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Budhanilkantha Temple in Budhanilkantha, Nepal is a Hindu open-air temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The word Budhanilkantha stands for Old Blue Throat in English.
The Budhanilkantha Temple is built below the Shivapuri Hill at the northern end of the Kathmandu Valley, and a massive reclining statue of Lord Vishnu marks this temple. Budhanilkantha's principal figure of the temple is considered Nepal's highest stone carving.
The Temple of Budhanilkantha, also known as the Temple of Narayanthan, is situated in Kathmandu. Located in the northernmost part of the Kathmandu Valley, at the foot of the Shivapuri hills, Budhanilkantha is about 8 km from the area.
While this temple is called Budhanilkantha, its name does not derive from the Buddha; Budhanilkantha stands for "Old Blue Throat" instead.
The statue symbolizes Lord Vishnu, who along with Brahma and Shiva is considered one of the 'Trimurtis.'
Some several buses and vans offer transportation from central Kathmandu, but you can also travel the entire way to Budhanilkantha or rent a taxi.
There are a few restaurants and cafés farther up from the temple just until you enter the shrine where you can pause for a cafe or a dinner. The air is cleaner up here, and a hike can be very refreshing in Shivapuri National Park.
The principal statue is a black stone frame built from a single black basalt base. The monument stands 5 meters tall (about 16.4 feet) and is positioned in the centre of a recessed water pool which is 13 meters deep.
It shows the god reclining on the divine serpent, Shesha's coils. He keeps in his four hands the Sudarshana Chakra, a Conch Shell, a club, and a gem.
He is well crowned with a crown decorated with several pictures of Kirtimukha and can also be seen alternating with a silver crown. A priest attends typically to accept offerings from devotees at the foot of the painting.
The Budhanilkantha Temple is a place of religious significance for followers of both Hinduism and Buddhism and is regarded as a perfect example of religious harmony.
According to ancient Hindu scriptures, a farmer and his wife were once ploughing their field when they struck a figure in the grounds, causing it to bleed in the farm.
This turned out to be the image of Budhanilkantha's missing god, who has been retrieved and put in his present location.
Another tradition says that during the reign of the seventh-century ruler Vishnu Gupta who ruled the Kathmandu Valley under the Lichchhavi King Bhimarjuna Dev, the statue was sculpted and taken to its present position in Kathmandu.
For several years the authorities suggested that the statue would remain afloat in the pool of water. In reality, the assertion was not proven or debunked by limited exposure to scientific rigour in 1957. Still, a tiny statue chip showed it to be silica-based stone but with a relatively low density comparable to lava rock.
The floating figure of Vishnu appears to fascinate, and the number of corresponding access requests to research its physical identity has been diminished till date.
A legend states that there was a prophetic vision of King Pratap Malla (1641–1674). That vision led him to believe that if they visited the Budhanilkantha Temple, the kings of Nepal would die.
Nepali monarchs have never visited the temple in fear of prophecy, after King Pratap Malla.
The Budhanilkantha Temple has been the location where on the 11th day of the Hindu month of Kartika (October – November) Haribondhini Ekadashi Mela is conducted.
It is attended by thousands of pilgrims and is the main festival of the temple in celebration of Lord Vishnu's awakening from his long sleep.