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Aaju Aji Temple

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Welcome to the Aaju Aji Temple.

Located within the premises of the Narendradev Sanskarit Amarapuri Mahabihar (Machhindra Bahal) in Bungamati, Ward No. 22 of Lalitpur Metropolitan City, there is Mankamana Mai temple (Aaju Aji temple) facing north and located towards the western side of Machhindranath Temple where there is a wide roundabout (Chowk). This chowk is also known as Rudra Bahal, which is the abode of the priests of Hyagriv Bhairavnath and Manakamana Mai.

In the center of this chowk one can seec a Chaitya (Chivahal) depicting eight artistic images of Lokeshwar and an image of Buddha at the top. This kind of chaitya is rarely seen in other places. A snake idol can also be seen on the ground towards the northern side of the chaitya.

Introduction and Jatra of Manakamana Mai

Manakamana Mai is addressed as ‘Aaju Aji’ by the local residents. ‘Aaju’ means grandfather and ‘Aji’ refers to grandmother, which is a term of utmost respect and devotion. ‘Aaju Aji’ is also worshipped as Nandi Kundi Bhairav.

Manakamana Mai is celebrated with a grand Jatra for three days every year, starting from the ninth day (Navami) to the eleventh day (Ekadashi) of the Dashain festival. On the ninth day of Dashain i.e. on Nawami Manakamana Mai is worshiped with tantrik rituals at the Manakamana Temple and then is made to circumambulate the Machindranath Temple three times before she is taken to the Hyagriv temple. On that night, Aji is seated inside the Hyagriv Bhairavnath’s room while Aaju is seated separately outside the Bhairavnath’s room.

On the second day as well, Aji is kept inside the Bhairav temple for the whole day and puja is performed publicly while also displaying the Vindupatra (a special religious plate where animal sacrifices are made), and at night a Jatra is conducted throughout the village. On the day of Ekadashi, Jatra is held all day and in the evening, ‘Aaju Aji’ is brought back to their temple (Manakamana Temple), which marks the completion of this Jatra.

Although this temple is opened to the general public only for three days in a year, the priest of this temple secretly performs regular worship here in this temple. Only during the three days of Dashain, worship is performed in this temple by Tantrik method.

Myths related to Aaju Aji and Manakamana

There are two separate myths dedicated to Goddess Manakamana and AajuAji, along with Nandi Kundi Bhairav.

According to the first legend, after Machhindranath was brought to Nepal Mandal, Mankamana Mata, who was staying in Gorkha, heard the news that Machhindranath was enshrined in Bungamati and thus she came to see Machhindranath through the route of sky. It is said that she lost her way while coming and reached Bugal (present day Bungamati).  On the way she transformed herself into an elderly couple fearing that she might be recognized by the people.

Bhairav’s priest (Ghyolaju) saw that old couple who came to Khakhinani crying from Gathunani and thus asked them to stay at Munani (Rudra Bahal). As they were crying, the priests asked them to stay that night at the place where present day Aaju Aji temple is located. Accepting that request, the old couple visited Machhindranath and stayed there all night gossiping in the language of the gods. As the priests understood the language of God, they came to know that the old couple was none other than Mankamana Mai of Gorkha.

After that, they asked Manakamana to stay there in Bungamati, but Manakamana Mata did not know where and how she would stay, so when she talked about not staying in Bungamati and asked them to let her go, the priest asked her to return only with Bhairav’s permission.

While conversing with Bhairav, he offers Mankamana Mai’s couple to remain as Nandi Kundi Bhairav. Bhairav asked her to stay there as Nandi being Aaju and Kundi being Aji, but Mankamana Mai said that she would stay there only if she is worshiped once a year. To this Bhairav replied she would be worshipped once a year, together with Bhairav in the Bhairav Jatra and thus it is believed that Manakamana Mai stayed there as Aaju Aji.

Similarly, according to another legend, Hyagriv Bhairavnath and Manakamana Mai were considered to be Aaju and Aji. One day, a dispute arose between Aji and Aaju, and Aji, in anger, left her home and headed towards the southern direction (opposite direction) and reached Gorkha. Hyagriv Bhairav, in search of Aji, eventually realized that Aji was residing in the place that now is the Manakamana Temple (Gorkha). Aaju (Bhairav) patiently explained and convinced her to return home.

After much effort and understanding, Aji returned home and thus a celebration (Jatra) was held in the Bungamati village. However, due to Aji’s anger, it is said that she returned to Gorkha after spending only three days with Aaju. Therefore, during three days of the Dashain festival, the Manakamana Temple of Manakamana (Gorkha) used to remain closed.

But now, due to the rush of devotees in Manakamana Temple of Gorkha, the three-day closure has also been discontinued. At that time, the Tantrik Bajracharya of Kathmandu, Jhwabahal was a priest of Gorkha’s Mankamanama Mai. Today, the main priest (Bajracharya) at the Manakamana Mai Temple performs tantrik puja once a year, while daily worship is conducted by the local priest of Magar caste.

Structure of the Aaju Aji Temple

This temple built in pagoda style is very beautiful as well as artistic and it is situated in the middle of settlements near the temple of Machhindranath.

Although this temple remains open only three days a year and is closed for the rest of the time, this temple has become a symbol of faith among devotees, since a long time due to legends, Jatras and beliefs associated with this temple.

Read Stories of Heritages of Nepal …


Paneju Sangh, Bungamati

मनकामना (आजु अजीको) मन्दिर


या देवी सर्व भुतेसु मा रुपेण सम्स्थिता

या देवी सर्व भुतेसु शक्ति रुपेण सम्स्थिता य।


नमस्ते हजुरहरुलाई बुङ्गमती अवस्थित श्री मनकामना माईको मन्दिरमा स्वागत छ। श्री मनकामना माईको मन्दिर ललितपूर महानगरपालिका वडा नं २२ स्थित नद्रेन्द्रदेव संस्कारित अमरापुरी महाविहार (मच्छिन्द्र वहाल) को परिसरभित्र करुणामय मच्छिन्द्रनाथको मन्दिरको पश्चिमतर्फको एउटा खुल्ला चोकभित्र रहेको छ। यस चोकलाई रुद्र वहाल पनि भन्ने गरिन्छ। जुन ह्यगृव भैरवनाथ र मनकामना माईको पुजारीहरुको वस्ती हो। उक्त चोकको बिचमा एउटा बेग्लै पहिचान बोकेको कलात्मक आठवटा लोकेश्वरको मूर्ति भएको र माथिल्लो भागमा बुद्धको प्रतिमा रहेको चैत्य (चिवाहल) देख्न सकिन्छ। जुन चैत्य अन्य स्थानमा बिरलै मात्र देख्न सकिन्छ। उक्त चैत्यको उत्तरतर्फ भुइँमा एउटा नागको मूर्ति पनि देख्न सकिन्छ।


मनकामना माईको परिचय तथा जात्रा

मनकामना माईलाई स्थानिय बासीले “आजु अजी” भनेर सम्बोधन गर्ने गर्दछन्। आजुको अर्थ वृद्ध बाज्ये र अजीको अर्थ वृद्ध हजुरआमा हो जसलाई अति सम्माम र श्रद्धा व्यक्त गर्ने गरिन्छ भने अर्को नन्दी कुन्दी भैरव जोडिको रुपमा पनि पुज्ने गरिन्छ। मनकामना माईलाई प्रत्येक वर्ष दशैँको नवमी देखि एकादशीको दिनसम्म तीन दिनसम्म भव्य जात्रा गर्ने गरिन्छ। उक्त तीन दिन मध्ये नवमी देखि एकादशी सम्म तीन दिन भव्य जात्रा गरिन्छ। उक्त तीन दिन मध्ये नवमीको दिन मनकामना माईलाई मन्दिरबाट तान्त्रिक विधिबाट पुजा सम्पन्न गरि मच्छिन्द्रनाथको मन्दिर तीन पटक परिक्रमा गराई ह्यगृव मन्दिरमा भित्र्याइन्छ। उक्त रात अजीलाई भैरवनाथको कक्षमा विराजमान गराइन्छ भने आजुलाई भैरवनाथको कक्ष बाहिर छुट्टै विराजमान गराइन्छ। दोस्रो दिन, दिन भरी नै भैरव मन्दिर भित्र नै विराजमान गराई विन्दुपात्र सहित सार्वजनीक रुपमा पुजा ग्रहण गराइन्छ र राती गाउँ भरी जात्रा गरिन्छ भने एकादशीको दिन दिनभर जात्रा गरि बेलुकी आफ्नै मन्दिरमा भित्र्याइन्छ र जात्रा सम्पन्न गरिन्छ। र अर्को दशैँ नआएसम्म मनकामनाको मनिर पुजारीहरुको लागि बाहेक सार्वजनीक रुपमा बन्द हुन्छ। गोरखासम्म जान नसक्ने वृद्ध वृद्धा पहिले यहि मौकामा बुङ्गमती आएर मनकामना माई दर्शन गर्न आउने गर्दथे।


मनकामना माई/ आजुअजी/नन्देकुन्दी भैरवसंग सम्बन्धित किम्बदन्ती

पहिलो किम्बदन्ती अनुसार मच्छिन्द्रनाथलाई नेपाल आगमन गरेको समय मच्छिन्द्रनाथलाई दर्शन गर्न मनकामना माई बुढा बुढिको भेषमा आएको बेला, बाटो भुलेर गथुननी र कार्यविनायक जाने झोलुङ्गे पुल जाने चोकबाट मच्छिन्द्र वहाल पस्ने पश्चिमतर्फको गल्ली बाहिर (खाखी: ननी: तर्फ) रुँदै आएको कुरा भैरवनाथको पुजारीलाई थाहा भएपछि उनले बुढा बुढीलाई (रुद्रबहाल) मनकामना मन्दिर भएको चोकमा बास दिनु भयो। रातभरी बुढा बुढीले देव भाषामा गफ गरेको कुरा तान्त्रिक पुजारीले सुनेपछि उहाँ बुढा बुढी अरु कोहि नभई देवता भएको कुरा थाहा पाई त्यहिँ राखेर सम्मान र पूजा गर्न प्रस्ताव गरे तर उहाँहरु मान्नु भएन। यता तान्त्रिक पुजारीहरुले पनि छोड्न नमानेपछि अन्त्यमा वर्षको तीन दिन ह्यगृव भैरवनाथको नन्दे कुन्दी भैरवको रुपमा अर्धाङ्गिनीको भई बस्ने सर्तमा मनकामना माईलाई फर्कन अनुमती दिएको किम्बदन्ती रहेको छ।

त्यस्तै दोस्रो किम्बदन्ती अनुसार ह्यगृव भैरवनाथ र मनकामना माई दुईजना मान्यवर आजु अजी हुनुहुन्थ्यो एकदिन आजु र अजीको विवाद भइ अजि रिसले घर छोडेर दक्षिणबाट उत्तर दिशा (विपरित दिशा) तिर फन्किएर जानु भयो र गोरखा पुग्नु भएछ। ह्यगृव भैरवले खोज्दै जाने क्रममा अजीलाई हाल मनकामना मन्दिर भएको स्थानमा कहिले नफर्कने सोचमा शिला झैँ अडिग भएर बस्नु भएको रहेछ। आजुले (भैरव) धेरै मिहिनेत गरेर सम्झाई बुझाई घर फर्काएर ल्याई अजी फर्कनु भएको खुसीयालीमा गाउँमा जात्रा गरियो। तर अजिको रिस कडा भएकाले तीन दिन मात्र आजुसँग बिताई गोरखा नै फर्कनु भयो भन्ने भनाई रहेको छ। तसर्थ प्रत्येक दशैँको नवमी, दशमी र एकादशिको दिन पहिला गोरखा मनकामना माईको मन्दिर तीन दिन बन्द गरिन्थ्यो। तर अहिले आएर भक्तजनको चापलाई मध्येनजर राखी तीन दिन बन्द गर्न पनि छोडियो। तत्कालीन समयमा गोरखाको मनकामनामा, काठमाडौं झ्वावहालको तान्त्रिक बज्राचार्य पुजारी थिए। अहिले पनि वर्षको एक पटक गोरखाको मनकामना माईको मन्दिरमा मुख्य पुजारी बज्राचार्यले तान्त्रिक पुजा गर्ने चलन अध्यावधिक रहेको छ भने हाल नित्य पुजा गर्न मगर थरका स्थानिय पुजारीले गर्दै आएको सबैलाई अवगत नै छ।


मन्दिरको बनावट

प्यागोडा शैलीमा निर्मित यो मन्दिर निकै सुन्दर छ। मन्दिरको ठिक अगाडि एउटा चिवहा: निर्माण गरिएको छ।

वर्षमा तीन दिन मात्र खुल्ने र बाँकी समय बन्द रहने भएतापनि यो मन्दिरसँग जोडिएका किम्बदन्ती, जात्रा र विश्वासहरुले गर्दा लामो समय अघिदेखि नै यो मन्दिर भक्त्तजनहरु माझ आस्थाको प्रतीक बन्न सफल भएको छ।



पानेजु संघ, बुङ्गमति

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