Manakamana Temple – Nepal
Manakamana is temple of Durga Bhawani (Hindu Goddess), situated in Gorkha District of Nepal. Manakamana means the “wishes”. It is believed that Goddess Manakaman fulfills the wishes of ones who worship her with pure heart. It is very true when someone wish something from the heart; it is fulfilled by the God.
Manakamana temple is situated at about 1300 meters at a top of a hill surround by a small village community. It is about 9 Km north-east of the town of Mugling and at about 90 Km West from Kathmandu and East from Pokhara.
How to reach Manakamana
Transportation to Manakamana : Bus takes three to four hours from Kathmandu or Pokhara. Generally micro buses and mini buses run to Kurintar. One can take bus in transit from east/west (Janakpur, Kakadbhitta, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj) to Kathmandu or Kathmandu to east/west.
There was transportation to Abu Khaireni until the cable car was installed. And people walk uphill for 3 hours to reach Manakamana temple. Now, the cable car operates from Kurintar. Cable car takes 10-12 minutes to reach the top.
The cable car generally operates during the day time (9 a.m. to 5 p.m). It stops for a lunch break from 12.00 to 13.30. In festive occasions and on Saturdays and holidays it starts operations an hour before schedule time.
Manakamana Cable car
The charge is US$18 (tax extra) for foreigners, and Rs. 450 plus tax for Nepalese people. However, there is no method of separating foreigners from Nepalese other than self declaration by the tourist. The sacrificing animal especially goat is also charged Rs. 140-250 one way fare. Cock can be carried together with the passengers.
Worship and sacrifices
Manakamana is Hindu Goddess so she is worshiped with offerings of flower, sound, scent, dress, make-ups and colors. There is a tradition of sacrificing animals at the temple. Devotees stand in line for even for 5-10 hours during festivals. The line started from the temple gate reach longer than few kilometers sometimes. People can be seen standing in line with pooja samagri (worship materials) in hand and some of them carrying duck, cock or goat with them. People seem to enjoy standing in the line without food, some even with no water.
Pooja Samagri (worship and offering materials) for Manakamana
As per hindu mythology all objects in this universe is consists of five cosmic elements the earth, water, fire, air and ether or space or sky. Therefore the arrangement of pooja samagri is done on the basis of these elements then it helps in balancing and regulating the activated five cosmic elements in the universe. The worshipper then gets the maximum benefit both manifest and unmanifest frequencies emitted from the god and goddess.
Devi is worshiped with the same elements, and in Nepal there is a tradition to offer cloth (bastra) to god and goddess. Especially red is considered as saubhagya (long life in Nepal) so Devi is offered almost everything in Red color.
The pooja thali should contain at least the following in a puja basket along with pancha patro,
1. Abir (kumkum) for saubhagyaManakamana Cable Car Entrance
2. Kesar represents earth
3. Flower and Leaves
4. Dhup for Scent (Fragnace)
5. Diyo for light
6. Cloth (Bastra or Dress) and mirror
7. Fruit and Foods for Prasad (Coconut and sweet deserts)
8. Bell for sound
9. Betel nut and janai
10. Little amount of rice (anna, grain)
The priest takes the pooja material when devotee reaches near the Devi statue and he offers their pooja samagri to goddess and returns the same after offering her. People do Sankalpa (vow) and Bhakal (resolution) in the temple. The priest asks the devotees if they have any vow or resolution for which they are in the temple to offer. If they have any, the priest offers the pooja materials to Goddess in the name of Sankalpa and Bhakal of the devotee. People make resolution at the temple and when their wish is fulfilled they go to see the goodness Burga Bhavani, Manakamana Mata, again to offer their gratitude.
There are motels, hotels and lodges around Manakamana Temple. A single room cost from Rs. 300 to Rs 800 depending upon facilities one wants to avail. In cold days, most of hotels are closed but open sufficient enough to hold the guests at the winter.
Walking or Trekking to Manakamana
There is a way to walk from Gorkha to Manakamana, passing along the hill-top ridge Manakamana Suntalathrough forest and paddy. It takes about 8 hours walk to cross the river, hills and the forest. You can reach with a simple compass. There are few rivers in the way, the bridges are often broken. Therefore, it is better to be careful, or it is best not to hike in rainy seasons.
You can walk from bank of Marsyandi River from Abu Khaireni. It takes about 3 hours to reach the top. It was old path before the cable car started its operation.
Manakamana is also famous for the sweet juicy small oranges (Tangerine). The hill of Manakamana is full of oranges in the season.
History of Manakamana
It is said queen of Ram Shah was a goddess. It is only known to her devotee. Even, king was unaware of it. Ram Shah is king Gorkha born in AD 1614. One day the king found his queen in goddess incarnation. He told this to Lakhan Thapa. King dies instantly, in AD 1636. The queen went Sati (commit cremation with the husband’s pyre as per custom of that time). Lakhan Thapa objected and dismayed on her Sati. The queen convinced him that she would reappear again. In six months after queen’s death, Lakhan Thapa heard news that a farmer hit a stone while he ploughs his field and a stream of blood and milk came out from the stone. Immediately, he started performing Hindu tantric rituals and worship (hom and pooja) at the place. As soon the flow of blood and milk ceased, he established it as Manakamana Mai. It later on grew as Manakamana Temple. The current priest at the temple is the 17th generation descendant of Lakhan Thapa. Manakamana is only one of very few of its kind of temples where priest is from Magar community of Nepal.
BY ANIL BLON