Budhanilkantha Temple, the house of the sleeping Vishnu
Budhanilkantha Temple is located at the base of the Shivapuri hill, at the northern side of the Kathmandu valley. The temple is also known as mystical Budhanilkantha temple or Narayansthan temple. ‘Budhanilkantha’ literally means ‘Old Blue Throat’.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu has many incarnations. One of them is the Narayan, the creator of all life and the god who rests on cosmic sea. The 5m-long image of Vishnu as Narayan was created in the 7th century from one huge piece of stone. This image is impressive and the shrine is one of the most important Vishnu shrine in the country. It was sculpted during the Licchavi period, probably somewhere outside the valley, and laboriously dragged here.
Narayan lies peacefully on a most unusual bed: the coils of the multiheaded snake, Ananta or Shesha. The snake’s 11 hooded heads rise protectively around Narayan’s head. Narayan’s four hands hold the four symbols of Vishnu: a chakra disc (representing the mind), a conch shell (the four elements), a mace (primeval knowledge), and a lotus seed (the moving universe).
Vishnu is supposed to sleep through the four monsoon months, waking up at the end of the monsoon. A great festival takes place at Budhanilkantha each November, on the day Vishnu is supposed to awaken from his long annual slumber.
The sleeping Vishnu image, which lies in a small sunken pond enclosure, attracts a constant stream of pilgrims and devotees from all around Nepal and India.
Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. Others can get unobstructed views from the fence surrounding the enclosure.
No fee is charged for entering the temple. Just in case you travel in your own vehicle, there is a parking fee of Rs 5.