Panauti is a small town in the Kathmandu Valley. It dates back to the 13th century.
The Indreshwor Mahadev temple is one of the largest and tallest pagoda style temples in Nepal. It was originally built over a lingam in 1294, making it the oldest surviving temple of Nepal. The roof struts embellishing the two lower stories of the temple are distinct Nepalese wood-carving and architecture.
Panauti is situated at the confluence of two main rivers, Rosi and Punyamati which has been regarded as an important religious site. In Nepali society, it is also believed that rivers are sacred places and such a visit allows man to cleanse his body and be freed from sins and anxieties. Furthermore it is believe that there is also a third "invisible" river, Lilawati creating a tri-junction and is historically known to have remarkably enhanced Nepal's religious sanctity and popularity especially in Panuati. Due to the convergence of these three rivers, on festive occasions, large numbers of people from around the world come to this holy place to pay their respects, as well as visiting the Indreshwor Mahadev temple and other holy sites located in Panuati. The confluence of these three rivers is an important pilgrimage site where every 12 years, a month-long fair is held known as the Makar Mela. During this celebration, thousands of devotees visit Panauti to cleanse themselves in this sacred water. The confluence is also an important site for burial cremations.
There is a nice, small museum with examples of old wood carvings from the area.
Square in Panauti. (910k) Small store in Panauti. (970k) Sattal or Pati, a pilgrim's shelter. Pilgrims could sleep there during their pilgrimage. (830k) House in Panauti. (969k) Picture of Shiva de Destroyer on a house in Panauti. (845k) Picture of Hanuman the Protector on a house in Panauti. (1021k) Dried-out village well. (1089k) Buddhist monument in Panauti. (861k) Wooden Surya statue, holding two Lotus flowers in the museum in Panauti (from Triveni Ghat, 15th - 16th century CE). (645k) Carved wood statue of a standing lady in the museum in Panauti (from Indreshwor Mahadev temple, 14th - 15th century CE). (661k) Carved wood statue in the museum in Panauti. (646k) Carved wood mask in the museum in Panauti. (674k) Shiva temple Indreshwor Mahadev. (753k) Golden roof of the Indreshwor Mahadev temple. One of the kings named Tulo donated his weight in gold to cover the roof in the 14th century. (581k) Nandi, the bull, Shiva's mount in front of the Indreshwor Mahadev temple. (868k) A Shiva Lingam next to the Indreshwor Mahadev temple. (835k) Shiva shrine on the Indreshwor Mahadev temple. (1026k) Elaborate wood carvings on the Indreshwor Mahadev temple. (981k) Detail of the carvings about the entrance to the Indreshwor Mahadev temple. (1122k) Ornately carved roof support. (975k) Wood carved figure on one of the roof supports. (907k) Wood carved figure on one of the roof supports. (830k) Wood carved figures on one of the roof supports. (914k) Wood carved figures on one of the roof supports. (871k) Unmatta Bhairab Temple (an incarnation of Shiva). (768k) Detail on the Unmatta Bhairab Temple. (794k) This column held the scale that was used to weigh King Tulo against the gold he was donating to the temple. (790k) Temples and shrines near the cremation ghat in Panauti. (890k) Small temple in Panauti dedicated to Vishnu. (815k) Shrine of the Monkey God Hanuman, the Protector of the king. (855k) Pancha Lingam (Five Lingams) with the Nandi in front of the shrine. (830k) Large Shiva Lingam. (821k) Statue of the Elephant God Ganesha. (1009k) The cremation ghat in Panauti. The confluence of two rivers is a holy place. Being cremated here means liberation from re-incarnation. (892k)