There is a famous Naxal Bhagwati temple in Naxal of Kathmandu. There is a smooth and attractive idol of Naxal Bhagwati in the magnificent temple at the lower floor. As discussed in the genealogies, these goddesses were established around the Lichhavi period. The Naxal Bhagwati, Shobha Bhagwati and Nala Bhagwati of the valley have similar idols and it is customary to consider these goddesses as sisters. A similar idol is found in Palanchowk Bhagwati.
Naxal Bhagwati Temple is open at 6 am in the morning. It is closed around 7 pm in the evening. Similarly, the temple also remains closed between 2pm to 5pm in the afternoon.
Naxal Bhagwati is one of the famous Shakti Peeths of Kathmandu Valley. This temple has a statue of a goddess with sixteen arms. Devotees in the Kathmandu Valley have great faith in Naxal Bhagwati, who is worshiped as Bhagwati Durga. A big fair is held in this area during the Navratri of Dashain. Devotees believe that after worshipping this temple, they will not suffer from any kind of difficulties and all their wishes will be fulfilled.
History of Naxal Bhagwati
According to a legend, about the origin of the Naxal Bhagwati, around 1000 years after the beginning of Kali Yuga, during the reign of King Bikram Keshari, who ruled in Kantipur, an artist made a magnificent idol of Bhagwati and gave it to Rani Navsagar. Queen became happy with that and asked to establish the idol of Bhagwati in Naxal in her own name. The goddess was named Navsagar Bhagwati. It is believed that in time she was called Naxal Bhagwati.
As the form of these goddesses was very frightening, the idol used to be buried in a ditch and it was customary to worship her there. Later, a king named Shankar Dev removed the idol from the pit, installed it, and started the practice of rath yatra on the day of Pretachaturdashi. From time to time, the temple of these goddesses was renovated.
This temple is straightly designed, which is a few miles far from the shops and buildings. Its architecture is one of the main reasons behind the popularity of this temple. It is built in pagoda style. It has a three-tiered roof. Among those three roofs, two are copper plated. There are several other deities around this temple, which adds charm to Naxal Bhagwati.
Since the innovation of this temple, Karmacharya priests are ruling over this temple. They look after all the management and control of this temple. Naxal Bhagwati is worshipped by following the tantric method by priests rather than Vedic rites. Since they have been following this method for centuries, this culture and tradition have been passed down to generations of the priest’s families since the 5th century.
Crowd around Naxal Bhagwati
Naxal Bhagwati receives a high number of pilgrims in day-to-day patterns as tantric worship is performed here every day. However. Comparatively the flow of devotees is more on Saturday. Talking about special occasions, this temple carries the important significance during Dashain festival. As per Hinduism, Goddess Bhagwati is also known as Goddess Durga who defeats the demons in a battle. So, Navratri marks the day of victory when Goddess Durga saves this world from the bad spirit and eyes of demons. So, to celebrate the happy day of Goddess Durga, special pooja is organized here on the 9th day of Dashain.
Besides this, pilgrims also flock around this temple during Ghode Jatra and Chaite Dashain. It is believed that visiting this temple during special occasions will provide protection from any unpredictable bad spirits. Whenever people visit this temple, most of them sacrifice the different animals to please the Goddess Bhagwati and get their wishes fulfilled. Likewise, on special occasions like this, the Naxal Temple Management Committee also organizes the Bhajan and other fairs, which attract the locals and devotees from around the Kathmandu valley.
Deities around Naxal Bhagwati
This temple not only houses the idol of Goddess Bhagwati, but also the idols of other Gods and Goddesses. You can find the small temple of Lord Shiva where the attractive statue of Shiva is placed. Similarly, there is also the charming idol of Radha and Krishna around the premises of the temple. Moreover, there are also special idols brought from Rajasthan, India having unique designs.
As per the management committee, the number of visitors in this temple is decreasing day by day because of the lack of proper promotion. Similarly, a few years back, pilgrims used to have strong beliefs in this temple, however nowadays the beliefs of the pilgrims are declining which has resulted in less inflow of visitors. Moreover, the premises of the temple are becoming dirtier and the idols inside the temple are also damaged. The 2015 earthquake had also damaged this temple slightly; however, the renovation work is being carried on and most of them have already completed. Since this temple is located in very crowded streets, one can’t find the quiet atmosphere on busy days.
Located in central Kathmandu, this temple has huge potential in increasing the religious and cultural values in the society. If the promotion work is carried out and some renovation is made, then the inflow of devotees can be again increased.
-By: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal