Exploring Maha Manjushree (Saraswatisthan/Lhasapake) and an Unforgettable Adventure in Nagarkot

On the auspicious first day of Shree Panchami Mela, our family embarked on a memorable journey towards Maha Manjushree, also known locally as Saraswatisthan or Lhasapake. Excitement filled the air as three family groups, including Nini and Mama with their three kids, Didi and Vinaju with their two kids, and myself with my son, boarded a bus bound for the Maha Manjushree Temple. Upon reaching our destination, we took a few steps forward, and the welcoming stairs to the Maha Manjushree Temple invited us. After climbing the stairs, we paid our respects with great homage at the temple.

Engaging with the temple’s priest, we gleaned historical insights into the origins of Maha Manjushree. According to Nepali chronology, during Tretayuga, Mahamanjushree arrived in the Kathmandu Valley to elevate the self-enlightened Swayambhu. It is believed that he took residence in Thakalmath Danda, also known as Maha Manjushree Danda. Subsequently, Mahamanjushree proceeded to channel the water from Naagdaha, the serpent’s living lake, by cutting through the gorges of Guheswari, Chobhar, and Katuwal, wielding his legendary Sword.

This pilgrimage to Saraswatisthan not only connected us with the Buddhist heritage but also allowed us to witness the living history that has shaped the Bhaktapur region.Throughout the month-long Mela at Mahamanjushree, thousands of residents from Bhaktapur will be heading to this site, paying their visits with immense respect and deep homage.

After offering our worship to Maha Manjushree and Saraswati, we headed on an exhilarating hike from Manjushree Dada, an experience of rock climbing added a thrilling dimension to our journey. Pausing for a delightful homemade packed lunch, we continued our trek towards the Nagarkot Tower, discovering a route that led us through the enchanting Bojini Dam and a lush green forest. Hiking for approximately an hour and half, we reached the main road, and after covering an additional 2 km, we finally stood before the tower. Despite some challenges, the children seem to have fun and adventure, climbing the tower multiple times.

With chatpate enjoyed at the tower, the kids expressed curiosity about the famed viral suspension bridge, Rani Jhola. Although unfamiliar with the path, we decided to explore it, venturing further into the forest. Throughout our journey, encountering fellow hikers was rare, making it challenging to seek guidance, but relying on Google Maps, we continued towards Rani Jhola, oblivious to the distance ahead. The excitement of seeing the bridge motivated the children, who, despite having hiked for seven hours, gathered the strength to continue.

As we neared the anticipated suspension bridge, a hint of worry lingered among the adults, fearing a wrong turn. Walking in the wrong direction heightened our anxiety, but with determination, we retraced our steps and luckily encountered a local who assured us the bridge was only 10 minutes away. Relieved, we hastened our pace, and to our delight, the children eagerly crossed the bridge, sipping water and basking in the relief of catching the last bus from Nagarkot at 5:20 pm. Boarding the bus at 5:30 pm amidst a crowd, standing became a challenge due to the pain in our feet. Surprisingly, the kids showed no signs of fatigue or complaints, having walked for 8-9 hours.

Finally reaching Kamabinayak, we walked back home, carrying with us beautiful memories of a day’s hiking that will last a lifetime. The day’s adventure, from the spiritual heights of Manjushree Dada to the thrilling heights of the Nagarkot Tower and the unexpected discovery of Rani Jhola, became a cherished chapter in our family’s memory book.