Housing no less than the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the abundance of temples in Nepal is not at all surprising. In fact, if there is anything that would trump Nepal’s popularity for its mountain ranges, it would be the numerous temples located all over the country.
If you want to better understand the culture and heritage of Nepal, or if you simply want to wind down and marvel at these unique pieces of architecture, then you should not miss out on visiting some of the most popular temples in the country. If you are not sure which temples to visit first, here is a handy list of the most popular ones.
Popular temples in Nepal which you should definitely visit
This list is by no means an exhaustive list of all temples in Nepal, but if you have limited time for exploring the country, then this rundown is a good place to start:
1) Pashupatinath Temple
The Pashupatinath Temple is easily among the most popular and most revered temples in Nepal. This temple is devoted to Shiva and is considered among the Paadal Petra Sthalams (or the Holy Abodes of Shiva) in Asia. In addition, the264-hectare -complex housing the Pashupatinath Temple has been considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. If you do not have much time to visit other temples, then you should go Pashupatinath Temple instead so you can drop by any of the other 518 temples and monuments located in the same complex.
2) Changu Narayan Temple
If you want to see a temple with both religious and historical significance, then you should pay a visit to the Changu Narayan Temple, the oldest temple in Nepal. The said temples is adorned with the carvings of various Tantrik deities, as well as the stone statues of various animals. The Changu Narayan Temple features a two-tiered pagoda style architecture and is dedicated to Vishnu.
3) Muktinath Temple
This temple is located around 20 kilometers from Jomson and at a height of roughly 3800 meters above sea level. The Muktinath Temple holds significance for Buddhists and Hindus alike, so you will likely find a lot of people visiting the temple. The temple houses a life-sized golden statue of Sri Vishnu Bhagwan appearing as Sri Mukti Narayana, as well as bronze images of various other gods and goddesses.
4) Varaha Temple
The Varaha Temple is ranked as one of the four greatest pilgrimage sites for Hindus in Nepal. The temple is adorned with 5th-century sculptures. Out front lies a stone which supposedly tests how free an individual is from sins. Anyone who can manage to lift the stone is considered to be free of sins. The temple is also filled with boar statues dedicated to Varaha, the third avatar of Vishnu. It is believed that the Varaha Temple was built on the same spot where Vishnu in the form of Varaha Avatar killed Hiranyakashipu.
5) Manakamana Temple
Unlike the previous temple which is dedicated to Vishnu, the Manakamana Temple is a shrine dedicated to the Goddess Parvati. People who visit the temple fervently believes that whoever worships the temple by their heart, selflessly, will have all of their dreams come true. The temple is constructed in a distinctive square shape and is right under a big magnolia tree.
6) Dakshinkali Temple
Located roughly 22 kilometers from Kathmandu, the Dakshinkali Temple is among the most revered temples for the Goddess Kali. During festivals, pilgrims flock to this temple to make animal sacrifices of cockerels and uncastrated male goats. The temple was built in the 14th century after the Goddess Kali supposedly appeared in the dream of a Malla King. Per the Goddess Kali’s command, the said king built the Dakshinkali Temple and adorned the same with four golden serpents, as well as the stone carvings of Bhairava, Asthamatrikas, and Ganesha.
7) Bajrayogini Temple
This temple is located in Bhaktapur and is dedicated to Bajrayogini, one of the goddesses of wisdom. The Bajrayogini Temple is a Tantrik temple. The main temple is eye-catching, having been made to be three stories high and with keen attention to details. The Bajrayogini Temple houses a statue of the goddess, featuring a red face with three eyes and carefully positioned and well-decorated hands and fingers.
8) Bangalamukhi Temple
As with the Bajrayogini Temple, the Bangalamukhi Temple is also dedicated to one of the 10 wisdom goddesses. The temple, like the goddess it reveres, symbolizes the potent female force, much like Bangalamukhi who is known to have turned defeats into victories and failures into achievements. The Bangalamukhi Temple is especially popular among young people in Nepal, particularly women. Unmarried devotees also visit the Bangalamukhi Temple in hopes of getting divine help in finding their desired spouses. Married couples, meanwhile, visit the temple to pray for good children.
9) Dantakali Temple
The Dantakali Temple is of interesting origin. The temple came to be because it is believed that its site is where Shiva dropped a tooth while roaming around after the death of Satidevi. In addition to the temple itself, the general area is also beautiful given the surrounding green hills. It also offers a great view of the Dharan Bazaar. The best time to visit the Dantakali Temple would be during the Dashain festival when devotees flock to the temple.
These are just some of the eight most popular temples in Nepal but, as mentioned in passing earlier, there are hundreds more in Nepal. In fact, complexes housing major temples tend to house other smaller temples. That said, you certainly would not have to worry about having difficulty finding temples in Nepal. Wherever you might decide to visit, you will certainly have no problem finding a temple there.
Nevertheless, if you are finding it a bit hard to choose which temples to visit first, the list above should be a good place to start. After all, these popular temples are popular among Nepalis and tourists alike for good reason. Regardless of your religious beliefs, you would certainly find these temples peaceful and enchanting in their own ways.