|Manakamana Temple After Earthquake, Gorkha|
400 years old Gorkha shrine devastated
The destruction of a temple where the Gorkhas began their glorious tradition of soldiering 400 years ago has saddened people here. The shrine, dedicated to Guru Gorakhnath, is part of the Gorkha Durbar, built on a rocky crag in 1636.
"It's matter of concern that Guru Gorakhnath's shrine is devastated. It's where the ancient army unit, now called Gurujiko Paltan, was raised. We've Gorkhas serving in the Indian, British and Nepal armies because of the tradition set by this unit," said Bishnu Khanal, an officer attached to the Gorkha Durbar Supervision Committee. "It's very painful, "remarked Sandesh Chandra Rai, a soldier from Nepal army's Bhairavi Regiment.
In Kathmandu, Kasthamandap, dedicated to Guru Gorakhnath and which gave Nepal's capital its name, was reduced to a heap of wood on Saturday. Legend says Guru Gorkahnath blessed Prithvinarayan Shah that wherever he set foot he'd win.
The Gurujiko Paltan wears the uniform (long black dress with a white pugri) used by the army of King Prithvinarayan Shah, who founded the modern nation state of Nepal 246 years ago. Armed with a khukri tied below the chest and a musket, they guard Kathmandu's Hanuman Dhoka Durbar and take a lead in religious festivals.
Ganesh Bhattarai, head of the Gorkha Durbar Supervision Committee, said the temples of Gorakh-Kalika, Bharaibh and Pashupatinath, Chaughera (royal guest room), Rotpati (cooking section) and Bajapati (drummers' corner) and the main durbar have suffered considerable damage. Boulders in the cave of Guru Gorakhnath on the edge of the crag have shifted.
Deposed King Gyanendra was the last Shah ruler to stay at the Gorkha Durbar about a decade ago. "Our daily puja hasn't stopped despite the damage," says Yogi Ishwarnath. Khanal said they had a premonition that a disaster would take place when the stone pinnacle of Shrividya Mandir fell on the ground near the palace three days before the quake. "We were worried after this," he added.
Despite the destruction of its temples, animal sacrifice is on at the Gorkha Durbar. Goats are sacrificed at Kalika Temple and birds at Gorkahnath Temple every day. As a black goat was brought for sacrifice, Kalika Temple priest S Prasad Bhattarai said, "People are coming here to pray for an end to the current sufferings. Ten to 15 goats are offered to the goddess every day."