Global Dharma


Manakamana Temple Rebuilt

ACCORDING TO A SEPTEMBER 15, 2018, article in the Kathmandu Post, restoration is now complete on Nepal’s beautiful Manakamana Temple, a popular pilgrimage site and tourist attraction that was badly damaged during the earthquake of April 25, 2015. Perched on a hilltop in the Gorkha district some 60 miles west of Kathmandu, the temple was damaged by earlier earthquakes in 2001 and 1934 and had long been slated for reconstruction. The 2015 earthquake tilted it some 9-12 inches to the northeast, and cracks had developed in its pagoda-style roofs.


Renewed and energized: Manakamana Temple now shines with a golden roof

Damaged beyond all hope of repair, the structure was completely removed and is being rebuilt on a new foundation at a cost of US$1.8m. With permission from the Department of Archaeology, the roofs were plated with 40 pounds of gold, at an additional cost of US$1.25m.

Renovation work started in June 2015, and the temple is expected to be reopened to the public for this year’s 15-day Dashain festival in October, Nepal’s largest festival. The site attracts thousands of devotees during that event, which is celebrated by Hindus and Buddhists as the triumph of good over evil.

The temple Deity, Manakamana, is a popular wish-fulfilling Goddess. According to legend, the 17th-century king Ram Shah of Gorkha learned in a dream that his queen had divine powers. After telling her of his dream, he fell ill and died. Following the custom of the day, the queen committed sati by throwing herself on his funeral pyre. The king’s personal secretary, Lakhan Thapa Magar, had begged her not to do so, but she had assured him she would soon return. Some months later a farmer, plowing his field, struck a stone which began to flow with blood and milk. Believing the queen had returned at that spot, Thapa Magar built a temple there. To this day the descendents of Lakhan Thapa Magar, now in their 17th generation, serve as the priests in this temple.


Diwali in Texas

SKEETER STADIUM IN SUGAR LAND, Texas, was the scene of the seventh annual Diwali and Dussehra festival held there by the Shri Sita Ram Foundation, which provides funding to programs that promote Vedic culture. The Houston Chronicle reports that the stadium, usually filled with baseball fans, was packed with tens of thousands enjoying myriad programs promoting Indian culture, including plays by children depicting Indian epics. Guests of honor included Governor Greg Abbot as chief guest, and US Representative Pete Olson as parade marshal. Drums and Indian dance music resounded as the crowd walked under yellow banners reading “Jai Shri Ram,” or “Victory to Lord Rama,” enjoyed the performances and shopped at dozens of red vendor tents showcasing saris, linens, candles, jewelry and intricate henna “tattoos,” (which last about seven days). The celebration concluded with a parade and fireworks.

Sugar Land is located about 22 miles from Houston. Its fast-growing Indian population jumped 83 percent between 2000 and 2012, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Usually celebrated in the area around November 7th, the Diwali festival, also called the Hindu Festival of Lights, was observed early this year in Sugar Land. Like various other Hindu festivals, it celebrates the victory of good over evil.


A festival for all: Dancers from the Natya Upasana Dance Academy wait their turn to take the stage; young Nitin Surya awaits the announcement of costume contest winners


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