When in the year 1800 The King of Nepal, Rana Bahadur Shah took exile into his Guardian deities’ abode “KASHI” as “Swami Nirgunananda”, he decided to build a replica of Pashupatinath temple: The most sacred temple of Nepal. And with this, a soul of Nepal shifted from the bank of Bagmati to Ganga.
King Rana Bahadur Shah selected the vicinity of Manikarnika Ghat – Lalita Ghat, it gave more familiarity with the ambiance of Pashupati Nath temple in Kathmandu (the bank of Holy Bagmati and holy Cremation area). Which later became famous as “Nepali Khapra” an identity of Nepalese Culture in Kashi with its Sri Samrajeswar Pashupatinath Temple Mahadev Mandir/ Nepali Temple/ Kanthwala Temple / Mini Khajuraho with a Dharmshala, Siddhagiri Mutt( Famous as Rajrajeshwari Temple).
The construction of the temple commenced during his stay in Varanasi which was from the year 1800 – 1804. Soon he moved back to Nepal and on 25th April 1806, Rana Bahadur Shah was stabbed by his stepbrother, Sher Bahadur Shah. Later his son Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah Deva completed the construction of the temple and it took almost 40 years (20 years after the deadline). In 1843 Kashi Naresh transferred the land of the temple and surrounding area to the King of Nepal.
The temple was built in Nepalese Pagoda-style architecture with terracotta, wood, and stone. A magnificent structure with carved sculpture similar to Khajuraho unifies one with three majestic places – Kashi, Nepal, and Khajuraho. The detailed wood carvings of the temple are mesmerizing and it does personify the devotion of makers. The one of its kind temple in Kashi along with a dharmshala is being managed by Nepal Government.
Over the period of time due to lack of care much of the wood structure is damaged and replaced by brick, the damaged wood carvings are still much appreciable and are kept for exhibition in the temple courtyard.
This mesmerizing structure stood solitarily but with pride among the domes and spires dominated skyline of Kashi. A major attraction among the art & Culture enthusiast, Photographers and Foreign tourist, the temple complex offers a striking view of bustling Ghats some 50 feet below.
Sadly the temple is not well known among the common public and has suffered the apathy of both locals and government. With repeated irresponsible construction works in the surround area the wall of temple suffered a huge damage and if restoration of the temple not initiated in time, it will be a thing of past.
Our culture and heritage are what we are mostly proud of but if we fail to preserve them, this life will be a waste. Development and restoration flourish together and that is what a city with treasures like this requires.
Nepali temple of Kashi is a bond between two Countries with similar cultures and religions. And apart from that the area “Nepali Khapra” has witnessed the many political activities of Nepal in the past as many exiled Prime Ministers and political figures spent their life here only.
With all these information we just hope that each one of you will feel sensitize enough towards your heritage and will bring back the loosing glory of “The Nepali Temple of Kashi”.
Other Important Structure/ Temple : Lalita Gauri Temple, Ganga Keshav, Ganga Aditya, RajRajeshwari Temple, Vishalakshi Gauri, Varahi Devi Temple, Akshaya Koop.
How To Reach : You can reach Lalita Ghat by taking a walk from Dashswamedh Ghat towards Manikarnika Ghat.