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Panauti Indreshwar Mahadev Temple – Nepal

Panauti Indreshwar Mahadev temple is located at Panauti in Nepal. This is a very important temple in the area and is dedicated to Shiva. The temple plays a key role in the Jatara ceremony which also involves three other temples in the town.

Legend says that Indra, the king of demigods, seduced Ahalya, the wife of the sage Gautama. It is said that Ahalya was cursed by the sage converted into a stone, which is now at the north eastern corner of the temple’s platform. It is also believed that Shiva protected Indra here after he repented and performed penance for sin redemption. The incident is mentioned in the Ramayana.

It is one the oldest and largest wooden temples in Nepal. The original temple is believed to have been built during 1294 CE. It took nearly a century to complete the temple. The temple underwent a series of renovation especially during the 16th century CE, 18th century and during 1990s.

The huge temple has a three-tier roof. The temple is dotted with sculptures of Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Ashta Matrikas (eight mother goddesses), and shalabhanjika(s) in sensuous poses. Incidents from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Hindu Puranas are to part of the temple architecture.

A Shivling is worshipped in the sanctum sanctorum and darshan of it is allowed only during the Makar Mela festival held once in 12 years.

The compound of the temple has shrines of Unmatta Bhairav, Shiva, Nandi, Vishnu and numerous Shivlings.

Funeral is held at the Triveni Ghat near the temple.

On the evening of the fourth day of the Panauti Jatra festival, Goddess Bhadrakali, worshipped in the Panauti Bhadrakali temple, moves around the on a chariot and is accompanied by Indreshwar Mahadev, Unmatta Bhairava and Brahmayani.