Manakamana means “having one’s wishes fulfilled”. Hence, Manakamana in Gorkha is one of the most visited temples in Nepal where devotees from all over Nepal and abroad throng the temple daily to offer prayers and sacrifices to the goddess in the belief that this will fulfill their wishes.
Accessibility to this temple, which is perched on the top of a steep hill, has been enhanced by the addition of a modern cable car system which ferries the traveler from the base station on the major highway to the temple premises in just over 10 minutes. The temple is a two-tiered pagoda built in a large courtyard. Goddess Manakamana is enshrined in the form of a shila, or a large boulder, inside the temple. There are four other boulders adjacent to it representing the deities Bhairab, Ganesh, Kumari and Betaal.
Legend has it that the temple originated during the reign of King Ram Shah of Gorkha, ancestor of the Shah kings, in the 16th century. The queen was believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Durga. So when the king died, as per the Sati customs then, the queen prepared to burn herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. She told her most faithful servant that she would be reborn as a goddess in the form of a shila, and he and his successors were to worship her. The temple thus came into being at the spot where the shila was found. The “pujari”, or main priest, at the temple is a Magar by ethnicity as per the directives of the Sati queen.
The temple lies in Gorkha from where the unification of Nepal started under King Prithvi Narayan Shah. The Shah kings of Nepal were great devotees of this deity. Devotees make offerings of animal sacrifices to the goddess. Especially Saturdays and Tuesdays see maximum rush when it takes hours just to get a glimpse of the goddess in the temple. One can have panoramic views of the Manaslu and Annapurna peaks from the temple complex. There is the Bakreshwar Shiva Temple and Siddha Gupha (cave) at about an hour’s walk from the temple.
Let’s visit Manakamana with Ashirwad !