Bungamati Tourist Attractions
The idyllic small Newari town of Bungamati lies 10 km (61/4 mi.) south of Kathmandu.The founding of Bungamati is the subject of an interesting legend.
There was once a drought in the Kathmandu Valley which lasted for so long that it threatened to destroy everything. Eventually the King of Bhadgaon (Bhaktapur), the sage Bandhudutt from Kathmandu and the snake king Kartotak set off for Assam to request help from Matsyendranath, the god of rain. Using a powerful mantra they turned him into a bee and carried him back to the Valley in a golden urn. En route they were assailed by demons intent on robbing them of the urn, whereupon the wise Bandhudutt summoned aid from the four mighty Bhairavas, who guaranteed them protection on their way. As the little caravan rested beside the River Nakhu, 6 km (33/4 mi.) south of Patan, a Bhairava approached them and uttered the word "bu", which in Nepalese means, roughly, "birthplace". So the King had the town of Bungamati built there, which is still famous for its Matsyendranath shrine.
Raato Matsyendranath Mandir
The Raato Matsyendranath Mandir is situated in the Bunga Bahal, an open courtyard in the southern part of Bungamati encircled by dharamsalas and houses. The shrine is one of the few Buddhist shikhara temples in the Kathmandu Valley. Steps lead up to the entrance of the courtyard, which is guarded by two stone lions. Eight smaller shikharas surround the central 9 m (291/2 ft) tower. The doorframe of the temple is embellished with fine bronze-work. Above the door are nine small figures of the five Dhyani Buddhas and four Bodhisattvas (two either side). Five bells hang over the entrance and five on the right-hand side.Immediately inside the door can be seen the figure of Raato Matsyendranath, to the Newaris probably the best-loved of all the gods. Bungamati is his winter abode. Even when resident for the summer in Patan, Raato Matsyendranath, also known as Bunga Dyo (Bunga's God), is always attended by a priest from Bungamati, since they alone may enter his temple. Each priest's turn of duty lasts two moon weeks, for which they are well rewarded by the Guthi, a kind of Buddhist brotherhood, in addition to receiving gifts from worshippers at Raato Matsyendranath's shrine. The chosen one shaves his head before taking up his vigil. During the day he remains at the god's side in the temple, eating only a handful of rice prepared by himself.In the southern corner of the Bunga Bahal there is a large and important Bhairava shrine.
North of Bungamati lies the little Newari village of Khokana. Most of Khokana's daily life, from spinning to massage with mustard oil, takes place in the open air. The unusually wide main street was built in the aftermath of the 1934 earthquake. Khokana is renowned for its edible oil, produced by an interesting process in which the mustard seeds are pressed using heavy wooden beams.The village is dominated by its large three-storied temple dedicated to Shikali Mai, the local mother goddess. North-east of the village there is another temple similarly dedicated, used particularly in times of epidemic.
Karya Vinayaka Shrine
The Karya Vinayak Temple stands on a tree-covered hill between Bungamati and Khokana. The shrine is dedicated to Ganesh, whose image is a block of undressed stone. There are splendid views of Bungamati and the Bagmati Valley with its backcloth of mountains.
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