Budhanilkantha

Visit the holy Budhanilkantha Temple to offer prayers at one of the most-loved Vishnu temples of the valley. Observe the intricate artwork that went into the sculpting of the magnificent 5th century of image of the sleeping Vishnu almost alike in features to the Buddha. You could combine the trip with visit to the Shivapuri National Park just above it. Transportation options are aplenty, but you could also bike all the way to Budhanilkantha and hike onward.

Budhanilkantha, situated at the foot of the Shivpuri Hills in the northern-most part of the Kathmandu Valley, is about 8 km from the city. The shrine with probably the largest stone statue of Lord Vishnu in Nepal is reclining on a bed of Nagas or serpents in the middle of a small pond. The 5-m long granite image carved out of a single rock dates back to the Lichchhavi period.

According to folklore, a farmer was working on his field one day when his plough struck a boulder, and to his surprise and alarm, blood started oozing out of the cut in the stone. Upon digging around the huge boulder, he unearthed the magnificent image of the reclining Vishnu that had remained buried in the ground. A big mela (fair) is held at Budhanilkantha on the auspicious two main Ekadashis, Harishayani and Haribodhini, marking the 4-month period when Lord Vishnu is believed to retire to sleep.