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About 5 kilometers north of Kathmandu, at the base of the Sivapuri hills is a remarkable statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of coiled snakes. The statue said to be sculpted from a single block stone, is set in the middle of a small pond and appears to be floating in the water.
The stone image is said to be one of three statues sculpted during the Lichhavi period and called Budhanilkantha named after the huge image of Lord Vishnu. The five meter long statue called Bhuijassi by the local Newaris of the Liccchivi – age settlement at the base of Shivapuri hills is also known as Budhanilkanta. The village, now also known as Budhanilkantha, used to be called Thaturi Drung’ during ancient times. The most striking feature of the monument is its crown, which is always covered with either plain cloth, usually hidden under an accumulation of flowers. The priests in charge never allow a view of, nor uncover, the crown saying that it is against tradition. No photographs, pictures or first hand account of the features above the forehead is available. However, many cultural experts believe that there is a small image of Lord Buddha on the Vishnu’s crown.

Though the exact date of the construction of the image is unknown, the image is at least 1300 years old. An inscription of 641 AD erected by Vishnugupta is found in the area but no mention is made of the installation of the image.

The smooth black stone statue of Lord Vishnu with half closed eyes, sleek nose, and a smiling face is in a relaxed mood, and has his legs crossed at the ankles. He carries a discus, a mace, a conch and a lotus seed in each of his four hands, He wears heavy ornaments and a transparent dhoti is the only garment he wears, around a feminine waist with strong thighs and knees.

The four pillars standing at four corners of the image suggest that a roof might have covered the image. Perhaps, as the priests believe, the roof was destroyed as per God’s will and humans were not brave enough to go against God’s whishes.

There are stone images of Narayan, Ganesh, Surya, Ganga, Jamuna, Barah, Druga, Laxmi Narrayan and others in the pond area and idols of Hanuman, Laxminarayan, Ganesh, Bhimsen, Saraswati and Shivalinga as well as some bells encircles the holy pond

Legend has that King Suryaketu had it constructed during his reign but it lay buried for many centuries after an earthquake. Late, King Dharmagat saw the image and the location of the Budhanikantha in a dream and he excavated the ground. The people believe that the excavation caused the unparalleled image small damage on its nose. Others believe it was a farmer who discovered the image while working on his field.

Another interesting aspect related with the Vishnu idol at Budhanilkantha is that the king of Nepal is not supposed to view the statue, as it has been prophesized that death will occur if he does so. It is said that Lord Vishnu forbade the kings from visiting him because King Pratap Malla constructed a replica of the Budhanilkanntha against God’s will.

Symbolically, the Vishnu is seen as Naryana a float in the unfathomable cosmic ocean. Such imagers of Vishnu lying on a pond on the coiled snake Ananta with 1 head, is a popular image in the kathmandu valley. It is specifically called Jalasyana Narayan. It is believed that the destruction of the universe comes at regular intervals and he sleeps during such a period. Apart from that, he also slumbers for four months a year and wake up in summer. His waking p day is celebrated with much ceremony and believers and pilgrims gather n great masses at Budhanilkantha.

During auspicious days like the eleventh day of the lunar month the priests bathe, clean, perfume, fan the deity and decorate it with ornaments. They also keep a piece of cloth on his forehead to save the deity from the stark sunlight that comes over his face.

For further more information or to book your trip please:
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