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Budhanilkantha Temple

Budhanilkantha, a famous pilgrimage site, is in Kathmandu city of Nepal. It is in the north of Kathmandu valley, at the foot of Shivapuri. The idol of Chaturbahu Narayan is lying in a pond in Budhanilkantha. This is the largest stone statue of ancient Nepal. The statue of Budhanilkantha is believed to have been made in the Lichhavi period. However, no temple has been made till now to set up this statue. The statue is in a pond under the open sky. A big fair is held in this temple on the day of Haribodhani i.e., big Ekadashi. Lord Vishnu, who slept on Harishyani Ekadashi in the month of Asar, wakes up from his sleep and observes the world. The idol of Lord Budhanilkantha is very old.

Address – Kathmandu

The original deity – Bishnu, Shiva

Visiting Hours: Anytime

Art Sally- A huge statue of sleeping Bisnu

Religion – Hindu

Main Festivals- Haribondhini Ekadashi, Shrawan, Monday etc.

The meaning of Budhanilkantha in Sanskrit is ‘Old Blue Throat’. This name was given to Lord Shiva by other gods after he drank the poison to save the universe. Whether it is for those who are interested in religious activities or for enjoying the greenery, Budhanilkantha temple is rich in everything. Be it for those who are happy with the chirping of birds or for the public who want to see Kathmandu from the hills, everyone prefers visiting this temple at least once in a lifetime.

Origin of Budhanilkantha

Many legends are found about the origin of Budhanilkantha. No one knows exactly where and when this temple first originated. As per one legend, it is said that in ancient times, a king of Nepal used to visit the shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath in India. Pleased with that, Harihar said to the king, “I will be born in Nepal, you don’t have to go anywhere else to visit me.” Then Budhanilkantha originated here.

According to another legend, when a farmer was digging his field, the toe of the idol was injured, and blood was also seen. Later, excavated at the site, the huge statue was found. The farmer then dug up the idol and placed it in the same pond. As the name of the farmer was Nilakantha, the idol was also named Budhanilkantha.

As per another legend, King Pratap Malla wanted to place the magnificent idol of Budhanilkantha in the courtyard of Hanuman Dhoka from there and install it. There is a legend that once a King saw the dream where he was told not to move the idol and he and his successors should not even visit this idol, if they do, it will be unlucky. Therefore, later, Pratap Malla erected a statue of Budhanilkantha at Balaju, which is still found there. Also, from this time onwards, the Shah and Malla kings of Nepal were barred from seeing and worshipping Budhanilkantha.


The main idol of Nilakantha is made by using black stone that is carved from a black basalt. The idol is 5m/16.4ft tall and is kept in the centre of the pond. The pond is 13m/42.65 ft long. It portrays the God leaning on the loop of the heavenly serpent Shesha. The deity has Sudarshana Chakra, club, a gem, and a conch shell on his four hands. Similarly, the deity is embellished with a crown carved with multiple Kirtimukha images. Even though this temple is considered the holy place of Hindus, Buddhists also equally visit here, which depicts the religious harmony in Nepal.


Here, the daily priests of Budhanilkantha offer bath, adornment as well as shrikhand, sandalwood, saffron, barley, sesame, flower, lamps, prasad and so on. Aarti is performed daily in the evening. Guthi is available for worship. It is customary to hold fairs at this holy place on Mondays throughout the month of Shrawan, Kartik Shulkadvadashi and throughout the month of Baisakh. At this time, special worship of God is done. This temple attracts many internal and external tourists.

How to get there?

Budhanilkantha temple is 8km away from Kathmandu. To reach there, you can either use private vehicles or local buses. Lots of local buses depart from Ratnapark to Budhanilkantha daily. Temple is around 7km away from Ratnapark. Likewise, you can also get to the temple by travelling 9km from Thamel. The nearest bus stops from Budhanilkantha temple are Chapali Bus Stop and Panchakanya Marga Bus Stop. We suggest you either travel there via bike or hire a car as it will provide a comfortable journey.

Similarly, visitors can rest and enjoy special dishes in the restaurants and cafes located nearby there. They can also choose to hike in the Shivapuri National Park after worshipping to get fresh and cool air.

Thus, Budhanilkantha is one of the hidden tourist destinations in Nepal where you can explore the sleeping statue of Vishnu. Moreover, you can also learn about the culture and traditions of Hindus.

-By: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal

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