Changu Narayan Temple is the ancient temple of Hindu, located at the hilltop i.e Changu or Dolagiri. The temple was surrounded by the champak tree forest. Temple is situated in the midst of the small village named Changu of Changunarayan Municipality, Bhaktapur. This hill is about 7 to 13 km east of Kathmandu valley and a few north of Bhaktapur district. The river named Manohara flows beside the hill. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Changu Narayan temple is considered the oldest temple in the history of Nepal.

Legend of the Temple:

The Gwala (cow herder) had bought a cow from Bhramin named Sudarshan. Gwala daily took his cow to graze on Changu. The cow always went to a particular shade of a tree and a boy used to come there and drink the cow’s milk. When the activities were seen by the Gwala, he cuts the tree. While he cut the trees the fresh human blood came out of the trees. The Gwala got worried that he has done a crime. Lord Vishnu appeared in his real incarnation and said that Gwala committed a crime unknowingly cutting the tree. Vishnu then explained the whole story of Gwala, and Sudarshan was agreed to establish a small temple ad worship the temple. Gwala’s descendants were found as Guthiyars (conservators) and Sudarshan descendants were found as priests for that temple.

The art and architecture of Changu Narayan Temple:

It is considered to be the oldest temple in Nepal. It remained the milestone in the Nepali temple architectural design for a long period of time. There is controversy about the architectural design of this temple. According to Prof. Mr. Madhan Rimal, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tribhuvan University the temple was constructed neither in Sikhara nor in the pagoda style.

The Statue of Lord Vishnu surrounded this temple. We can also find the temples of Lord Shiva, Ashta Matrika, Kileshwor, Chhinnamasta, and Krishna inside the courtyard of the Main temple. There are four entrances to the temple, which are guarded by life-sized pairs of wild animals.

We can find Nepal’s oldest stone inscription in the pillars of this temple which was erected by the Licchivi King Mandeva in 464 AD.

Following sculptures are found in Changu Narayan Temple:

  • Historic Pillar
  • Garuda
  • Chanda Narayan or Garuda Narayan
  • Sridhar Vishnu
  • Vaikuntha Vishnu
  • Chhinnamasta
  • Vishworup
  • Vishnu Vikrant
  • Narasimha
  • Kileshwor

Entrance tickets for Changu Narayan Temple:

The information center entrance gate issues tickets for tourists.

Nationality Ticket Price (in NPR)
Nepali Free
Chinese Rs. 350
SAARC Citizens Rs. 250
Other foreigners Rs. 350

Best time to visit Changu Narayan:

Exploring Changu Narayan is best except public holidays, Saturday and the major hindu festival day.