Monday, August 15, 2016

Day 9: Visit to Jal Narayan and Swayambunath

Budhanilkantha or Jal Narayan as it's also called is a beautiful open air temple in Kathmandu where Vishnu is seen sleeping on Aadishesha (cosmic multi headed serpent) in the middle of a small pond. The name however comes out differently hinting at Buddha or Shiva (literal meaning of Budhanilkantha denotes Shiva aka blue throated) - but it is neither, as the reclining diety is very much that of Vishnu (the statue is believed to be over 1000 years old). It is said that the water of the pond in which Vishnu lies comes from a lake in which Shiva immersed himself after consuming the poison that came out from churning the ocean - hence the name Budhanilkantha. The sthala purana goes that a farmer and his wife accidentally discovered the statue while ploughing their field (in the process striking the toe of the statue causing it to bleed). Even today, the toe of the diety seems slightly damaged/missing (as said by our taxi driver but I couldn't see that myself). As interesting as the history of the place, the temple is also wonderfully calm, peaceful and filled with a serene energy. And it's devoid of the regular tourists.

To my delight, I also saw two Rudraksha trees in the premises as well as met a local hotel owner (who was selling Rudraksha in the side) who took the time to explain how he collects the fruits, dries them and makes the Rudraksha from the trees. It was nice to finally see the tree from where the holy seeds believed to protect one's aura comes from.

Our next stop for the day was at Swayambunath, the second most sacred place of workship for Buddhists in the Kathmandu valley (after Boudanath). This Stupa is also called as the Monkey temple as there are many monkeys in the premises. Another beautiful and calm place, Swayambunath and it's monkeys made me fondly recall the monkeys at Ramana Ashram at Tiruvannamalai that sat on me and fed from my hands. It was a wonderful experience for me that reiterated that Love is universal across species and boundaries. All in all, Budhanilkantha and Swayambunath made for a beautiful day.

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