident. They saw a black shaded boy egressing out of an old champak tree and drinking the milk from the cow.

After observing all these things, there were sure that the boy is no human. Perhaps they think he could be the devil. That’s why they decided to cut down that tree from where he egressed and did so. But, the tree starts to bleed as they cut it.

That incident made them so anxious that they started to cry aloud and asked for forgiveness. In the meantime, Lord Vishnu or the Narayan appeared in front of them and explained everything about these incidents.

He explained that he was cursed when he accidentally murdered the Sudarshan’s father during his hunt. He was tugged over there since then. And, forthwith was freed from all his sins, because of them.

Subsequently, hearing all these things, they finally got some relief on their faces. Afterwards, they established a small temple in that arena and worshipped it as the Changu Narayan temple. Where the descendants of Sudarshan brahmin continues to become priest and descendants of the gwala continues to be guthiyars.

Things to do in Changu

As we now, know that Changu is such a complex composition of nature, culture, and modern lifestyle. Your choice of being there could make you do so many things like:

Hiking

Hiking is the best thing that Changu can offer after religious realization, of course. A one-day short hike, that you can start from Nagarkot or the Bhaktapur Durbar area. You can also choose to continue your hike to Nagarkot via telkot if you start your hike from the Nagar. The rural-urban, mixing villages, terraced fields, and jungles always welcome you on your hike. Besides the flanking breeze.

The mustard fields at Changu

The mustard fields at Changu PC: Cheryl Marland

Cycling

Another thing that you could prepare in Changu is cycling. There are so many turns and twists on the way of Changu road. Just like the action of the snake’s motility. Hence, anyone with an adjoining adventure nature would love this trail.

Dwelling with foods

Changu is a sweetheart when it comes to tasting the typical newari food in the valley. People from possible places go there to have one gratifying lunch. Plus, they perceive the taste of local wine too while relishing the local food. There is also a Gurung village annexing the newar society.

Thus, you could have a diverse taste willingly than the newa item.

Sightseeing

The Changu Narayan temple is the main allure of the place. Alongside that, there are several places where one can do sightseeing. The courtyard of the Changu Narayan Temple, museums on the way to the temple, and the forest.  They are the best means to explore the place.

  • The Changu museum is the first private museum in Nepal. It has a large collection of coins, kitchen materials, and other livelihood stuff of the Lichhavi periods. You need to pay an entrance fee to enter the museum.
  • The name of the changu forest is the Champak tree forest. It is believed that the name of the place was derived from this forest, Champak.
  • There is a street plus steps in between the row of houses, on the way to the temple. And, there you can find the souvenir shops on every staple.
Way to Changu Narayan temple

Way to Changu Narayan temple PC: rockaroundtheglobe

How to get there?

Indeed Changu is a hill capped place. So, if you think of a hike, you must walk for 2 to 3 hours from Bhaktapur Durbar Square. And, if you choose to be there without any physical effort, then you can choose to go by bus. There is direct bus access from Kathmandu (Bagbazaar) to Changu.

Or, you can book vehicles as per your choice. It is only 7 miles far from Kathmandu city. But, you must step steps to reach the temple, once you reach the bus stop in Changu.

 

FAQs

No, it doesn’t. It lies at Changunarayan which is a northern hill station of Bhaktapur. That also consists of the oldest temple of Nepal, the Changu Narayan Temple.

You could choose a local bus or hire a private vehicle to reach over there.

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 Bhaktapur along with the Bhaktapur Durbar Square varies as per nationality. It costs, Rs.1500 for Non-SAARC nationality, Rs.500 to SAARC, and for Chinese citizens, and free for the Nepalese.

No, you don’t need to pay for your infant. In fact, it is free entry to children below 10 years of each national at Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

Yes, you do. It costs Rs.350 for Non-SAARC Nationals and Chinese nationals. And, it costs Rs.250 for the SAARC nationals.

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.

Well, there are a lot of things that you can do like shopping, sightseeing, eating different foods, also photography. But, capturing one corner of the square and having a sunset view would be the most satisfying thing that you would experience.

While being in Bhaktapur, you must mind a few things like taking out of your shoes while entering the temple and other religious sites. Likewise, you might not be allowed to click pictures of some specific events or places. You should consider these things.

As we informed you earlier it is all safe for solo travelling which means you can travel without a guide. But we also recommend you to have a certified guide who would help you to understand the authentic Bhaktapur and the stories carved all over the monuments.

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  • Changu Narayan Municipality, Bhaktapur District, Nepal.

  • 27.716362, 85.427877
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