God for removing obstacles

The temple of Jal Binayak near the Chovar defile of the Bagmati is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. The elephant-headed Hindu god of wisdom, literature and worldly success, Lord Ganesh is also the remover of obstacles and the one to bring good luck in one’s life. Ganesh received a blessing from Lord Shiva, his father that Lord Ganesh would be worshiped first before starting any puja. Hence, any puja or beginning of new work would be incomplete without worshiping him that explains the presence of numerous big and small temples of Lord Ganesh in various temple premises and the alleys.

Ganesh has many names and is known by various different names in many parts of Nepal on different occasions. Bignaharta (remover of Obstacles), Ganapati (leader of the Shiva’s attendants), etc. are some of his most popular names. Ga means ‘knowledge’, na means ‘salvation’, isa and pati means ‘lord’, hence, Ganesh or Ganapati also means the ‘Lord of knowledge and salvation’.

The temple of Jal Binayak that exists today was constructed in 1603 but the sanctuary is much older than that. The temple has three roofs displayed on the wood-stalls that have various images of Ganesh depicting his numerous forms over the small erotic images. A huge rat statue is settled on a tall rectangular pedestal facing towards the image of Ganesh in the sanctuary.

The image of the god inside the temple is like an unshaped rock. The temple also receives animal sacrifices that mostly include poultry. The elephant symbolizes devotion, patience and truth while the modaka he holds in his trunk indicates the sweet atma beneath the outer layer of sordid self, yet to be discovered by everyone.

Devotees come to the temple with a belief that worshiping Lord Ganesh will help them overcome the obstacles and bring prosperity in their lives. The temple is crowded with the devotees on Tuesdays, which is also considered as the day belonging to Lord Ganesh.