Embracing the Tranquility of Shesh Narayan Temple

18, Aug 2023 | nepaltraveller.com

The Sheshnarayan Temple complex is a living tableau of mythology, etched into the very rock faces. It stands as one of the four eminent Narayan (Vishnu) temples within the Kathmandu Valley, each an embodiment of the divine

In the heart of Nepal, where spirituality and natural beauty seamlessly intertwine, lies an enchanting destination that beckons pilgrims and explorers alike. Tucked about 600 meters downhill from the bustling crossroads of Pharping, the Shesh Narayan Temple stands as a testament to ancient reverence and serene tranquility. With its rich history, stunning surroundings, and captivating legends, this temple complex invites everyone to immerse themselves in its mystique.

A Timeless Sanctuary of Devotion

The Shesh Narayan Temple complex is a resplendent Vishnu shrine that holds its own against the backdrop of ponds and statues, all cradled beneath a rocky cliff wall and the watchful eyes of a Tibetan monastery. While the central temple structure was erected in the 17th century, echoes of sacredness resonate even further back in time, particularly in the cave adjacent to the temple. This cavern, now dedicated to Padmasambhava, or Guru Rinpoche, whispers of ancient pilgrimages and spiritual revelations.

Pharping: A Fabled Locale

Pharping, often mentioned in revered religious texts, unveils itself as an ancient haven of sanctity. The luminaries of old, including the revered Padmasambhava, are said to have graced these lands with their presence, imbuing the region with a profound aura of spirituality.


Mythology Etched in Stone

The Shesh Narayan Temple complex is a living canvas where myths come alive on the very cliffs themselves. Standing tall as one of the four major Narayan temples in the Kathmandu Valley, this sacred haven offers more than meets the eye. Visitors find themselves in awe of stalactites that evoke the shape of a cow's udder, a symbol of devotion. According to local tales, these formations once dripped with milk, evoking a sense of wonder and reverence.

The Enigmatic Waters

Nestled within the complex, a crystalline pond sparkles with serenity. Beneath the water's surface, a kaleidoscope of colorful fish dart and glide, embracing offerings from those who seek communion with nature. Beneath the water's surface lie slender wooden poles adorned with moss, a manifestation of an annual ritual that embodies a mystical story.


A Tale of Guardian Serpents

In a tale that bridges myth and reality, the ritual of the guardian serpents unfolds. Legend speaks of a priest unable to fetch water for rituals due to age, leading to a miraculous spring's emergence. This small spring soon transformed into a swift river, necessitating a bridge for the priest to cross. In memory of these serpentine saviors, locals perform a ritual involving a bifurcated tree branch, symbolizing the unity of these guardian spirits.

Embrace of Artistry and Serenity

Within the temple's courtyard, artistry melds seamlessly with history. Carvings from the Licchavi era depict lively portrayals of Garuda and Hanuman, adding to the air of sacredness. Ponds brim with life, boasting koi carp and semi-submerged sculptures, including a serene depiction of Aditya framed by an arch. Serendipitous moments might grant visitors the pleasure of devotional music resonating in the waters, accompanied by blessings from temple priests.


Unveiling a Spiritual Gem

Shesh Narayan Temple stands as an enduring symbol of devotion, nestled in the Shesh Narayan Village Development Committee. Situated approximately 20 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu, Nepal. Within the Kathmandu Valley, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, stands the Shesh Narayan Temple, one of the cherished quartet of Narayana temples. The remaining three temples, namely Icchangu Narayan, Bishanku Narayan, and Changu Narayan, form a constellation of sacred edifices. Reverently positioned in alignment with the cardinal points, these temples are a testament to the visionary reign of Licchavi king Vishnugupta. Rooted in history and architectural significance, their lofty perches atop hills were intended to serve as vigilant custodians, offering protection to the Kathmandu Valley through the ebb and flow of time.


Journey of the Road Less Travelled

Venturing toward Shesh Narayan Temple reveals two paths, each leading to a place of reverence. The southern route leads to the esteemed Dakshinkali, while the northern road meanders by the Ngagyur-Nyingmapa Rigzin Phodrang Monastery. As you approach the temple's entrance, you step into a realm that intertwines the sacred with the ancient, beckoning all to partake in its rich heritage and timeless allure.

photo credit: english.onlinekhabar, wikipedia

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