Char Narayan Yatra

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Holiday Style: 
Day Tour

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Char Narayan Temple Darsan

Nepal is a very religious country and Kathmandu—well—it’s the city of temples itself. With over 6000 small and big temples within the valley, you can imagine how rich in culture Kathmandu is. Lord Vishnu, one of the chief gods of Hinduism, is worshipped in many shrines around the capital. But the Char Narayan Temples (Four Narayan Temples) of Kathmandu Valley are the most famous and religiously significant temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu’s Narayan form. They are said to protect the valley from evil from their respective temple in the four corners on the outskirts of the city. Keep reading to know more about them!

Changu Narayan, Bhaktapur (The Eldest of Char Narayan)

Changu Narayan is one of the Char Narayan temple considered to be the oldest temples in Nepal. Situated on top of the Changu hill next to the holy Manahara River, this is one of the most important temples in Nepal not just religiously but also culturally and artistically.

The Changu Narayan temple is said to have been built by the Lichhavi king Haridatta Burma in 323 BC. Due to its rich history and beautiful architecture, this temple is now a major tourist destination and listed as one of the seven World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley. Considered to be the oldest ancient temple in the valley, it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1969.

According to legend, the temple was formed when a Brahmin and his cow herder cut down a tree where they believed a thief who was stealing their cow’s milk lived. Blood spewed out of the tree and Lord Vishnu emerged. After assuring them that it was not their fault, he explained that he was cursed due to his sins and finally achieved freedom. After hearing this, the Brahmin and cow herder decided to create a place of worship where the sacred tree once stood.

Bishankhu Narayan, Godawari

This temple is said to have been built by the Lichhavi king Haridutta Varma at Bandegoun, near Godawari, around 43-143 AD. This temple is relatively simple, with the object of worship being a plain rock. The structure is also not as grand as that of Changu Narayan. The temple can be reached by a steep stairway and through a small opening in between rocks. It is believed that an individual possesses humility if they can successfully pass through to the other side without getting stuck at the cavity, if they fail, that means that they have too much pride.

According to legend; the hillock near the temple was formed when Lord Vishnu defeated the demon Bhasmasura who; having attained the power to turn anybody he touched into ashes from Lord Shiva, had tried to test the power upon himself. This feat was achieved by Vishnu through not violence but pure cunningness.

The temple is especially popular among local devotees during the festival of Thulo Ekadashi in Kartik.

Ichangu Narayan, Nagarjun Hill (The Narayan of The West)

Built-in the two-tiered pagoda style, this temple was founded around 1200 AD. The premises are decorated with ancient statues of Garuda, Maha Laxmi, and other important deities in the Hindu pantheon. This temple is located to the northwest of Swayambhu hill and is somewhat secluded and surrounded by greenery. Thanks to its secluded location, it is popularly known as a hiking destination in Kathmandu. While it is part of the Char Narayan Temples of Kathmandu, the history of this temple is unclear.

Shesh Narayan, Pharping (The Narayana of The South)

Tucked beneath a rocky cliff wall and a Tibetan monastery, the Shesh Narayan temple is smaller than the rest but no less beautiful. The shrine is decorated by ponds and statues and the temple is said to have been built around the 17th century.


In the courtyard, there are several artfully carved Licchavi-era sculptures, including beautiful Garuda and Hanuman depictions. The ponds surrounding the temple are populated with carp which you can feed. It also has some semi-submerged carvings of various deities, including an image of Aditya. The area is often visited by worshippers and rituals may be visibly conducted. Just as the Ichangu Narayan Temple, the history surrounding this temple is also unclear.

Char Narayan Yatra

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