Sankhu

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Sankhu is a small village East of Kathmandu Valley, in Nepal. It is a sacred site of Buddhism associated with Vajrayogini, as well as an important Hindu shrine. It is considered one of the oldest of the Kathmandu Valley and records go back as far as the 5th century AD.

This power place is also known as the Eighty Siddhas as there are four of five caves where the great siddhas of India are said to have stayed. Even though some say that the Eighty Siddhas resided there together, it is highly unlikely since they didn't all live at the same time and never quite formed a community that moved about as a group. One is also said to have been the practice cave of Nagarjuna, and an image of the great master which was originally in the cave have been taken at some distance outside.

The present temple was built by Raja Prakas Malla in 1655. It enshrines the main sacred representation of this site, Ugra-tara manifesting as Ekazati which is said to give very powerful blessing, particularly the upstairs one. She 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 by 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 shrine to the left of the stairs that contains an eternal fire. Further up, on top of the hill, is the Mani-linga. There the Buddha, in a previous life as Bodhisattva Manichuda, remain in samadhi for a long time. On one occasion, he cut off his head protuberance and offered it as a gift. That protuberance—or a likeness of it with nature of stone—has remained here and is called “Mani-linga”.

In the Kathmandu Valley Padmasambhava did pilgrimage to Sankhu where he met Shakyadevi and took here 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 a number of termas in Sankhu and around.