Where We Be
|Changu Narayan Temple is just enough off the beaten path that not many tourists make it here
|Changu Narayan Temple, Nepal
|This mythical beast has a lion face, ram horns, and eagle wings
|YOU'RE not Hindu! How dare you think of entering!
|Robin looks relaxed and happy despite Garuda eating snakes just over her head (Garuda hates snakes!)
|Robin's a sucker for elephants with painted eyelashes!
|Changu Narayan is one of seven structures cited by Unesco that make the Kathmandu Valley a World Heritage Site
|This elegant image of Vishnu astride the winged Garuda is
illustrated on the Nepali 10 rupee note (minus all the paint!)
Changu Narayan Temple is a Unesco World
Heritage site filled with ancient Hindu carvings
from the Licchavi Period (4th to 9th centuries AD).
Some of the oldest statues in Nepal are located
here, 6 km north of Bhaktapur. A kneeling statue of
Garuda in front of the temple dates from the 5th
century AD, and a stone pillar nearby is the oldest
stone inscription in the valley, dating from AD 464.
The beautiful two-tiered temple is covered with
intricate wood carvings of multi-handed gods and
guarded on all sides by pairs of stone creatures –
lions, elephants, griffons, and sarabhas.
The temple is still very much in use today; we saw
many Hindus making offerings and performing
devotions. Hinduism seems to be a very tactile
religion, with devotees smearing red and saffron
pigment directly onto priceless statues, tracing
their fingertips across temple walls, and ringing
the bell loudly when making an offering of food.
All around the courtyard are ancient statues of
Vishnu in his various forms. Our favorite is the 7th
century image of Vishnu astride the winged human
Garuda, which is illustrated on the Nepali 10 rupee
note. Another favorite is of Vishnu changing form
from a dwarf to a giant and taking three enormous
strides across the universe to defeat his enemy.
|This kneeling statue of Garuda dates from the 5th century AD
|This is the oldest stone inscription in the Kathmandu Valley, dating from AD 464
|In this 7th century carving, Vishnu, disguised in dwarf form, asks his enemy King Bali if he can
possess an area as far as he can stride in three steps. Bali shrugs, says why not? Vishnu changes
form, becomes a giant, and takes three enormous strides across the universe to defeat his enemy!
|The facade of the temple is a feast for the eyes
|HIndu gods are busy gods, so all these hands come in handy!
|Two stone lions guard the main entry to the temple; inside, Hindus make offerings
|These three bulls pay obeisance to Shiva (the first two look to us more like rabbits than bulls!)
|The pace of life in the village of Changu Narayan is sedate even by dog standards