The Gokarneshwor Mahadev Temple is one of the important pilgrimage site for both the Hindus and Buddhists. The site has been listed as an ancient settlement with Shakhu, Pharping, Changu, Hadigaun and others, by the Archaeological Department of Nepal. Gokarneshwor is an ancient place where different rituals, traditions and festivals are performed. Gokarneshwor is an ancient place where different rituals, traditions and festivals are performed.
Gokarneshwor Mahadev Temple is situated in Gokarneshwor Municipality ward no. 4. It is on the northeast side of the capital city, Kathmandu. This temple is on the bank of Bagmati River. The temple was built in the Lichhavi dynasty and is one of the oldest temples in Nepal. The temple is surrounded by a vast collection of stone statues and funeral ghats.
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Festival performed in this Temple
The main festival performed in this temple is on Father’s day called as “Kushe Aushi” (No moon day) that falls on the month on Bhadra (August/September), also known as Gokarne Aushi. Other festivals are “Pushe Aushi” (no moon day) that falls on the month of Poush (December/January) and called as “Pouch Gaya Aushi”, Shivaratri– worship of Lord Shiva (February/March), Janai Purnima, a day to wear sacred thread by the male who belongs to Hindus, this festival falls on the month of Bhadra (July/August), also called as “Rishi Tarpane Purnima”. Other highlighted festivals performed are Balachaturdashi, Achhya Tritiya, Harishayani Ekadashi, Krishna Janmasthami etc.
The Holy month Shrawan and its Monday
Monday is considered to be a day of Lord Shiva. Normally, the devotees of Lord Shiva took fest every Monday of a year. Simultaneously, a month Shrawan the fifth month of the Hindu calendar is considered the holiest month of the year. Each Monday of this month is known as Shrawan Sombar, and taken as a special day in the temple of Lord Shiva where the devotees worship the Linga. The precious items liked by Lord Shiva are offered during this time like Bel fruit, Vermilion Paste (Chandan), Food Items (Prasad), Incense, Lamp (Diyo), Betel Leaves and cow milk. This Temple gets a huge number of devotees during the Monday of Shrawan month.
- Legend has it that Lord Shiva was roaming the Gokarna forests in the disguise of a deer when the Gods came down looking for him. They recognized him and “captured” him by the horns. In the process, the horn broke into three pieces and the spot where Brahma buried these pieces is where the temple is located.
- The legend defines this place to be the meditating place of Ravana- a great villain of The Great Epic Ramayana, who is the real devotee of Lord Shiva.
- Buddhist chronicle- “Swyambhu Purana”, it is mentioned that the convergence and sacred bathing spots along the Bagmati River are recognized as the sites where the great Bodhisattvas appeared to end suffering. And it is believed that Gaganganja Bodhisattva appeared in the bank of Bagmati River at Gokarna. For the Buddhist, this place known as the “Sodhana Tirtha”. It is considered to be the habitant of the “Takshak Naga raja”- The king of Serpent. It is presented in the art of Kathmandu valley as a red snake forming a garland around the “Garuda”. Even the Kirants dynasty is believed to be settling down at this place. Inscription as archaeological evidence is also found in this area defining it to be the place of the Lichhavi Dynasty.
Sculpture of Deities in Gokarneshwor
While looking at the surrounding of Gokarneshwor, ancient stone sculptures are found. In the surrounding of Gokarneshwor Temple, the stone sculpture of different deities are placed. From the entrance to every direction of this temple is placed with the fabulous stone sculpture of different Hindu deities along with Gautam Buddha.