If you are looking for a spiritual and adventurous destination in Nepal, you should not miss the Manakamana temple, which is one of the most popular and revered Hindu shrines in the country. Manakamana Temple is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site located in Gorkha district, Nepal.
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Dedication of Manakama
Manakamana temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati, an incarnation of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. The name Manakamana comes from two words: mana, meaning heart or mind, and kamana, meaning wish. It is believed that the goddess fulfills the wishes of her devotees who worship her with sincerity and devotion.
The Manakamana temple is located on a hilltop at an altitude of 1,302 meters (4,272 feet) in the Gorkha district of Gandaki province. The temple offers a spectacular view of the Himalayan ranges, such as Annapurna, Manaslu, and Machhapuchhre. The temple also overlooks the deep valleys and terraced fields below.
The history of the Manakamana temple dates back to the 17th century, when it was built by the king of Gorkha, Ram Shah. According to legend, his queen had divine powers that were known only to her priest, Lakhan Thapa. One day, the king saw his queen in the form of Goddess Bhagwati and the priest as a lion. He revealed this to his queen, who died soon after. The king also died and was cremated along with his queen. The queen had told the priest before her death that she would reappear in six months.
The temple attracts a large number of devotees during festivals, especially during the Dashain and Navaratri festivals, which take place between September and October. These celebrations involve elaborate rituals, cultural performances, and traditional music.
Six months later, a farmer found a stone that was bleeding and oozing milk when he split it. The priest came to know about this and performed some rituals to stop the flow. He then built a shrine at the spot where the stone was found. He also declared that his descendants would be the priests of the temple. The current priest of the temple is the 17th generation of Lakhan Thapa.
The Manakamana temple is a two-story pagoda-style structure with an ambulatory outside. The main idol of the goddess is made of gold and silver and is adorned with jewels and flowers. The devotees offer various items to the goddess, such as flowers, incense, lamps, clothes, fruits, sweets, coconuts, betel nuts, rice, and bells. Some also sacrifice goats or pigeons in a pavilion behind the temple.
The Manakamana temple can be reached by different modes of transportation. One can hike from Anbu Khaireni for about three hours or drive from Kathmandu or Pokhara for about four hours. However, the most popular and convenient way to reach the temple is by taking the Manakamana cable car, which was built in 1998. The cable car covers a distance of 2.8 kilometers (1.7 miles) in 10 minutes and offers a thrilling and scenic ride over the Trishuli river and the green hills.
Manakamana Temple is located amidst lush green forests and offers panoramic views of the Trishuli River and the Himalayan peaks like Annapurna and Manaslu on a clear day. The serene and picturesque surroundings add to the spiritual ambiance of the temple.
While in the area, you can also visit other attractions such as Gorkha Durbar, the historical palace complex of the Shah dynasty, and Gorakhnath Cave, which holds religious significance. These sites offer glimpses into the rich history and culture of the region.
The Manakamana temple is a must-visit place for anyone who wants to experience the culture, nature, and adventure of Nepal. It is also a place where you can make your wishes come true with the blessings of Goddess Bhagwati.