In Hinduism, there are three types of Followers. They are the Shaiva, the Vaishnav, and the Shaktas. Shaivas basically worship Siva, Vaisnava worship Vishnu and the Shaktas worship the Kali or Bhagwati. It doesn’t mean Shakta doesn’t worship Bishnu and Shiva. They pray all the deities but the emphasis has been given to their own deities.
The goddess has great importance for the Shakta sect of Hindus. She is worshipped in many aspects: as Durga, Protector, and slayer of the devils, as Taleju, the patron deity of the Valley rulers, and as Kumari the living virgin goddess, as Dakshin Kali, Gorakhkali and Manakamana Temple as wish fulfiller and so on. Other female goddesses such as Laxmi, Goddess of wealth, and Saraswati, Goddess of knowledge and art are worshipped in Nepal, are the different images of Bhagawatis.
Likewise, Ganesh the remover of obstacles and the source of good fortune, Machhendranath, Indra, Hanuman, etc. are special to Nepal alone and are celebrated with unique local festivals and those temples are very famous in Nepal especially in Kathmandu valley.
Major Bhagawati temples are also known as Shakti pith worshipped sacrificed the animals like a duck, chicken, goat, buffalo, sheep, etc during the Bada Dashain festival as well as Chaitra Dashain. Bhagwati Temples in Nepal are:
Palanchowk Bhagawati Temple:
Palanchowk Bhagawati temple is 7 km north of the mountains of Panchkhal, 15 km of Dhulikhel on the Arniko Highway, and 42 km from Kathmandu. There is an idol of 3 feet high goddess Bhagawati artistically carved in black stone.
It is one of the most famous temples of the goddess for Buddhists and Hindus. The temple is believed to have been constructed during the reign of King Man Dev. One can really enjoy the panoramic views of Landscape from this vantage point. We can enjoy spectacular Nepalese panoramas of the Himalayan and the countryside.
The temple is situated on the top of the Palanchowk hill named after Bhagawati, the height being 1563m and is well connected by a motorable road from the Arniko Highway crossing Lamidada. Many Pilgrims visit the temple especially on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and animal sacrifice is offered to the Goddess. During the great Dashain Festival, especially on the 7th, 8th, and 9th day of Dashain, people from all three districts of Kathmandu valley make a pilgrimage to Palanchowk Bhagawati.
Calm, peaceful, and loving image of the Goddess is always here to bless the pilgrimage. In addition to the religious importance, the beautiful scenes, view from the hilltop is magnificent.
It is said that the goddess was three sisters Kalinchowk. Palanchowk (Dolkha) and Balkumari (Dolakha).If we look at the existence of the temple they are horizontal in a similar position in three different mountains. There is another legend about the Palanchowk Bhagawati temple. It is said that the famous artist sculptured the image of Bhagawati which was very attractive. The ruler was so much pleased that’s why he ordered to cut his hand assuming that he can’t make another such a beautiful image. When the artist punished he carved another two images of Bhagawati named Naxal Bhagawati and Shova Bhagawati with the help of his feet. Thus people said that these three temples have connections. Besides, there are many more legends relating to the temple.
The Manakamana Temple is situated in the Gorkha district of Nepal is a sacred place of the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati. The name Manakamana originates from two words,” mana” meaning heart, and “Kamana” meaning wish. Venerated since the 17th century, it is believed that Goddess Manakamana grants the wishes of all those who make the pilgrimage to her shrine to worship her.
The Manakamana temple lies 12 km south of the town Gorkha and 102 km from Kathmandu. The temple is located 1,302 meters (4,272ft) above the sea level and overlooks the river valleys of Trishuli in the south and Marshyangdi in the west. The Manaslu and Annapurna ranges can be viewed from the north of the temple.
The Legend of Manakamana Goddess dates back to the reign of the King Ram Shah of Gorkha Kingdom during the 17th century. It is said that his queen possessed divine powers, which only her devotee Lakhan Thapa knew about it. One day, the king witnessed his queen in Goddess incarnation and Lakhan Thapa in the form of a lion. Upon mentioning the revelation to his queen, a mysterious death befell the king.
As per the custom of that time, the queen committed Sati (self- immolation) at her husband’s funeral. The queen had assured Lakhan Thapa that she would reappear in the near future. Six months later, a farmer while plugging his fields cleaved a stone. From the stone, he saw a stream of blood and milk flow. When Lakhan heard an account of this event, he immediately started performing Hindu Tantric rituals at the site where the stone had been discovered thus ceasing the flow of blood and milk. The sites become the foundation of the present shrine. According to tradition, the priest at the temple must be a descendant of Lakhan Thapa. Still today the priest is Magar the descendant of Lakhan Thapa Magar.