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SANKHU (alternative name: SAKWA ( Nepal
Nepal
Bhasa : सक्व)) is the ancient Newar
Newar
town located in the north-eastern corner of Kathmandu Valley in about 17 km from the capital city Kathmandu
Kathmandu
. Sankhu, also known as Shankharapur
Shankharapur
for its famous ancient Sankha-shaped town structure, was formerly divided into 3 Village Development Committee namely Pukhulachhi , Suntol
Suntol
and Bajrayogini
Bajrayogini
. Recently the town of Sankhu
Sankhu
has been declared as SHANKHARAPUR MUNICIPALITY merging 3 above mentioned VDCs and other neighbouring VDCs. At the time of the 2011 Nepal
Nepal
census it had a population of 4333 living in 928 individual households.

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
Nagarjuna
, and an image of the great master which was originally in the cave has been taken outside and placed some distance away.

The town used to have 8 gates originally, at all the boundary entrances of the town. But at present, many got dilapidated and disappeared while 5 of them were reconstructed namely the Bhau Dhwaha, Mhyamachaa Dhwakha, Dhunlla Dhwakha, Mahadyo Dhwakha and Naari Dhwakha. These gates used to have a paati (resthouse), Dhungedhara (Water Spout;Nepali: 'Dhunge"=Stone, 'Dhara"=Tap or spout) and ponds next to it but only few of them still exists.

1. Bhau Dhwakha (Bride Gate) - Main entry gate of Sankhu, also the gate through which new brides are entered in the town.

2. Sangal Dhwakha or Mhyamachaa Dhwakha( Daughter Gate) - It is the gate from which to bid farewell to a daughter who is married off.

3. Dhunlla Dhwakha or Dya Dhwakha - This gate is important for Bajrayogini
Bajrayogini
festival. All kinds of ritual processions including the chariot of Bajrayogini
Bajrayogini
enter through this gate.

4. Mahadyo Dhwakha or Si Dhwakha: Dead bodies from Sankhu
Sankhu
are taken out to funeral through this gate.

5. Naari Dhwakha : During the Shalinadi festival, the Holy god Madhav Narayan along with the devotees are taken in and out of the town through this gate. ‘Naari’ is the local name for Shalinadi river.

Before Malla Dynasty in Nepal, Sankhu
Sankhu
was said to be a separate kingdom. The historical Durbar square (Layaku) has still been preserved.

According to the legend Manisailamahavadana, Bajrayogini
Bajrayogini
instructed the priest Jogdev and the first King Sankhadev to build the town of Sankhu
Sankhu
in the shape of a conch shell. The oldest inscription found in Sankhu
Sankhu
is dated 538 AD. There are other stories which says the temple was built by King Prakash Malla in 1655. It is one of the best attraction of Sankhu
Sankhu
for national and international tourists. 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 (blue) 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
Songtsen Gampo
. In both the upper and lower temples, Bajrayogini
Bajrayogini
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
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

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

Sankhu
Sankhu
is also the site of the month-long worship to the God Madhav Narayan. The vrata (fasting) is a tribute to the God through fasting, meditation and ritual bathing by women and men too. It begins on the full moon of the Nepali month of Poush and ends on the full moon of the Nepali month of Magh.

Men & women spend 30 days at the temple fasting, worshipping and meditating the god Madhav Narayan. It is believed men white-space:nowrap;"> of Mhasukhwamaju and other Vaghini (Bagini), Singhini and a stupa shaped Buddha
Buddha
starts on the day of full moon (purnima ) and continues for nine days. After the goddesses are brought to Sankhu
Sankhu
by locals in a special chariots, they are kept on different places on the basis of rotation within four gates of Sankhu. The fifth day of jatra is known as m