Budhanilkantha temple is a Hindu temple which is located at the base of Shivapuri hills within the region of Kathmandu Valley in the northern side. It is also called as Narayanthan temple. Budhanilkantha literally means “old blue throat”. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Budhanilkantha temple is housing of a large sleeping statue of Lord Vishnu which is considered as the largest stone carving of Nepal. This large sleeping statue of Lord Vishnu, which is black in color, is made up of a single block of black basalt and is resting over water pool which is thirteen meters (42.65 feet) long and the statue itself is five meters long. This Licchhavi-style statue of Lord Vishnu was made in the 7th or 8th century in the Licchhavi period and is called as the sleeping Vishnu or Jalakshayan Narayan. This beautifully made statue of Lord Vishnu has legs crossed across each other, head is resting on the eleven heads of shesh nag (eleven headed cobra) and all four of his hands are holding such objects that qualify his divine qualities. His first hand is holding a chakra or a disc that represents the mind, second hand has a conch-shell that represents the four basic elements, his third hand contains a lotus flower which is representing the moving universe and representing primeval knowledge, the fourth hand holds the club.
There is a story behind the literal meaning of Budhanilkantha, which is “old blue throat”. This title refers to Shiva. The gods unintentionally unleashed a poison that was threatening to destroy the world, because of which they begged to Lord Shiva to save them from their blunder and he saved them by drinking the poison. His throat started burning because of which he flew to the north of Kathmandu, struck the mountainside and created a lake, Gosainkunda, with his trident, and satisfied his thirst by drinking the water from the Gosainkunda Lake. But this left a blue patch on his throat. It is now believed that the water that is under the sleeping Vishnu is from Gosainkunda. This great sleeping statue of Lord Vishnu is said to be about thousand years old.
Reaching Budhanilkantha Temple
Budhanilkantha temple is located only nine kilometers away from the main city so one can reach there easily by hiring a tax or else by using a bus service. Hindus can enter the temple easily and without any hesitation they can even touch the statue and get themselves photographed but the foreigners or non-Hindus are restricted to enter the temple. People perform pilgrimage in this temple to see their wishes come true. King Pratap Malla saw a dream and on the basis of his dream he used to strongly believe that death will immediately fall on the King of Nepal right after he views this statue, so the Kings avoided visiting this temple.
Festivals and Events
The main festival that is celebrated in the Budhanilkantha temple is the Haribodhini Ekadashi, the festival that is celebrated in late October or early November. In this particular festival, Lord Vishnu, who has been sleeping during the whole Chaturmasya (four months periods), wakes up. Many hundreds and thousands of Hindus come to this temple to celebrate this festival. People who visit this temple never forget it till the rest of their lives.