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Virgin girls are often regarded as the incarnation of Goddess in Hindu society. In Nepal, a virgin girl from Shakya community is chosen as the Goddess Kumari which is believed to be the reincarnation of the Goddess Taleju (the other name of Goddess Durga). There are alltogether 11 different Kumari in Kathmandu Valley. The prominent ones are the Kumari from Bhaktapur, Patan and Kathmandu. The Kumari of Kathmandu city is also known as "Nepal Kumari" who resides in a richly decorated house on Durbar Square. It is a general belief that Goddess Taleju resides in the body of the virgin and protects the country from the bad events or evil. If Kumari is restless then it can be predicted that very bad thing is going to happen. Kumari will no longer remain Kumari if she loses her puberty, or she loses her teeth or if there is serious blood-loss from her body and the search for New Kumari begins.


History of Kumari
The history of Nepal Kumari in Nepal is believed to have started in the Malla Dynasty. There are several myths regarding the beginning of the Tradition Kumari. One popular one goes like this. JayaPrakash Malla, the King of Malla Dynasty used to play Tripasa ( a kind of dice game) with the Goddess Taleju every night in the Royal palace. The Goddess used to come everyday and stay for hours and talk about the welfare of the country with the King. The Queen was suspicious about the activity of the King and one day she decided to go to check what the King was doing. To her surprise she saw the Goddess and the King. The Goddess disappeared when the Queen saw her. The King started to cry and prayed her to come back and take care his country and the people. Then the Goddess reappeared and told to the King that she would reappear as the virgin girl in the Shakya community. The King then started the quest for the virgin girl in Shakya community and after the proper rituals the Kumari was chosen and since then the tradition of Kumari is still going on.
Requirements for the girl to be chosen as Kumari
  • A neck like a conch shell
  • A body like a banyan tree
  • Eyelashes like a cow
  • Thighs like deer
  • Soft voice
  • Daring as lion
She needs to undergo several tests before being appointed as Kumari. One of the major tests is on the Dashain festival. On "Kalratri" she is taken to Taleju temple where there are several slaughtered goats, buffalo, chicken and the masked men are dancing around. If the candidate is fearless during this experience, then she would be selected as the Kumari and only simple process remains but if she fails this test, then the another candidate is taken for the same experience. Finally the horoscope of the Kumari is matched with the President and she will be the next Kumari.
Kumari is believed to have supreme power. That is why the King of the Nepal used to bow and take blessing from him as well. Now when there is no monarch the President of Nepal takes the blessing from her.

Life Style of Kumari
The people can always go to the Kumari house in Kathmandu Durbar Square and take the blessing from her. The biggest festival when Kumari is put into chariot and taken to the whole city is the Macchindranath Jatra. Macchindranath is the festival celebrated after the name of God Indra who is the symbol of rain according to Nepali culture. This festival is celebrated for 8 days. On the third day of this festival, Ganesh, Kumari, and Bhairab are taken out in a procession in a chriot and this will last for three days. Macchindranath Jatra is celebrated in the September month.
Kumari lives in Kumari Ghar which a store-house of magnificient intricate carvings where she performs her daily rituals. The Guthi sansthan, the government trust bears her entire expenses during her tenure. A Kumari will no longer remain a kumari once she loses her puberty or loses her teeth or there is serious blood loss from her body.

Text copied from ezinearticles

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Born: Bikram Sambat 1966
Died: Bikram Sambat 2016
Poet, Novelist, Essayist, Playwright.
Famous works: Muna Madan, Sakuntal, etc.
Poems: Yatri, Garib, Marga, etc.
Essay collection: Laxmi Nibandha Sangraha, etc.

Introduction
Born on the festival of the Goddess of wealth "Laxmi Puja" and so named as a present from the Goddess Laxmi, Laxmi Prasad Devkota turned out to be wealthier in knowledge and wisdom rather than in money and riches. His works are filled with the love and belief in human goodness. His numerous poems, classics, essays and dramas are portrayed with feelings of nationalism, romanticism, and his belief in humanity. Laxmi Prasad could write anywhere and everywhere. No other Nepali writer has been able to produce as many poems as Mahakavi Laxmi Prasad Devkota. But perhaps his greatest possession was his heart as it said that he would give out all he had to the poor and needy although he himself was not doing very good economically. Laxmi Prasad was even given the post of Minister of Education a year before his death, but he gave this up for his love of the Nepali literature. They say that if his works had been translated into English he might have received the Nobel Prize for literature.



Crazy

1.
Oh yes, friend! I'm crazy-
that's just the way I am.

2.
I see sounds,
I hear sights,
I taste smells,
I touch not heaven but things from the underworld,
things people do not believe exist,
whose shapes the world does not suspect.
Stones I see as flowers
lying water-smoothed by the water's edge,
rocks of tender forms
in the moonlight
when the heavenly sorceress smiles at me,
putting out leaves, softening, glistening,
throbbing, they rise up like mute maniacs,
like flowers, a kind of moon-bird's flowers.
I talk to them the way they talk to me,
a language, friend,
that can't be written or printed or spoken,
can't be understood, can't be heard.
Their language comes in ripples to the moonlit Ganges banks,
ripple by ripple-
oh yes, friend! I'm crazy-
that's just the way I am.

3.
You're clever, quick with words,
your exact equations are right forever and ever.
But in my arithmetic, take one from one-
and there's still one left.
You get along with five senses,
I with a sixth.
You have a brain, friend,
I have a heart.
A rose is just a rose to you-
to me it's Helen and Padmini.
You are forceful prose
I liquid verse.
When you freeze I melt,
When you're clear I get muddled
and then it works the other way around.
Your world is solid,
mine vapor,
yours coarse, mine subtle.
You think a stone reality;
harsh cruelty is real for you.
I try to catch a dream,
the way you grasp the rounded truth of cold, sweet coin.
I have the sharpness of the thorn,
you of gold and diamonds.
You think the hills are mute-
I call them eloquent.
Oh yes, friend!
I'm free in my inebriation-
that's just the way I am.

4.
In the cold of the month of Magh
I sat
warming to the first white heat of the star.
the world called me drifty.
When they saw me staring blankly for seven days
after I came back from the burning ghats
they said I was a spook.
When I saw the first marks of the snows of time
in a beautiful woman's hair
I wept for three days.
When the Buddha touched my soul
they said I was raving.
They called me a lunatic because I danced
when I heard the first spring cuckoo.
One dead-quite moon night
breathless I leapt to my feet,
filled with the pain of destruction.
On that occasion the fools
put me in the stocks,
One day I sang with the storm-
the wise men
sent me off to Ranchi.
Realizing that same day I myself would die
I stretched out on my bed.
A friend came along and pinched me hard
and said, Hey, madman,
your flesh isn't dead yet!
For years these things went on.
I'm crazy, friend-
that's just the way I am.

5.
I called the Navab's wine blood,
the painted whore a corpse,
and the king a pauper.
I attacked Alexander with insults,
and denounced the so-called great souls.
The lowly I have raised on the bridge of praise
to the seventh heaven.
Your learned pandit is my great fool,
your heaven my hell,
your gold my iron,
friend! Your piety my sin.
Where you see yourself as brilliant
I find you a dolt.
Your rise, friend-my decline.
That's the way our values are mixed up,
friend!
Your whole world is a hair to me.
Oh yes, friend, I'm moonstruck through and through-
moonstruck!
That's just the way I am.

6.
I see the blind man as the people's guide,
the ascetic in his cave a deserter;
those who act in the theater of lies
I see as dark buffoons.
Those who fail I find successful,
and progress only backsliding.
am I squint-eyed,
Or just crazy?
Friend, I'm crazy.
Look at the withered tongues of shameless leaders,
The dance of the whores
At breaking the backbone on the people's rights.
When the sparrow-headed newsprint spreads its black lies
In a web of falsehood
To challenge Reason-the hero in myself-
My cheeks turn red, friend,
red as molten coal.
When simple people drink dark poison with their ears
Thinking it nectar-
and right before my eyes, friend! -
then every hair on my body stands up stiff
as the Gorgon's serpent hair-
every hair on me maddened!
When I see the tiger daring to eat the deer, friend,
or the big fish the little,
then into my rotten bones there comes
the terrible strength of the soul of Dadhichi
and tries to speak, friend,
like the stormy day crashing down from heaven with the lightning.
When man regards a man
as not a man, friend,
then my teeth grind together, all thirty-two,
top and bottom jaws,
like the teeth if Bhimasena.
And then
red with rage my eyeballs rool
round and round, with one sweep
like a lashing flame
taking in this inhuman human world.
My organs leap out of theirs frames-
uproar! Uproar!
my breathing becomes a storm,
my face distorted, my brain on fire, friend!
with a fire like those that burn beneath the sea,
like the fire that devours the forests,
frenzied, friend!
as one who would swallow the wide world raw.
Oh yes, my friend,
the beautiful chakora am I,
destroyer of the ugly,
both tender and cruel,
the bird that steals the heaven's fire,
child of the tempest,
spew of the insane volcano,
terror incarnate.
Oh yes, friend,
my brain is whirling, whirling-
that's just the way I am.

Published.1953.

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Janakpur has the Janaki Temple (Mandir in Nepali) which is dedicated to Goddess Sita, and also has a Ram and Sita Marriage Mandhir (or also known as Ram and Sita Bibaha Mandhir in Nepali) which is said to have been built in the spot where they got married. Marriage anniversary of Ram and Sita is observed every year here through a festival which is also observed throughout Nepal

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Ranipokhari, meaning Queen's pond, is the artificial square-shaped pond with the temple of Shiva in the middle. Ranipokhari lies in the heart of Kathmandu, with 10-15 minutes walk from Kathmandu Durbar Square. The pond was constructed during the reign of King Pratap Malla in memory of his son Chackrawotendra. It was a token of consolation to his wife, drowned in sorrow of their son's death. The pond is fenced with iron bars and opened once a year during Bhaitika, the fifth and final day of Tihar.-

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Annapurna Conservation Area

Facts


Introduction
The Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) contains some of the world’s highest peaks the world’s deepest valley-the Kali Gandaki River Valley. It is the Nepal’s largest protected area of 7629 sq. km. It was established in 1992. The proposed conservation area encompasses the Annapurna range in Western Nepal. It is bounded to the north by the dry alpine deserts of Mustang and Tibet (China), to the west by the Kali Gandaki River, to the east by Marsyandi Valley and to the south by valleys and foothills north of Pokhara (Sherpa et al., 1986).

The nearest town is Pokhara, some 30 km to the south. Access is by road from Pokhara Nandanda, and from then onwards by foot. The ACA has an entire habitats gradient from sub tropical sal forest to perenial snow harboring 22 different forest types with 1226 plant species including 55 endemics, 30 mammals and 456 birds.


Brief History

In 1986 ACAP was implemented by MTNC in Ghandruk as a pilot project covering one VDC with area of 200 km2
In 1990, it’s work area had expanded to 16 VDCs with an area of 1500 km2
Officially gazetted in 1992 covering 55 VDCs with present area


Objectives
ACAP has three primary objectives

To conserve the natural resources of the ACA for the benefit of the present and future generations
To bring sustainable social and economic development to the local people
To develop tourism in such a way that it will have a minimum negative environmental impact

Features
Some of the world’s highest peaks (Annapuran I: 8,091m, Machhapuchhere: 6,993)
World’s deepest gorge: Kali Gandaki and one of the world's highest altitude lake Tilicho
Most popular trekking destination (76407 in 2000)
Two distinct climatic regions (3000mm annual rainfall in south (cis Himalayas) and <500mm annual rainfall in north (trans Himalayas) within a span of 120 km and altitude of 1000-8000m
22 different forest types
A total of 1226 species of plants (1140 species in the cis Himalayas) including 38 Orchid species and 9 Rhododendron species
101 species of mammals including snow leopard, Musk deer, Tibetan Argali, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan fox. 474 species of birds including 38 breeding species of birds at risk in Nepal, all six Himalayan pheasants found in Nepal. 39 species of reptiles and 22 species of amphibians.
Nepal’s Largest protected area and first conservation area with the entire habitat gradient from sub tropical sal forest to perennial snow.
More than 100,000 inhabitants and more than 10 ethnic groups (Tibeto Burbese: Gurung, Thakali, Bhotia, Ethnic Tibetan and Magar and Indo Aryan: Brahmin, Kshetri, Kami, Damai and Sarki)

Climate



How to get there
Annnapurna area conservation is located near Pokhara , a town easily accessible from Kathmandu by air and road .Bus or taxi services are available from Pokhara to Jomsom which is located in the northern part of Annapurna Conservation Area. Alternative route is to reach to Phedi by bus or taxi and walk 1.5 days to reach to Ghandruk via Dhampus -Landruk.Annapurna sanctuary and base camp is located at 6-7 days trek from Ghandruk.

Heritage Significance
The Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) in the eastern Himalaya comprises some of the most stunning scenery in allof Nepal. Not only does this region host the third highest peak in the world(Mt. Kangchenjunga), but it is also a global hotspot for plant biodiversity. Botanist have identified twenty-three species of rhododendrons growing in the area. In this eastern Himalayan setting, glacial streams cut through high ridges creating remote and steep valleys where traditional farming practices are a way of life.

Tuked within these hidden valleys, one can encounter rich forests that support more than 250 species of birds and endangered wildlife. A few days of walking will lead you to high-elevation pastures where yaks graze languidly and colorful alpne flowers bloom. Throughout the KCA, you will encounter a medley of ethnicities that continue to practice traditional subsistence lifestyles, their cultural and religiouu spractices adding to the area's ricjh cultural heritage.


Land Use Pattern in ACA


Land Uses
Area km2
Percentage

Barren land
3,729.07
48.88

Grazing land
2,306.11
30.23

Shrub land
213.57
2.80

Conifer forest
214.93
2.82

Hardwood forest
679.18
8.90

Mixed forest
205.08
2.69

Agricultural land
243.90
3.20

Orchard
0.93
0.01

Waterbodies
36.23
0.47

Total
7,629.00
100.00



Local Institutions
Acap has been mobilizing the local people of the ACA in its conservation and development initiatives since the project inception in 1986. as a result there is a well developed network of local institutions in place that have formed on a VDC basis, where Conservation Area Management Committee (CAMC ) is the primary institution. Under the umbrella of the CAMC, other sub committees are formed as per the need.

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Manakamana

September 18, 2009 1 comments





The temple and small village of Manakamana is situated atop the 1302 metre hill that lies just north-east of the town of Mugling, some three and a half hours by bus east from Pokhara, or about the same time by bus west from Kathmandu. A cable car runs from the cable station of Cheres, just 5 kms east of Mugling to Manakamana in fifteen minutes. It is an exhilarating ride as you pass the river and up two ridges to the top. If you want, you can return by walking down the former well-used track down to its exit on the Gorkha road, just 1 km north of the town of Abu Khareini.

The cable car operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., stopping for lunch break from 12.00 p.m. to 13.30 p.m. On Saturdays and holidays it starts operations an hour earlier. The cost is a hefty 10 U.S. Dollars plus 14% tax for foreigners, and R250 plus tax for Nepalese citizens. This is a return fare. Single fares only apply to a sacrificial goat (R140). Hindu devotees believe that a visit to this temple will bring good luck, so expect to see many animal sacrifices at the temple entrance.

There are many simple hotels and lodges in the village, all charging about R100 to R400 per room. Some even advertise hot water in attached bathrooms, but many are run down as there was a hotel building rush a few years ago and now that the cable car operates most people do not spend the night in the village. In the quietest months most restaurants will be closed and food will consist of momos or daal bhat only.
In theory it is possible to walk from Gorkha to Manakamana, passing along the hill-top ridge through forest and paddy, although you would probably need a guide. When I tried to hire a guide for this walk two years ago, the would-be guides were concerned about swollen rivers. So probably this is a walk for the dry season, although it should be an exciting walk of about seven hours or so.

Added note: When the cable car opened in 1998 it was with the understanding that the local people would benefit. Numbers of people visiting the sacred temple have doubled but people walking up the path from Abu Khareini have dwindled to almost zero and scores of lodges and tea houses have lost almost all their business. Perhaps empowered by the Maoists' show of strength against big business, in late August 2001 people from the village stormed the cable car offices and destroyed the computers and ticketing machines. For the first time since they had started operating, the cable cars were silent for almost one week. Even though you can now buy only a return ticket on the cable car, you might like to consider walking up or down the path one way and buy a meal or stay overnight in a lodge en route to help the dwindling trade of people who built their business without the concept that a giant like a cable car industry could destroy them.

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The surface of Rara Lake is around 8 square kilometer and the perimeter 9 kilometer. The length of the lake is 5 kilometers and it is 2 kilometers wide, the altitude around 3060 meter and the max. depth is 167 meter.

Rara is an unique spot in Nepal. The lake is situated in the Rara National Park and because of its remote location and the violence/threat of the Maoists the lake has been visited by only few tourist in the last couple of years. Only in the second half of 2006 the situation improved and foreign visitors do not need to pay the high fee of around $100 per person to the Maoist anymore

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Chitwan National Park stands today as a successful testimony of nature conservation in South Asia. This is the first national park of Nepal established in 1973 to preserve a unique ecosystem significantly valuable to the whole world. The park covering a pristine area of 932 sq. km is situated in the subtropical inner Terai lowlands of southern central part of Nepal. The park has gained much wider recognition in the world when UNESCO included this area on the list of World Heritage Site in 1984.

Formerly, the Chitwan valley was well known for big game and was exclusively managed as a hunting reserve for the Rana Prime Ministers and their guests until 1950. In 1963, the area south of Rapti was demarcated as a rhinoceros sanctuary. In 1970, His late Majesty King Mahendra had approved in principle the creation of Royal Chitwan National Park.

The park consists of churia hills, ox-bow lakes, flood plains of Rapti, Reu and Narayani rivers. The Churia hill rises gradually towards the east from 150 m to over 800 m. The lower but most rugged Someshwor hills occupy most of the western portion of the park. The flood plains of Chitwan are rich alluvial. The park boundaries have been delineated by the Narayani and Rapti rivers in the north and west, and the Reu river and Someshwor hills in the south and south-west. It shares its eastern border with Parsa Wildlife Reserve.

Vegetation and Animals:

The Chitwan valley is characterized by tropical to subtropical forest. 70% of park vegetation is predominantly Sal ( Shorea robusta ) forest, a moist deciduous climax vegetation type of the Terai region. The remaining vegetation types include grassland (20%), riverine forest (7%) and Sal with Chirpine ( Pinus roxburghii ) (3%), the latter occurring at the top of the Churia range. The riverine forests mainly consists of khair, sissoo and simal. The simal is with spiny bark when young and develops buttress at the bottom in older stage. The grasslands form a diverse and complex community with over 50 species. The Sacchrum species, often called elephant-grass can reach 8 m in height. The shorter grasses such as Imperata is useful for thatch roofs.
There are more than 43 species of mammals in the park. The park is specially renowned for the protection of the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, tiger, gharial crocodile along with many other common species of wild animals. The estimated population of endangered species of animals such as gaur, wild elephant, four horned antelope, striped hyena, pangolin, gangetic dolphin, monitor lizard and python, etc.
Some of the other animals found in the park are samber, chital, hog deer, barking deer, sloth bear, common leopard, ratel, palm civet, wild dog, langur, rhesus monkey, etc.
There are over 450 species of birds in the park. Among the endangered birds found in the park are Bengal florican, giant hornbill, lesser florican, black stork and white stork, Few of the common birds seen are peafowl, red jungle fowl, and different species of egrets, herons, kingfishers, flycatchers and woodpeckers. The best time for bird watching is March and December.
More than 45 species of amphibians and reptiles occur in the park and some of which are marsh mugger crocodile, cobra, green pit viper and various species of frogs and tortoises.
The park is actively engaged in the scientific studies of several species of wild flora and fauna.
Seasons:

The park is under the tropical monsoon climate with relatively high humidity. The winter, spring and monsoon are the three main seasons. The cool winter season occurs from October to February. The spring begins in March and is soon followed by summer that ends in early June. The summer days are typically hot with 30 C on average day temperature. The monsoon usually begins at the end of June and continues until September. The mean annual rainfall is about 2150 mm and during this time of the year rivers are flooded and most of the roads are virtually closed.
How to Get There:

The park is accessible by car or bus on the Kathmandu-Mugling-Narayanghat Highway and or through Mahendra Rajmarg Highway from Hetauda. It is about 6 hour's drive from Kathmandu to Narayanghat. Local buses are available to Tadi Bazar which is about an hour drive form Narayanghat. A 6 km walk or bullockcart ride brings the visitors to Sauraha, the park entrance. Also air services from Kathmandu to Meghauli for US$82 each way and Bharatpur US$65 each way are available. Local buses are available form Narayanghat to Park HQ. Kasara.
Park Facilities:

Display Center, Kasara
Library at Kasara Sauraha
Visitor Center, Sauraha
Machans (View tower)
Activities:

Elephant ride
Canoeing
Guided jungle walk
Terai culture
Wildlife breeding projects
4WD safaris
Enrty fees into Royal Chitwan National Park:

National Park entry fee per person per day:
For Nepali Nationals Rs 20
For SAARC NAtionals Rs 200
For Foreign Nationals Rs 500
Children under 10 years Free
Elephant ride for about 2 hrs. - Rs 550 - (Nepali's Rs 100)
Fishing permit - Rs 300 - (Nepali's Rs 20)
Camping per night per person - Rs 300 - (Nepali's Rs 20)
Guided jungle walk - Rs 250/400 for half day/full day - (Nepali's Rs 20)
Canoeing - Rs 230 per person
4WD safari - Rs 650 per person
Gharial crocodile breeding centre - included in the park entrance fee
Elephant breeding centre - included in the park entrance fee
Lodges offer all-inclusive packages for 2 to 4 days for those who want everything pre- organised by the lodge guides.

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Namche Bazaar (नाम्चे बजार−also Nemche Bazaar or Namche Bazar) is a village and Village Development Committee (Namche) in Solukhumbu District in the Sagarmatha Zone of north-eastern Nepal. It is located within the Khumbu area at 3,440 metres (11,286 ft) (the low point that is), populating the sides of a hill. Namche is the main trading center for the Khumbu region with many Nepalese officials, a police check, post and a bank.

At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a population of 1647 people residing in 397 individual households.

This place is also known as the "Gateway to Everest". Although this place looks very traditional one can find every modern facilities in this area.















The placenames around Bandipur indicate that the surrounding region, known as Tanahun, was originally inhabited by Magars, whose chieftains ruled numerous principalities of Today's central Nepal. When Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha set out to expand his dominion, Tanahun was a powerful adversary which was overcome only with a hard fight.

As the Gorkha king completed his conquest of Kathmandu Valley in 1768, many of its Newar inhabitants fanned out to establish trading posts in the hills, Some Bhaktapur traders made their way to Bandipur, from where they began to cater to trade between an increasingly mercantile British India and the Himalayan hinterland.

An obscure mountain village was transformed into a bustling commercial centre. Bandipur served as a funneling point where all trails from central Nepal (and Tibet to the north) joined to head southward, crossing the great Narayani river and the chitwan jungle to reach the Indian railhead of Narkatia Ganj.

Over the 1800s, the bazaar town grew in wealth and importance. All goods were carried on porter-back, and from dawn to dusk the stone-paved thoroughfare echoed with the sound of walking sticks and the babble of tongues. From Tibet came traders with musk pods, mountain herbs, animals skin and horses. From British India, it was calico, tobacco, glassware and kerosene.

The good times were to last until the advent of motorised transport. Even as Nepal opened its doors in the 1950s, the town of Pokhara with its airfield began to gain in im

portance. The final straw was the 1972 opening of the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway, whose road alignment bypassed Bandipur altogether.

The trading families immediately forsook their ancestral town to seek economic opportunities elsewhere. Even as their hometown became a ghost of its earlier self, the Bandipur Newars prospered, becoming some of Nepal's foremost businessmen, professionals and bureaucrats.

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The temple of Gadhi Mai, located in Bara district of central Terai region, is visited by millions of Hindus. It is a temple where the largest numbers   of animal sacrifices are offered. A month –long fair is held in the month of Mangsir (November / December) once in every five years to   worship the goddess. During this fair the devotees first take a holy dip in the sacred pond and offer homage to the goddess with animal sacrifices. The sacrifices of animals to the goddess Gadhi Mai are believed to fulfill the wishes of her devotees.
Yearly, around 200,000 animals are slaughtered at this temple. The sacrifice is meant to placate Gadhimai a Hindu Goddess of power. But, animal sacrifice is totally out of keeping with the teachings and beliefs of Hinduism.
He who injures harmless creatures from a wish to give himself pleasure, never finds happiness in this life or the next. Manu-smriti 5.45

 Most of the adherents of this cult travelled long distances to take part, about 60 percent of those who attended came from neighboring India. They come for many reasons most of which are superstitious in nature, or at least appear so from the perspective of the modern world where most of us have consigned such backward thinking to the past.

The Gadhimai festival has its origins in the 18th century with a feudal landlord Bhagwan Chaudhary and a village healer adept in the Hindu occult, Dukha Kachadiya. Bhagwan Chaudhary was imprisoned at Makwanpur fort prison 260 years ago. While imprisoned he dreamed a dream that his problems would be solved if he made a blood sacrifice to Gadhimai, in other words if he sacrificed an animal. After leaving prison Chaudhary took advice from Kachadiya. According to tradition at the time of Chaudhary’s sacrifice a light appeared in an earthenware jar and from than onwards the grotesquely cruel sacrifice has continued every five years for the last 260 years. For two and a half centuries living breathing beings have been brutally slain because of that dream.

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Swyambhunath

September 15, 2009 2 comments




Situated about 3 km. from the centre of the city of Kathmandu, Nepal, at its north-western limits, this stupa or chorten's full name, Swayambhunath, means The Self-manifested Lord.

Swayambhu is on a steep hill above the valley of Kathmandu, and is believed to derive from a time when, tradition says, the whole area was under the waters of a vast lake in a territory that was once home to nagas.

Vipashwi (Tib. Namparzi) Buddha is credited with having sown the lotus seeds which grew into a giant jeweled lotus there. Several buddhas and bodhisattvas are said to have visited in prehistoric times including Vajradhara and Manjushri.

Keith Dowman in A Buddhist Guide to the Power Places of the Kathmandu Valley tells us that Tibetans refer to the stupa as a grove (Skt. chaitya), the place of 'Phags-pa shing-kun' or Sublime Trees where:

" ... the Jina Vajradhara spontaneously arose from
the Pure Land of Akanistha as a great sacred Tree of Life
(mChod-sdong chen-po -- a Bodhi Tree or stupa) called Jnana Gandola Swayambhu (The Self-Sprung Temple of Wisdom) which brings spiritual release by sight of it, hearing of it, reflecting upon it, or touching it. Look into Newar chronicles called the Swayambhu Purana for extensive details on the arising of thirteen billion times
more merit (for practising mantra etc.) in this place than in other great power places, and other interesting topics. "

Another tradition says that Manjushri used his sword to drain the lake that once filled the Kathmandu Valley, and then miraculous lotus flower came to rest on the spot. Manjushri was moved to become an ascetic, and like the Buddha and thousands of other yogis, he cut his hair. Where the strands fell, up sprang a grove of trees, and the omnipresent lice that infested the hair became the monkeys that live there. Though often referred to by visitors as 'the monkey temple,' many other temple grounds in the region are also home to troops of them.

Swayambhu was a very small thing when it first appeared, but it grew over time; suffered demolition from earthquakes and invaders, and was whitewashed and plastered over and restored several times throughout the years. An inscription says that King Maladeva ordered work done on the site in 460 CE, and we know that by the 1200's it was a renowned Buddhist center. In 1346, Muslim invaders broke open the stupa looking for gold.

Via sponsors and donations the building complex has grown until the circumference of the entire site including the land now reaches about 5 km. Pictured above is only the dome of Swayambhu. The 13 steps of the spire represent the levels of attainment required of a bodhisattva in order to achieve buddhahood.

See the levels or bhumis in Numbers in Buddhism.

The entire structure is a cosmic mandala and the three main parts -- spire, dome and base (which is not shown here) - represent the mantra of the three kayas. The various geometric shapes that comprise the entire structure also represent the traditional elements such as earth, fire, air and water. It is reached via a staircase of 365 steps.

Set around the base of the stupa is a continuous series of prayer wheels that are set into motion by the hands of pilgrims and tourists as the circumambulate the site. The spinning wheels are believed to activate mantras and blessings. The colorful prayer flags serve the same function when the wind sets them in motion.

The dome is sealed today, but there is a shrine room in which monks do regular practice.

Swayambhu was one of the first stops His Holiness Rigpe Dorje, the 16th Karmapa made after emerging from Tibet in 1970.

More history of this stupa.

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A new translation of the Svayambhu Purana: A Discourse on the Origin of Svayambhu Stupa in Kathmandu Valley by the Nagarjuna Institute is currently the only complete translation.
It is based on the earliest manuscript dating from 1558 CE (678 Nepal Era.) The 326-page text has ten chapters comprising 1750 verses and contains a summary in English of all the chapters with an historical introduction. Both His Holiness Dalai Lama and Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche have given words of blessings in the foreword.

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The temple of Muktinath in Mustang District...


Introduction
Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa is a sacred place for both Hindus and Tibetan Buddhists at 3750 meters (12,300 feet) at the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas of Nepal. It is a great example of how two religions can share the same holy spot with mutual respect and support. 
Attributes
In Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa all the elements are represented, not only earth, air and holy water, but also fire. Beside trees are growing at an unusual altitude. For this and reasons unseen yogis from both religions do their meditation at Muktinath.  

Padmasambhava & Dakinis
The local name for Muktinath is Chumig Gyatsa (Hundred Waters). The tradional caretakers of Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa are the Tibetan Buddhist Chumig Gyatsa ('Muktinath') nuns with the head of the Gye Lhaki Dung as their abbot. This family is popularly know as the Lama Domar family, an unbroken lineage of Tibetan Buddhist Nyingma lamas from Muktinath Valley, which has Chumig Gyatsa as its religious seat for centuries

The current abbot of Chumig Gyatsa is Muktinath Lama Wangyal.


For Tibetan Buddhists Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa is a place of Dakinis, goddesses known as Sky Dancers. It is of great importance for Buddhists that Chumig Gyatsa is one of the 24 Tantric places. Padmasambhava plus the Mahasiddhas blessed it with their visit. The famous Tibetan yogi Shabkar visted Muktinath in 1818 and stayed for several days to 'connect to the place', as his autobiography tells us. The Padmasambhava Statue in Narsingh Gompa can be considered the most holy object together with the Chenrezig statue.

This is a very brief enumeration. More information on Buddhist backgrounds - for instance on the natural fire - can be found in the pilgrimage guide "The Clear Mirror", written down by the late abbot of Chumig Gyatsa, Muktinath Lama Jampal Rabgyé Rinpoche.

Lord Vishnu & Shalagramas
For Hindus, beside the natural fire representing Brahma and the holy waters, the central meaning of the Muktinath area is the veneration of the god Vishnu in the form of ammonites (shilas) called Salagrama-Shilas.
There are many stories which tell of Vishnu turning into stone and all of them are closely connected to the holy Kali Gandaki River. This river, also known as the Salagrami, is a few hours walking from Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa. 

The building in 1815 of the Buddhist-Hindu temple of Vishnu and Chenrezig at Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa was initiated by the Nepali Queen Subarna Prabha who considered Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa Salagrama.

Salagrama
The Purana legends (300-1000 AD) mention Salagrama being the most holy spot connected to the Gandaki River. Salagrama is one of The 108 Temples & Celestial Abodes of Vishnu referred by the Tamil hymns of the Alwars of the 1st millennium CE. Although the veneration of Vishnu is central nowadays, there is also a connection with Krishna as well as with Shiva.

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The Pashupatinath

September 11, 2009 0 comments




The Holiest Hindu Temple

Pashupatinath Temple, with its astonishing architectural beauty, stands as a symbol of faith, religion, culture and tradition. Regarded as the most sacred temple of Hindu Lord Shiva in the world, Pashupatinath Temple's existence dates back to 400 A.D. The richly-ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to pay homage to this temple, that is also known as 'The Temple of Living Beings'.

Fast Facts
Location 5 km north-east of Kathmandu
Category UNESCO listed World Cultural Heritage Site
Era Prior to 400 A.D
Unique Features » Only four priests, appointed by the King, can touch the idol of Lord Shiva.
» The priests are always from south India.
» It is believed that this tradition have been started by Sage Shankaracharaya in 6th century.

What to See
» Gold-painted images of guardian deities
» Chaturmukha (four-faced statue)
» Chadeshvar, an inscribed Licchavi linga from the 7th century
» Brahma Temple
» Dharmashila, a stone where sacred oaths are taken
» Arya Ghat
» Gauri Ghat (holy bath)
» Pandra Shivalaya (15 shrines)
» Gorakhnath and Vishwarup Temples
» Guhyeshwari (Guhjeshwari) Temple
» Kirateshwar Mahadeva Mandir and Surya Ghat

Architecture
» The two level roofs of the temple are embellished with gold and the four main doors are adorned with silver.
» The temple is famous for its awe-inspiring and astounding pagoda architecture.
» The western door has a statue of a large Bull, Nandi, is ornamented in gold. This black stone idol, about 6 ft in height and circumference, adds to the beauty and charisma of the temple.
» The present architectural nature of Pashupatinath temple came into existence as a result of renovation by Queen Gangadevi during the reign of Shivasimha Malla (1578-1620 AD).

Legends
There are many legends describing as to how the temple of Lord Pashupatinath came to existence here. Some of them are narrated below:-

The Cow Legend
Legend says that Lord Shiva once took the form of an antelope and sported unkown in the forest on Bagmati river's east bank. The gods later caught up with him, and grabbing him by the horn, forced him to resume his divine form. The broken horn was worshipped as a linga but overtime it was buried and lost. Centuries later an astonished herdsmen found one of his cows showering the earth with milk. Digging deep at the site, he discovered the divine linga of Pashupatinath.

The Linchchhavi Legend
According to Gopalraj Vamsavali, the oldest ever chronicle in Nepal, this temple was built by Supus Padeva, a Linchchhavi King, who according to the stone inscription erected by Jayadeva 11 in the courtyard of Pashupatinath in 753 AD, happened to be the ruler 39 generations before Manadeva (464-505 AD).

The Devalaya Legend
Another chronicle states that Pashupatinath Temple was in the form of Linga shaped Devalaya before Supus Padeva constructed a five storey temple of Pashupatinath in this place. As the time passed, the need for reparing and renovating this temple arose. It is learnt that this temple was reconsturcted by a mediaeval King named Shivadeva (1099-1126 AD). It was renovated by Ananta Malla adding a roof to it.

Festivals
» Pashupati area is regarded as one of the most important places of pilgrimages for the followers of Hinduism. Thousands of devotees from within and outside the country come to pay homage to Pashupatinath every day. And on special occasions like Ekadasi, Sankranti, Mahashivratri, Teej Akshaya, Rakshabandhan, Grahana (eclipse), Poornima (Full moon day) the whole atmosphere turns festive and mirthful as people congregate here in a far greater number.
» During the Shivaratri (also spelled Shivratri) festival Pashupatinath temple is lit with ghee lamps throughout the night and the temple remains open all night. Thousands of devotees take ritual baths in the Bagmati river on the day of the festival and observe a fast for the whole day. Hundreds of sadhus (sages) from different parts of Nepal and India come here on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.

Auspicious Days to Visit
In August, during the Teej festival, thousands of women visit the temple to bathe in the holy waters of the Bagmati River. Because this ritual is meant to bring a long and happy marriage, many women dress in red saris, which are traditionally worn for wedding ceremonies. Full moon and New moon days are also considered auspicious to visit the temple.

Good to know
According to a legend recorded in local texts, especially the Nepalamahatmya and the Himavatkhanda, the Hindu Lord Shiva once fled from the other gods in Varanasi to Mrigasthali, the forest on the opposite bank of the Bagmati River from the temple. There, in the form of a gazelle, he slept with his consort Parvati. When the gods discovered him there and tried to bring him back to Varanasi, he leapt across the river to the opposite bank, where one of his horns broke into four pieces. After this, Shiva became manifest as Pashupati (Lord of Animals) in a four-face (chaturmukha) linga.

How to Reach
» There are regular bus services from Kathmandu (from Ratna Park or City Bus Station) to Patan,. It takes approximately 45 minutes to reach Goshala, the stop for Pashupatinath.
» Battery-operated Safaa tempos depart from near the Ratna Park office in Kathmandu and drops the pilgrims at Ring Road, west of Pashupatinath. Thereafter, a tempo going to Chabahil or Bodhnath can be hired.

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Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and shikhara – style temples grouped around a fifty-five-window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming valley as it highlights the ancient of the kings perched on top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in very place – struts, lintels, tympanums, gateways and windows – all seem to form a well orchestrated symphony.

The main items of interest in the Durbar Square are:-

The Lion Gate:
Dating as far back as AD 1696 this gate is guarded on either side by huge statues of lions. Alongside, there are two stone images of (the dreadful aspect of Shiva) and Ugrachandi (the consort of the Shiva in her fearful manifestation).

The Golden Gate:
The Golden Gate is said to be the most beautiful and richly moulded specimen of its kind in the entire world. The door is surmounted by a figure of the goddess Kali and Garuda (the mythical man – bird) and attended by two heavenly nymphs. It is embellished with mythical creatures of marvelous intricacy. In the words of Percy Brown, and eminent English are critic and historian, the Golden Gate is the most lovely pieces of are in the whole Kingdom; it is places like a jewel, flashing innumerable facets in the handsome setting of its erected by King Ranjit Mala and is the entrance of the main courtyard of the palaces of Fifty – five windows.

The Palace Of fifty – five Windows: This magnificent palace was built during the reign of King Yakshay Malla in AD 1427 and was subsequently remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony with fifty-five Windows, considered a unique masterpiece of woodcarving.

The Art Gallery: The Art Gallery contains ancient paintings belonging to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various periods and descriptions. This gallery is open everyday except Tuesday.

The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla: This statue shows king Bhupatindra Malla in the act of worship is set on a column facing the palace. This is considered the most magnificent statue amongh the many statues in the squares.

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Patan Durbar Square
The Ancient Square

Patan Durbar Square complex, situated in the center of Patan city, also known as Lalitpur, houses the residence of the former Patan royal family. Patan Square and its surroundings are good specimen of ancient Newari architecture. There are three main courtyards in the palace: Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk. Mul Chowk, the oldest one, is at the centre of Patan square.

Several multi-sized and multi-styled temples occupy the western part of the complex. Main among these are Krishna Temple, Bhimsen Temple and the Golden Temple of Hiranya Varna.

Fast Facts
Location Kathmandu Valley
Importance UNESCO world heritage site
UNESCO Category cultural
Major Attractions » Krishna temple with 21 golden pinnacles
» Tusahity royal bath


Chowks
Mul Chowk
This is the most famous and one of the largest courtyards among three main chowks. Bidya Temple is located at the center of the courtyard and the Taleju temples stand around the courtyard.

Sundari Chowk
Sundari Chowk is to the south of the Mul Chowk with its sunken tank known as Tusha Hiti Mul Chowk & Taleju Temple.

Keshav Narayan Chowk
Keshav Narayan Chowk is towards the northern part. Dominating Degutale temple is next to it. It is the site of the earliest Malla palace in Patan. The Chowk sits on the older foundations of a Buddhist monastery.

Places To Visit
Krishna Temple
This temple of red stone, dedicated to Hindu Lord Krishna was erected in the 17th century. The temple is considered to be the first one to be constructed in Shikara architecture. Thanks to this attribute, it holds a commanding position in the durbar square. The elegant shikhara-style temple is ranked as one of the gems of Durbar Square. The temple is compared with sacred Mount Meru, which is abode of the god Shiva according to Hindu scriptures.

Mahaboudha
Buddhist temple Mahaboudha, which is made of clay bricks, lies to the east of the Durbar Square. Hundereds of Buddha images are engraved in the bricks. The temple is known for its fine terra cota work.

Kumbheshwor
The five-storied pagoda-style Lord Siva temple was constructed by King Jayasthiti Malla. Inside the temple is a natural spring whose source, is said to be the famous glacial lake of Gosainkunda. The golden work was added later in 1422 A.D. One the festival of Janai Purnima, ritual bathing takes place and a fair is also held.

Jagat narayan Temple
Jagatnarayan temple is a tall shikhara style temple devoted to Lord Vishnu. Red bricks are used for the construction of the temple. The temple also holds a fine metal statue of Garuda, Ganesh and Hanuman, all related to Hindu religion and mythology.

Rudra Varna Mahavihar
This Buddhist monastery holds amazing collection of images and idols in metal, stone and wood. Legend holds that the Kings in the ancient times were crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by the people can be seen here even today.

The Ashokan Stupas
Indian Emperor Ashoka visited Nepal in 250 B.C and constructed four ancient stupas at the four corners of Patan. The four stupas are located in Pulchowk, Lagankhel, Ebahi and in Teta (way to Sano Gaon) respectively.

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The Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square also surrounds quadrangles revealing courtyards and temples. The square is presently known as Hanuman Dhoka, a name derived from the statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, near the entrance of the palace. The preference for the construction of royal palaces at this site dates back to as early as the Licchavi period in the third century. Even though the present palaces and temples have undergone repeated and extensive renovations and nothing physical remains from that period, names like Gunapo and Gupo, which are the names referred to the palaces in the square in early scriptures, imply that the palaces were built by Gunakamadev, a king ruling late in the tenth century. When Kathmandu City became independent under the rule of King Ratna Malla (1484-1520) the palaces in the square became the royal palaces for its Malla kings. When Prithvi Narayan Shah invaded the Kathmandu Valley in 1769, he also favored the Kathmandu Durbar Square for his palace. Other subsequent Shah kings continued to rule from the square until 1896 when they moved to the Narayan Hiti Palace. However, the square is still the center of important royal events like the coronation of King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah in 1975 and King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah in 2001.

Though there are not any written archives stating the history of the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the construction of the palace in the square is credited to Sankharadev (1069-1083). As the first king of the independent Kathmandu City, Ratna Malla is said to have built a Taleju temple at the Northern side of the palace in 1501. For this to be true then the temple would have had to have been built in the vihara style as part of the palace premise surrounding the Mul Chok courtyard for no evidence of a separate structure that would match this temple can be found within the square.

The construction of the Karnel Chok is also not clearly stated in any historical inscriptions although it is probably the oldest among all the courtyards in the square. A Bhagavati Temple, originally known as a Narayan Temple, rises above the mansions surrounding it and was added during the time of Jagajaya Malla in the early eighteenth century. The Narayan idol within the temple was stolen so Prithvi Narayan Shah replaced it with an image of Bhagavati, completely transforming the name of the temple.

The oldest temples in the square are those built by Mahendra Malla (1560-1574). They are the temples of Jagannath, Kotilingeswara Mahadev, Mahendreswara, and the Taleju Temple. This three-roofed Taleju Temple was established in 1564, in a typical Newari architectural style and is elevated on platforms that form a pyramid-like structure. It is said that Mahendra Malla, when he was residing in Bhaktapur, was highly devoted to the Taleju Temple there; the Goddess being pleased with his devotion gave him a vision asking him to build a temple for her in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. Then with a help of a hermit, he designed the temple to give it its present form and the Goddess entered the temple in the form of a bee.

His successors Sadasiva (1575-1581), his son, Shiva Simha (1578-1619), and his grandson, Laksminar Simha (1619-1641), do not seem to have made any major additions to the square. During this period of three generations the only constructions to have occurred were the establishment of Degutale Temple dedicated to Goddess Mother Taleju by Shiva Simha and some enhancement in the royal palace by Laksminar Simha.

It was in the time of Pratap Malla, son of Laksminar Simha, that the square was extensively developed. He was an intellectual, a pious devotee, and he was especially interested in arts. He called himself a Kavindra, king of poets, and boasted that he was learned in fifteen different languages. A passionate builder, following his coronation as a king, he immediately began enlargements to his royal palace, and rebuilt some old temples and constructed new temples, shrines and stupas around his kingdom.

During the construction of his palace, he added a small entrance in the traditional, low and narrow Newari style. The door was elaborately decorated with carvings and paintings of deities and auspicious sings and was later transferred to the entrance of Mohan Chok. In front of the entrance he placed the statue of Hanuman thinking that Hanuman would strengthen his army and protect his home. The entrance leads to Nasal Chok, the courtyard where most royal events such as coronation, performances, and yagyas, holy fire rituals, take place. It was named after Nasadya, the God of Dance, and during the time of Pratap Malla the sacred mask dance dramas performed in Nasal Chok were widely famed. In one of these dramas, it is said that Pratap Malla himself played the role of Lord Vishnu and that the spirit of the Lord remained in the king's body even after the play. After consulting his Tantric leaders, he ordered a stone image of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Nara Simha, the half lion and half human form, and then transferred the spirit into the stone. This fine image of Nara Simha made in 1673 still stands in the Nasal Chok. In 1650, he commissioned for the construction of Mohan Chok in the palace. This chok remained the royal residential courtyard for many years and is believed to store a great amount of treasure under its surface. Pratap Malla also built Sundari Chok about this time. He placed a slab engraved with lines in fifteen languages and proclaimed that he who can understand the inscription would produce the flow of milk instead of water from Tutedhara, a fountain set in the outer walls of Mohan Chok. However elaborate his constructions may have been, they were not simply intended to emphasize his luxuries but also his and the importance of others' devotion towards deities. He made extensive donations to temples and had the older ones renovated. Next to the palace, he built a Krishna temple, the Vamsagopala, in an octagonal shape in 1649. He dedicated this temple to his two Indian wives, Rupamati and Rajamati, as both had died during the year it was built. In Mohan Chok, he erected a three roofed Agamachem temple and a unique temple with five superimposing roofs. After completely restoring the Mul Chok, he also donated to the adjoining Taleju Temple. To the main temple of Taleju, he donated metal doors in 1670. He rebuilt the Degutale Temple built by his grandfather, Siva Simha, and the Taleju Temple in the palace square. As a substitute to the Indreswara Mahadeva Temple in the distant village of Panauti he built a Shiva temple, Indrapura, near his palace in the square. He carved hymns on the walls of the Jagannath Temple as prayers to Taleju in the form of Kali.

At the Southern end of the square, near the Kasthamandapa, which was the main city crossroads for early traders, he built another pavilion named Kavindrapura, the mansion of the king of poets. In this mansion he set an idol of dancing Shiva, Nasadyo, which today is highly worshipped by dancers in the Valley.

In the process of beautifying his palace, he added fountains, ponds, and baths. In Sundari Chok, he established a low bath with a golden fountain. He also built a small pond, the Naga Pokhari, in the palace adorned with Nagakastha, a wooden serpent, which is said he had ordered stolen from the royal pond in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. He also restored the Licchavi stone sculptures such as the Jalasayana Narayana, the Kaliyadamana, and the Kala Bhairav. An idol of Jalasayana Narayana was placed in a newly created pond in the Bhandarkhal garden in the Eastern wing of the palace. As a substitute to the idol of Jalasayana Narayana in Buddhanilkantha, he channeled water from Buddhanilkantha to the pond in Bhandarkhal due bestow authenticity. The Kalyadana, a manifestation of Lord Krishna destroying Kaliya, a water serpent, is placed in Kalindi Chok, which is adjacent to the Mohan Chok. The approximately ten feet high image of terrifyingly portrayed Kal Bhairav is placed near the Jagannath Temple. This image is the focus of worship in the chok especially during Durga Puja.

With the death of Pratap Malla in 1674, the overall emphasis on the importance of the square also came to a halt. His successors retained relatively insignificant power and the prevailing ministers took control of most of the royal rule. The ministers encountered little influence under these kings and, increasingly, interest of the arts and additions to the square was lost on them. They focused less on culture than Pratap Malla during the three decades that followed his death, steering the city and country more towards the arenas of politics and power, with only a few minor constructions made in the square. These projects included Parthivendra Malla building a temple referred to as Trailokya Mohan or Dasavatara, dedicated to Lord Vishnu in 1679. A large statue of Garuda, the mount of Lord Vishnu, was added in front of it a decade later. Parthivendra Malla also added a pillar with image of his family in front of the Taleju Temple.

Around 1692, Radhilasmi, the widowed queen of Pratap Malla, erected the tall temples of Shiva known as Maju Deval near the Garuda image in the square. This temple stands on nine stepped platforms and is one of the tallest buildings in the square. Then her son, Bhupalendra Malla, took the throne and banished the widowed queen to the hills. His death came early at the age of twenty one and his widowed queen, Bhuvanalaksmi, built a temple in the square known as Kageswara Mahadev. The temple was built in the Newari style and acted as a substitute for worship of a distant temple in the hills. After the earthquake in 1934, the temple was restored with a dome roof, which was alien to the Newari architecture.

Jayaprakash Malla, the last Malla king to rule Kathmandu, built a temple for Kumari, Durga in her virginal state. The temple was named Kumari Bahal and was structured like a typical Newari vihara. In his house resides the Kumari, an immature girl who is revered as the living goddess. He also made a chariot for Kumari and in the courtyard had detailed terra cotta tiles of that time laid down.

During the Shah dynasty that followed, the Kathmandu Durbar Square saw a number of changes. Two of the most unique temples in the square were built during this time. One is the Nautale, a nine storied building known as Vasantapur Durbar. It has four roofs and stands at the end of Nasal Chok at the East side of the palace. It is said that this building was set as a pleasure house. The lower three stories were made in the Newari farmhouse style. The upper floors have Newari style windows, sanjhya and tikijhya, and some of them are slightly projected from the wall. The other temple is annexed to the Vasantapur Durbar and has four-stories. This building was initially known as Vilasamandira, or Lohom Chok, but is now commonly known as Basantapur or Tejarat Chok. The lower floors of the Basantapur Chok display extensive woodcarvings and the roofs are made in popular the Mughal style. Archives state that Prthivi Narayan Shah built these two buildings in 1770.

Rana Bahadur Shah was enthroned at the age of two. Bahadur Shah, the second son of Prithivi Narayan Shah, ruled as a regent for his young nephew Rana Bahadur Shah for a close to a decade from 1785 to 1794 and built a temple of Shiva Parvati in the square. This one roofed temple is designed in the Newari style and is remarkably similar to previous temples built by the Mallas. It is rectangular in shape, and enshrines the Navadurga, a group of goddesses, on the ground floor. It has a wooden image of Shiva and Parvati at the window of the upper floor, looking out at the passersby in the square. Another significant donation made during the time of Rana Bahadur Shah is the metal-plated head of Swet Bhairav near the Degutale Temple. It was donated during the festival of Indra Jatra in 1795, and continues to play a major role during the festival every year. This approximately twelve feet high face of Bhairav is concealed behind a latticed wooden screen for the rest of the year. The following this donation Rana Bahadur donated a huge bronze bell as an offering to the Goddess Taleju. Together with the beating of the huge drums donated by his son Girvan Yudha, the bell was rung every day during the daily ritual worship to the goddess. Later these instruments were also used as an alarm system. However, after the death of his beloved third wife Kanimati Devi due to smallpox, Rana Bahadur Shah turned mad with grief and had many images of gods and goddesses smashed including the Taleju statue and bell, and Sitala, the goddess of smallpox.

In 1908, a palace, Gaddi Durbar, was built using European architectural designs. The Rana Prime Ministers who had taken over the power but not the throne of the country from the Shahs Kings from 1846 to 1951 were highly influenced by European styles. The Gaddi Durbar is covered in white plaster, has Greek columns and adjoins a large audience hall, all foreign features to Nepali architecture. The balconies of this durbar were reserved for the royal family during festivals to view the square below.

Time and again the temples and the palaces in the square have gone through reconstruction after being damaged by natural causes or neglect. Presently there are less than ten quadrangles in the square. The temples are being preserved as national heritage sites and the palace is being used as a museum. Only a few parts of the palace are open for visitors and the Taleju Temples are only open for people of Hindu and Buddhist faith.

Some of the parts of the square like the Hatti Chok near the Kumari Bahal in the Southern section of the square were removed during restoration after the devastating earthquake in 1934. While building the New Road, the Southeastern part of the palace was cleared away, leaving only fragments in places as reminders of their past. Though decreased from its original size and attractiveness from its earlier seventeenth century architecture, the Kathmandu Durbar Square still displays an ancient surrounding that spans abound five acres of land. It has palaces, temples, quadrangles, courtyards, ponds, and images that were brought together over three centuries of the Malla, the Shah, and the Rana dynasties.

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This is the image of Mayadevi temple in Lumbini, the birth place of lord Buddha and by the side is Lord Buddha Meditating.

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The image of fistail reflects in the lake fewa and the lake fewa acts as a natural mirror... what a wonderful scene.

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Mount. Everest, the highest peak in the world. Height : 8848 meters. It boarders Nepal and Tibet.

Age of Everest:


Everest was formed about 60 million years ago
Elevation:


29,035 (8850m)-found to be 6' higher in 1999
Name in Nepal:


Sagarmatha (means: goddess of the sky)
In Tibet:


Chomolungma: (means: mother goddess of the universe)
Named after:


Sir George Everest in 1865 ,the British surveyor-general of India. Once known as Peak 15
Location:


Latitude 27° 59' N.....Longitude 86° 56' E It's summit ridge seperates Nepal and Tibet
First Ascent:


May 29,1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary, NZ and Tenzing Norgay, NP, via the South Col Route
First Solo Ascent:


Aug. 20,1980, Reinhold Messner, IT, via the NE Ridge to North Face
First winter Ascent:


Feb. 17,1980 -L.Cichy and K. Wielicki, POL
First Ascent by an American:


May 1,1963, James Whittaker, via the South-Col
Mt. Everest rises a few milimeters each year due to geological forces
Everest Name:


Sir George Everest was the first person to record the height and location of Mt. Everest, this is where Mt."Everest" got its name from(In american language)
First Ascent by a Woman:


May 16,1975, Junko Tabei, JAP, via the South-Col
First Ascent by an American Woman:


Sep.29,1988, Stacey Allison, Portland, OR via the South-East Ridge
First Oxygenless Ascent:


May 8, 1978- Reinhold Messner, IT, and Peter Habeler, AUT, via the South-East Ridge
First woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest from both north & south sides:


Cathy O'Dowd (S.A.) South May 25,1996/North '99
Fastest Ascent from South:


Babu Chhiri Sherpa 34, NP-16 hours and 56 minutes (5-21-2000)
Fastest Ascent (north side):


Hans Kammerlander (IT) May,24,1996, via the standard North Col Ridge Route, 16 hours 45 minutes from base camp
Youngest person:


Temba Tsheri (NP) 15 on May,22,2001
Oldest Person:


Sherman Bull May,25,2001 -64 yrs
First Legally Blind Person:


Erik Weihenmeyer May,25,2001
Most Ascents:


Eleven, 24th May 2000 Appa Sherpa became the first person to climb Everest 11 times-Ten, Ang Rita Sherpa, Babu Chiri Sherpa all ascents were oxygen-less.
Best and Worst Years on Everest:


1993, 129 summitted and eight died (a ratio of 16:1); in 1996, 98 summitted and 15 died (a ratio of 6½:1)
Highest cause cause of death:


Avalanches-about a (2:1) ratio over falls
Country with most deaths on mountain:


Nepal-46
Most dangerous area on mountain:


Khumbu Ice Fall-19 deaths
First ski descent:


Davo Karnicar (Slovenia) 10-7-2000
Last year without ascent:


1974
Last year without ascent:


1977
Corpses remaining on Everest:


about 120
Longest stay on top:


Babu Chiri Sherpa stayed at the summit full 21 hours and a half
Largest team:


In 1975, China tackled Everest with a 410-member team.
Fastest descent:


In 1988, Jean-Marc Boivin of France descended from the top in just 11 minutes, paragliding.
Only climber to climb all 4 sides of Everest:


Kushang Sherpa, now an instructor with Himlayan Mountaineering Institute
First person to hike from sea level to summit, no oxygen.:


11th May 1990,Tim Macartney-Snape, Australian
Largest number to reach the top in one day:


40, on May 10, 1993
First person to summit Everest twice:


Nawang Gombu-Nepal(once with Whitaker in '63,and again two years later in '65)Gombu now works for the Himalayan mountaineering institute

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Nepal, a south asian country relatively small in area (147,181 sq km) is the birth place of Lord Buddha and is also known as the home of Himalayas. It has become a nice destination for the travellers who want adventerous climbings or the spritual enlightenment.

Closed before 1951 to the foreign visitors the peaks are now open to anyone in the world who want to win the adventerous peaks.

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