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Country    Nepal
Zone Bagmati Zone
District Kathmandu District
Population (1991)
 • Total 2,097
Time zone Nepal Time (UTC+5:45)
Saankhu an ancient city near Kathmandu, Nepal

Sankhu (alternative name: Sakwa (Nepal Bhasa: सक्व)) is a place made of combination of different parts of three Village Development Committees, Bajrayogini, Pukhulachhi, and Suntol, in Kathmandu District in the Bagmati Zone of central Nepal. At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a population of 2097 living in 353 individual households.[1]

This place is also known as the Eighty Siddhas as there are four of five caves where the siddhas of India are said to have stayed. One of the caves is also said to have been the practice cave of Nagarjuna, and an image of the great master which was originally in the cave has been taken outside and placed some distance away.

The present temple was built by Raja Prakas Malla in 1655. It enshrines the main sacred representations of this site, Ugra-tara manifesting as Ekazati, which are said to give very powerful blessings, particularly the image in the upper temple. The image in the lower temple is red in colour with one face and four arms, two of which hold a skull-cup (kapala) and knife at her heart, and the remaining two hold a sword and an utpala lotus. In the upper temple is an identical image of Ugra-tara in bell metal, in which her left leg is outstretched. In the upper temple is the loom of the Nepali Princess Brhikuti, spouse of the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. In both the upper and lower temples, Vajrayogini is flanked Baghini and Singhini, the Tiger and Lion-headed Yoginis. In the same upper room in the upper temple is a solid bronze standing Buddha and a standing Lokeshvara. Below this shrine room is a small room containing self-arisen (swayambhu) stupa in stone.

On the hill behind there is a courtyard in the centre of which is a basin containing the “Water of the Kalpa” which never dries up. In the building immediately to the left of the stairs, there is also an eternal fire or “Fire of the Kalpa”. Further up, on top of the hill, is the Mani-linga.

Nearby villages include Palubari.

Religion and pilgrimage[edit]

In the Kathmandu Valley Padmasambhava made a pilgrimage to Sankhu where he met Shakyadevi and took her to Yangleshö. Vairotsana, leaving Tibet after his teachings were slandered, stopped in Nepal and offered a golden icon to the monastery of Sankhu. Guru Rinpoche left a number of termas in Sankhu and around.

Sankhu fasting

Sankhu is also the site of the month long worship to the Goddess Swasthani. The Swasthani Purnima is a tribute to the Goddess through fasting, meditation and ritual bathing, mainly by women. It begins on the full moon of the Nepali month of Magh and ends on the full moon of the Nepali month of Phagun.

Women spend 31 days at the temple, sleeping, eating and meditating. It is believed women who perform this puja will have their wish granted. Outside the temple, the riverbank of the Sali Nadi is thought to be the site where Goddess Parvati bathed during her month of meditations dedicated to Swasthani.[2]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Nepal Census 2001". Nepal's Village Development Committees. Digital Himalaya. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  2. ^ "Swasthani Purnima at Sankhu". Retrieved 18 February 2011. 

Coordinates: 27°43′0″N 85°27′0″E / 27.71667°N 85.45000°E / 27.71667; 85.45000