Sankhu Tourist Attractions
Sankhu nestles in the north-east corner of the Kathmandu Valley 16 km (10 mi.) from Kathmandu. No longer an important settlement on the old trade route to Tibet, it is a quiet spot largely unaffected by the changes taking place elsewhere in the Valley.
Vajra Yogini Mandir
The Vajra Yogini Mandir, Sankhu's principal attraction, is located 1.6 km (1 mi.) outside the village at the end of a well-trodden stepped path. Although the temple can be reached by road, the old pilgrim way is far more atmospheric.About halfway up the path a blood-spattered stone awaits sacrificial offerings to the Hindu god Bhairava, made to him here, rather than to Vajra Yogini at the temple, to avoid giving offence to Buddhists with whom Hindus share devotion to the Tantric goddess.Bells seen to the right of the entrance to the temple courtyard are the Tantric or female equivalent of the vajra or lightning symbol. The present three-storied temple was built in 1665. A gilded torana above the doorway depicts an unusually pleasant-looking goddess. To Buddhists Vajra Yogini is Ugratara, Goddess of Knowledge, uncompromising defender of the Buddhist faith; Hindus consider her an aspect of the fearsome Durga. She is seen accompanied by her two Dakini, Baghini and Simhini. In legend it was Vajra Yogini who prompted Manjushri to strike the blow with his sword that drained the Kathmandu Valley.Beside the temple stands a small two-tiered pagoda in which the principal devotional image is a miniature replica of the Swayambhu Stupa. A cave, entered from the north-west corner of the courtyard, is used for Tantric ceremonies. On the north side of the courtyard steps lead up to the Vajra Yogini Dyochhen, an undistinguished 20th c. building the south wing of which contains some exceptionally fine sculptures. They include a 7th c. head of Buddha and several beautiful bronzes. The sunken water tank nearby dates from the 10th c.