When you are born and raised in a religious country like Nepal, you have so many things to follow and admire from every perspective that may be culture, religion or any other factor. I feel so blessed and lucky to be born in such as amazing country and I continue to learn and follow so many things in my day to day life. Among many factors, visiting temple is one of the divine ritual that I believe and follow whenever I get time. Visiting temple and worshipping god is almost like a daily ritual for most of Nepalese especially for our mothers and grandmothers. Even if we cannot visit the temple everyday, we Nepalese love to visit temple, any temple near or farby in weekends or during some occasion/ festival or some special events of our life to take blessings from god. There are many things that amuse and overwhelm me every time I visit the temple. In Nepal, every temple has its own specialty and attraction for its devotees. However, there are a few common things you can notice in almost every temple you visit. Among many, below are 3 common things, you can connect with whichever temple you visit.
1. Idol of Ganesh
Ganesh is one of the best known and most worshipped Hindu deities that you can find in every temple in Nepal. Known as the lord of beginnings, Ganesh is worshipped before starting any puja or important task of our life. It is believed no Puja/religious activities is complete without worshipping Lord Ganesh at first. We can even see many small or big idols of Ganesh in many small or big corners of our city we live in. Devotees believe that Lord Ganesha is a symbol of good luck and grants success, prosperity and protection against adversity. Therefore, Ganesh is a special and the most important god that is worshipped on almost every religious occasion and worshipped at the beginning of any prayers, important religious events, and before starting any new venture.
Why is Lord Ganesh regarded as the Lord of beginning?
There is a popular story of a race won by Ganesha against his brother Kartikeya. Once Lord Shiva told his sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya to go around the universe and he announced that whoever completed the task first would be the winner of the race and he would be worshipped first by all humans. Soon, Kartikeya sat on his peacock and started the journey around the universe whereas Ganesha walked around his parents Lord Shiva and Parbati, assuming them as the universe. Thus, impressed by Ganesha, Lord Shiva declared him as the winner and since then he is worshipped before every prayer and auspicious event.
The bell is regarded as a sacred object in Hindu culture. Every temple you visit in Nepal, you will see many bells or at least one bell hanging at the premises of the temple. Bell ringing is considered as an ancient Vedic ritual. It is believed that by ringing the bell, the devotee informs the deity of his/her arrival in the temple. Priests or devotees ring more bells within the temple during worship in order to invoke the gods. It is an age-old tradition to ring the bell of the temple upon entering its premises which continues till today.
What does the sound of bell refer?
Ringing the bell produces divine sound that is considered auspicious which welcomes divinity and dispels evil. The sound of bell is universally accepted as a way of communicating with the spirits or as a herald for arrival of supernatural, holy power. One of the main purpose of ringing temple bell is to disconnect you from the worldly thoughts so that you are ready from within to invoke the divinity inside you. It helps to bring your attention towards the god, only god and pray him from your deep heart remembering the deity intensely.
3.The Guardian Lions of Nepal
Did you know? Most temples in Nepal have stone guardians or some kind at their entrance way. Stone lions are the most common form of the guardian.
Nepal is home to many beautiful and renowned temples, shrines and stupas. Similarly, the Kathmandu- the Royal capital kingdom of Nepal is also known as “city of temples”. There is a unique factor that makes every temple different from one to another. One of the most amazing components that I was attracted is the statues of lions that we can see outside most of the temples. Lions are regarded as a common guardian of temples in Nepal that is believed to protect from evil. You will notice a pair of stone lions in many temples of Nepal considered – one male and female lion. These statues of stone lions are also a great example of excellent stone sculptors in Nepal.
What does a lion statue symbolize?
The lion is regarded as a symbol of honor, respect and power. In Buddhism, lion statues are said to bring peace and prosperity. The lion is popularly believed to have the power to repel evil and for this reason, it was habitually used to guard gates and doors from the ancient period of time.
The Golden Temple of Patan which is located in the narrow alleyway closeby Patan Durbar Square is one of the great places to see the fine example of a stone sculptor of lion statue, beautiful statue of Ganesh and many bells hanged around the premises of the temple. This temple makes the first impression by the guardians two giant stone lions at the gateway which is believed to be sculpted in 1886. The two lions out of which one is considered as a female lion are distinguished by human breasts.
Have you ever noticed these important religious things when you visit the temple?