Ashok Binayak temple
Lord Ganesh is considered as the one who could take away all the sorrows and troubles from one’s life. That is why, he is also known by the name of Bignaharta (one who takes away the troubles). There are numerous temples of Lord Ganesh in Nepal and almost every chowk and alley in Kathmandu has at least one temple dedicated to him. One of the most important temples of Lord Ganesh is that of Ashok Binayak.
Situated in the premises of Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square in Maru tole is the temple of Ashok Binayak. Although this temple has been overshadowed by the Kasthamandap temple, it still observes maximum number of devotees paying their respects to the god. The temple holds significant position in the life of the former Royals as well as the common Nepalese. The actual date of the origin of the temple is still unfolded but it is said to be restored during the 19th century.
According to the legends, the temple came to existence when people miraculously found the idol of Lord Ganesh on the very spot where the temple stands today. It was long before Hanuman Dhoka palace came to existence and the entire area was a jungle. As the area was cramped by the Ashok trees, the people could not add pinnacle to the temple and named it Ashok Binayak, after the trees.
The image of the god inside the temple is made up of stone and is attached to the inner walls of the temple with the golden replica of the Ashok trees above it. Also, a metal replica of the god is made which is carried out during the procession on the eight day of Dashain. Animal sacrifices takes place on this day and the idol was formerly taken to the Narayanhiti Palace and Singha Durbar (Prime Minister’s Office), for offerings. It is believed that a visit to the shrine and praying here prior to travel ensures safety. Opposite to the temple is a golden idol of a rat, Lord Ganesh’s transport.