One of the most sacred Hindu temples is Manakamana. It is located in the Gorkha district 110km west of Kathmandu, 90 km east of Pokhara on the “highway” from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Nearby Riverside Resort Kurintar.
The temple is on top of a mountain at 1300 meter height. It is surrounded by a small village.
Manakamana temple is the holy place of Hindu goddess Bhagwati, who is an incarnation of Parvati. Mana means heart and kamana means wish. So it is believed that the Goddess fulfills the wishes of all who come there for a visit and offers to her. It is a Hindus pilgrim place, so every Hindu should visit at least once in their lifetime. That’s why this place gets usually lots of visitors. There are some special days for Hindu’s to go there, so take that into account. Visitors come from Nepal, but also many from India and other countries. Also Buddhists come to this place.
The story of Goddess Manakamana dates back to the 17th century. Related to the then king of Gorkha and his wife the queen.
How to get to Manakamana
Getting to Manakamana is easy. It is on the highway from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Many busses go there each day. You can catch a local bus at the buspark in Kathmandu, or you can catch a minivan from Kalanki junction in Kathmandu. The price will be around 250 rupees. If you like some comfort you can book a minibus or rent a car with driver at a travel agency. From Kathmandu the journey takes about 3 to 4 hours, depending on the traffic jam of the many polluting trucks climbing out of Kathmandu valley. The journey from Pokhara takes just over 2 hours.
Already from a distance you see the cable car going uphill, over the Trishuli river east and the Marshangdi river west, to Manakamana. The bus stop is near the cable car entry point. Going uphill takes about 10 minutes and brings you directly to the Manakamana village and temple. Prices are about 640 rupees ($6.40) for Nepalese and Indian adults. Tourist adults pay $20. There was also a goat ticket mentioned on the pricelist for 200 rupees ($2), which is a one-way-ticket. Goats didn’t know that, but they would be sacrificed at the temple.
The cable car can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mzwDUOwX60
Most people bring an offer at the Manakamana temple. People stand in a long queue to bring their offerings. One of the following items can should be offered: Betel nut, sacred thread, vermillion, incense, grain/rice, oil lamp, fruit, flowers and leaves. Also animals got sacrificed, like chickens and goats, although there was a ban on that too. For the good spirit lots of incense is used. Also people take a tika, the holy red dot on the forehead.
Manakamana was hit hard by the earthquake of april 2015. The epicenter was only 40 km north of Manakamana and had a force of 7.8 on the Richter magnitude schale. The temple got damaged but is being rebuilt.
The earthquake had a huge impact on Kathmandu, which is 120 km away. Pokhara was lucky for having less damage. The complete Kathmandu valley shifted 5 meters to the south and was lifted 1 meter after the earthquake. What an amazing power of the earth. I felt the ground under my feet shift so fast, several meters back and forth, that it was difficult to keep standing, as you can see on this footage in Kathmandu. I was amazed that many of the houses and big buildings didn’t fall down. They must have been built to handle this kind of sidewards forces. I was lucky not to be inside of an old building at noon on april 25, 2015.