Many versions of the legend of Manakamana abound but each tells the story of a 17th Century Queen of the King Ram Shah of Gorkha. She was said to leave her King’s bed every night to return in the morning. Knowing of her nightly sojourns, Ram Shah decided to follow his Queen to discover that she visited a large hall guarded by two massive lions. In the hall she chaired the heavenly meet of gods and goddesses.
That is how he discovered her to be Durga Bhawani the possessor of divine powers, but his personal secretary Lakhan Thapa Magar already knew of the Queen’s true identity. Legend has it that when King Ram Shah confronted the Queen with his knowledge of her identity he was stuck dead. In keeping with the practice of the day the Queen committed Sati (a tradition where a wife sat on the funeral pyre of her husband), promising Lakhan Thapa Magar that she would return. Some time later, legend reports that Dhandhoj Thapa, a farmer discovered a stone while plowing a field. The stone when struck flowed milk and blood. Hearing of this phenomenon Lakhan Thapa Magar, was convinced that it was a sign from his late Queen. Going to the site where the stone was discovered he constructed a temple in her honor where he devoted the rest of his life to serve the goddess Manakamana. Thus starting a tradition of the only Magar priests, who are now in their 21st generation.
Named the Manakamana Devi temple after the incarnation of Bhagawati, who grants the wishes of pilgrims of deepest purest heart, according to the Hindu tradition. The temple rests on a 1300-meter hill, west of the city of Kathmandu. Like many other hill top temples, Manakamana Temple also over looks the Marshyangdi and Trishuli rivers. On a clear day pilgrims can catch breathtaking views of the Annapurnas, Himalchuli and Manaslu peaks. The 2015 earthquake, destroyed the temple, which has been reconstructed with the funds secured by the local communities.
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