While you are in Bhaktapur, visiting the ancient temple of Changu Narayan is a must. Situated on a hilltop, 6km away from the town, this temple is the oldest one in the Kathmandu Valley. It was built in 464 AD by the Lichhavi Kind Mandev, dedicated to lord Vishnu, who is also known as Narayan.
While commonly it is believed that the architectural style resembles pagodas, some scholars argue that it cannot be classified as anything but traditional Nepalese architecture. There are four entrances to this two-storey temple, each guarded by life-size pairs of animal figures. The roof is supported by stone pillars and struts, on which various idols of Lord Vishnu have been carved out.
Highlights in the premises
Some of the noted figures here are of the Garuda- Lord Vishnu’s flying vehicle; Statue of Bhupalendra Malla- king of Kantipur and his queen Bhuwan Lakshmi; Sridhar Vishnu- sculpture of Vishnu, Lakshmi and Garuda on a pedestal from the 9th century; Narasimha- a sculpture of Lord Vishnu’s reincarnation dating back to the 7th century.
Museum on the way
While walking up to the temple you can stop by this private museum, set up by Binaya Raj Shrestha. An amazing collection of old coins, ancient tools and other rare objects of cultural and historical significance is on the display.
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