Vishnu Riding Garuda

Vishnu Riding Garuda

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Vishnu Riding Garuda - History

Garuda wanted to get amrit from the gods to free himself and his mother, Vinata from the slavery of his stepmother, the snakes. He asked his mother how he could get the amrit. Vinata replied, "You will have to fly to the kingdom of Indra, the king of the gods and get it. But for flying such a distance, you need to have lots of food to make you strong. You should go to the ocean and eat the nishadas (a tribe of fishermen). This will satisfy your hunger. But a brahmin lives with the Nishadas, do not eat him. Garuda followed his mother's instructions and ate the Nishadas but by mistake he swallowed the brahmin too. Soon after, he felt a fire burning in his throat and he immediately released the brahmin. Even after eating the Nishadas, his hunger was not satisfied and so he went to his father, Sage Kashyapa.

Kashyapa said, "At some distance, you will find an elephant dragging a tortoise. The two of them were sages in their previous birth. They were brothers who had quarlled over property. They had cursed each other to become an elephant and a tortoise. If you eat both of them, your hunger will be satisfied." So Garuda went and ate the two animals. Then he flew towards the kingdom of Indra to get the amrit. When the gods came to know that Garuda was coming to take the amrit from them, a fierce battle started between them but Garuda defeated them easily. Then he went to the place where the amrit was kept. Huge flames surrounded the vessel containing the amrit. Garuda went to the ocean and swallowed lots of water to put out the flames. As he moved towards the amrit, he noticed a big wheel with sharp spokes revolving in front of the vessel. Garuda became small in size and flew between the spokes of the wheel. Then he saw two ferocious animals guarding the vessel. He flapped his wings rapidly and blew dust into the eyes of the monsters and blinded them. Eventually, he reached the vessel and took it away using his talons.

Garuda could have drunk the amrit himself and become immortal but he had to offer it to the snakes to free his mother. This selfless act of Garuda impressed Vishnu, who granted him a boon that he would become immortal even without drinking the amrit. But Vishnu asked him to prevent the snakes from drinking the amrit. Garuda took the amrit to the snakes who released Vinata and Garuda from slavery at once. As they were about to drink the amrit, Garuda stopped them and said that they should clean themselves first. The snakes agreed and went to clean themselves first. In the meantime, the gods were furious with Garuda for stealing the amrit and wanted to stop him. Indra tried to attack Garuda and a battle followed. Garuda smashed Indra's thunderbolt but Indra managed to escape with the amrit. However, a few drops of amrit fell on the ground and the snakes licked it. The amrit was so strong that it burnt their tongues and made them forked. This is the reason why snakes have forked tongues.

Meanwhile, Vishnu was watching everything from a distance and was pleased with Garuda's strength and determination. He made him the king of all birds. In return, Garuda agreed to become Vishnu's mount and since then, Vishnu is always accompanied by Garuda.

God Vishnu Riding His Mount, Garuda

Publication History

  • Art Institute of Chicago, Annual Report 1982-1983 (Art Institute of Chicago, 1982), pp. 38-40 (ill.).
  • Susan L. and John C. Huntington, Leaves from the Bodhi Tree: The Art of Pala India (8th-12th centuries) and Its International Legacy (Seattle and London: The Dayton Art Institute in association with the University of Washington Press, 1990), p. 271, cat. 97.

Exhibition History

Dayton, OH, Dayton Art Institute, Leaves from the Bodhi Tree: The Art of Pala India (8th-12th centuries) and Its International Legacy, Nov. 11 1989- Jan. 14, 1990, cat.97 Baltimore, MD, The Walters Art Gallery, May 22-Aug. 26, 1990 Newark, NJ, The Newark Museum, May 22-Aug. 26 1990 Chicago, IL, The David and Alfred Smart Gallery, Oct. 9- Dec. 2, 1990.


Sold, Ferrucio Abbiati, Alessandria, Italy, 1982, to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

Garuda – the vahana of Vishnu (Vishnu’s mount)

Kartikeya of 5th c. CE (Gupta era)

signifies that particular god. Vahanas are an essential part of iconography of the Indian sculptural genre, especially from the early medieval period, and is an identifying feature of the deity for the learners of iconography. Thus, it is difficult to conceive an image of Shiva without his ever faithful Nandi around him, Vishnu without his Garuda, Skanda without his peacock, or Brahma without his swan. Among the earliest representations of deities with vahanas, is a beautiful Kartikeya of 5th c. CE (Gupta era) sitting on his peacock vahana whose plumage is outstretched and forms a halo around the god. While vahanas occupied a relatively significant space in the early stages, they were later relegated to smaller spaces at the side or at the pedestal, a mere token or symbolism in the arena of iconography.

Garuda: the mount of Vishnu

Garuda placed at the base/pedestal of a Vishnu murti, below his feet, Pala era, 11th c. CE

Garuda in Indian literary history has had a long run, starting its flight from the Vedas as the Surya or Sun imagined as a bird. The Rigvedic hymn describes how beautiful Garutman looks with his splendid wings: divyah sa suparno Garutman . Garuda is also referred to as Tarksya in the Puranas and epics, though RV in its late verses denote Tarksya as a horse. In the Mahabharata, Garuda is shown as directly connected to the Vedic Garutman, and is the younger brother of Aruna (the charioteer of Surya) while in the Puranas and later developed parts of the epics we find Garuda as the son of rishi Kashyap and Vinata. Rishi Kashyapa had the Nagas as his children from another wife Kadru, thus making Garuda and Aruna half brothers of the Nagas.

Winged Garuda in human form, Pratihara, 10th c. CE, Pallu (Rajasthan

In terms of iconography, Garuda is known as the king of birds with a Brahminy kite-like figure. I n its theriomorphic form, Garuda is depicted as a giant bird with partially open wings and in an anthropomorphic form Garuda is shown as a man with wings with some bird like features. In the Mahabharata it is seen that Garuda was seen on the dwaja-stambhs or ritual flagpoles . These dvaja stambhs are “ placed opposite the entrance to the main shrine on axis with the central image [and] are an object of great importance and worship ” (Dallapiccola, 2002, p. 60). Devotees pay respect to these stambhs before entering the temple. People with snake bites would often embrace these stambhs with a firm belief that Garuda would neutralize the Naga poison (Zimmer, 1946). The earliest of the stone dawajas still standing is the Heliodorus pillar (2nd c. BCE ) built by a Bactrian-Greek ambassador in honor of Vishnu in Vidisha. While the Garuda is no longer present, the pillar is considered the first dated structure that can be associated with Vasudeva-Vishnu. To understand how the pillar may have looked like, one can study numismatic evidences, such as the golden dinar of King Samudragupta (335-375 CE) that depicts a Garuda dvaja.

Gold coin of king Samudragupta (335-375 CE). In many of the gold coins of the Imperial Guptas, Garuda appears as a plump bird with outstretched wings perched as the capital piece of a Garudadhvaja. On the silver coins of Chandragupta II Garuda is seen facing with outstretched wings of a full fledged bird but on some his copper coins Garuda is shown with outstretched wings and long human arms wearing bracelets while on few others Garuda is shown with wings, without the human arms, and with a snake in his mouth. On an inscribed terracotta seal of Kumaragupta I the plump bird stands facing a pedestal and the face is that of a human. 5th-century Gupta-era coin (Skandagupta Kramaditya Circa 455-467 CE), Garuda with snakes in his claws Heliodorus pillar, a Garudadhvaja erected around 113 BCE Relief depicting a portable Garuda pillar, Bharhut, 100 BCE (Wikipedia)

In early Indian art, Garuda is shown as a huge parrot like bird, as seen in the architrave of the eastern gateway of Sanchi. In front of this parrot like Garuda (with earrings and a bushy tuft) is a five headed snake, the Naga (identified by Grunwedel).

Garuda on the inner side of the middle architrave of the eastern gateway of Sanchi (1st c. BCE) Garuda with a three hooded Naga on a torana beam from a site in Mathura, plate XXV- chapter VIII), panel sketch by Vincent Smith, 1901

In Gandhara art Garuda appears as a large eagle with earrings and wings, often carrying a naga and a nagini in his beak or with his long talons. As per the Vedanta Desika’s Garuda Panchashath and Garuda Dandaka,Garuda wears the serpent Adisesha on his left wrist and the serpant Gulika on his right wrist. The serpent Vasuki forms his sacred thread. The cobra Takshaka forms his belt on his hip. The snake Karkotaka is worn as his necklace. The snakes Padma and Mahapadma are his ear rings. The snake Shankachuda adorns his divine hair.”

Garuda with snakes, Pratihara, 10th c. CE, Pallu (Rajasthan

The enmity of Garuda with the Nagas is legendary, and the various stories in our literature place this enmity as the result of the the ill treatment meted out to his mother Vinata, by his stepmother (Kadru) and her sons (Nagas). In the Adiparva of Mahabharata we find that after losing a silly bet, Vinata becomes a slave of Kadru. In order to release his mother from the enslavement, Garuda was asked by the Nagas to get them Amrita or nectar. On his way to Indra’s capital, Garuda captured an elephant named Supratika and a tortoise named Vibhavasu from a lake named Alamba, and he later ate them. Once in Indra’s capital he defeated the guardsmen, carried away the pot of nectar, and handed it to the Nagas. His mother was freed as promised, but the Nagas failed to drink the nectar, as Indra arrived in disguise and took away the pot. It is said that Garuda had placed the pot of nectar on kusa grass, and as the nagas were busy making preparatory religious rites to drink the amrita, Indra carried the pot away. When the nagas returned they found the pot missing and in great disappointment they licked the kusa grass on which the pot of amrita was kept. The sharp edged kusa grass slit their tongues, and their tongues remained split thereafter.

Garuda on the top lintel of the doorway leading to the antarala in Teli ka Mandir, Gwalior fort, 8th c. CE Garuda carrying Vishnu, 15th c. CE , Rajasthan, National Museum (Delhi) Garuda flanked by his consorts Rudra and Sukirthi, Nuggehalli Lakshmi Narasimha temple, 1246 CE, Hoysala. photo credits: Jay Shankar Garuda on the mandapa roof corner of Varadharaja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram, Garuda on four corners of the dome of the vimana of the Vaikuntha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram

Silparatna and Sritatvanidhi describe Garuda as two armed, but Silparatna also gives a description of Garutman as 8 armed, holding gada, sankha, chakra, sword, kamandala, a snake, and the feet of Vasudeva-Vishnu should be resting on his two front hands. Silparatna names two armed Garuda as Tarksya. According to Visnudharmottara, Garuda should be emerald in colour, with two powerful lustrous wings that are yellow in colour, four arms, a pot belly, two round eyes and the beak, chest, knees, and legs must look like that of a kite. His two back hands should be carrying a pot of nectar and an umbrella, while his front hands should be in anjali mudra. When carrying Vishnu Garuda should be depicted as bejeweled and pot-bellied, and supporting his master’s legs instead of carrying the pot and umbrella. While Silparatna depicts only the 8 armed Garuda as carrying a snake, the Sritatvanidhi says that Garuda is the holder of a snake hood (phaniphanabhrt) and his head is adorned with snakes (phanimanditah). The epics and the Puranas also lay stress on his association with snakes. Sritatvanidhi also gives another description where it says Garuda should be shown kneeling on his left knee and wearing a crown of snakes. His face and body should be that of a human being, but his nose should be pointed and raised like a beak. He should be two armed which must be held in an anjali posture.

Garuda at the Radha Krishna Temple Complex – Sabarna Roy Choudhury Estate – Barisha – Kolkata. Photo from Wikipedia

In medieval art Garuda is seen mainly in two forms: one as a capital of a Garudadhvaja or placed in front of the Vishnu temple and the other where he is shown carrying Visnnu. He is mostly two armed showing anjali mudra, with a round eyed human face and bird like beak and wings. Some eastern Indian Garudas of a later period show him with four arms where the two back hands support Vishnu and Lakshmi. The Garuda on columns are mostly two-armed with elaborate wings, feet with claws, bejeweled, nose shaped like bird beak, and hair in coils.

Garuda as a column head of a Garudadhvaja, 11th c. CE – Jalghata Kachery – West Bengal

Indian Museum, Kolkata (Wikipedia) Garuda in Chennakeshava temple at Belur (wikipedia) Bas relief carving of Garuda at the feet of Vishnu, Badami cave 3 (photo from internet)

Garuda is a popular figure not only in India, but is also highly revered in Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. The Indonesian official coat of arms has the Garuda in it and the national emblem of Indonesia is known as Garuda Pancasila. The Indian Air Force also has the Garuda in their coat of arms, and their special operations unit is known as Garud Commando Force.

Garuda at Durbar square in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo from Wikipedia Patan Rakta varna Mahavihara. Photo by: Jay Shankar Garuda carrying Vishnu on two sides of the center panel showing Indra riding his elephant, Halebeedu, Photo by: Jay Shankar Garuda fighting the Nagas, Halebeedu, Photo by: Jay Shankar Garuda, Soumyakeshava temple, Photo by: Jay Shankar Tusha hiti, Patan Photo by: Jay Shankar Garuda, Patan Museum, Photo by: Jay Shankar Bindiganavile (Karnataka), Photo by: Jay Shankar

Garuda, second half of the 8th–early 9th century, Pandyas, Source: Met Museum.

Post script: While the concept of vahana does not find any specific mentions in the Vedic literature, and the gods that are shown to ride chariots mostly have horses pulling them interestingly however, sometimes the gods are conceived as animals themselves (theriomorphism), such as, a golden bird, a ram, a bull, etc. Perhaps these were the animistic remains from a totemistic state, which were gradually sublimated through further evolution of religious iconography. While the Vedic hymns that invoked the gods gave the deities certain characteristics that associated them with the animals named, but in no manner do the hymns give a feeling that an actual animal is being invoked (as would have been in the case of animistic worship). While associating animals as vahanas seem to be of a later development, divinities being shown as humans with animals by their side is an old concept. Innumerable Harappan seals depict both animals and humans which were most likely divinities worshipped by the locals. There are also seals that depict humans riding animals, while some are composite art showing human and animal parts in one body. Harappan seals also show animals being carried by humans in ceremonial processions, a practice also depicted on Amaravati relief panels where a bull effigy is seen carried in a procession. Animals are again found on columns from the Ashokan era, which many scholars (Banerjea, KK Ganguli, KK Dasgupta, RP Chanda, etc) say are more likely to represent the various religious sects existing at that time, such as the bull would represent Shiva, Simha or lion would represent Durga, etc., much in the lines of the 1st c. BCE Garuda pillar of Besnagar representing Vishnu . Thus, it is quite clear that representing deities in one or the other animal form is an ancient practice. In terms of iconography it is seen that the deities liked sitting on their vahanas for some time (Shiva in Saka and Kushana eras), but later the vahanas got relegated to the pedestal and turned into just a token, reflecting their once significance as a mount.

Dallapicolla, A. L. (2002). Dictionary of Hindu lore and legend. New York: Thames & Hudson

TAG Rao, elements of Hindu iconography.

KK ganguli, The concept of vahana in Indian Iconography, Proceedings of the Indian History Congress Vol. 28 (1966), pp. 107-112.

Smith, V. A. (1901). The Jain stûpa and other antiquities of Mathurâ.

Zimmer, H. R., & Campbell, J. (1946). Myths and symbols in Indian art and civilization. [New York]: Pantheon Books.

(Photos taken from the internet are for representative purposes only, and has no commercial use)

Bali | Why Garuda Wisnu?

The 75-metre tall Garuda Wisnu (121 metres or 396 feet, if you count the mammoth concrete pedestal on which it rests) statue in Bali depicts Lord Vishnu riding on his vehicle, the mythical bird Garuda. The statue speaks for the dominant Hindu population of Bali, representing the religion of the country for the past centuries. Lord Vishnu is known for being the "preserver" in Hindu mythology and he holds different objects that depict other meanings in his four hands. He holds a lotus flower, mace, conch, and discus in the statue as well. Garuda, the bird vehicle, is known to be a watchful protector and the mightiest of all birds. The location of the statue at Ungasan, Badung, Bali—right across the airport, atop a hill— seems to be the perfect setting for Garuda to watch over the island!

The statue is also set amidst the sprawling Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, which stretches across 60 hectares and is elevated at an altitude 263 meters above sea level. The entire design has been conceived keeping in mind the massive number of tourists visiting the island — in fact, the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park can accommodate 70,000 people at one go.

How come Garuda and Snake which are enemies both serve Lord Vishnu ?

Garuda and Nagas are enemies of each other. Yet, both of them are vehicles of Lord Vishnu. How is this possible ? What is the implied symbolism behind this ?

There is indeed a symbolism involved in this apparent contradiction. Lord Vishnu has the basic function of ensuring that the world functions properly. Clearly, world’s natural state is not that of stability. The world is chaotic and it is Lord Vishnu who ensures order. The fact that he uses both Garuda and Snake as his vehicle suggests that Lord Vishnu strikes balances in the chaos by using various “instincts” that might actually oppose each other.

But the second symbolism is more important. Vishnu does not travel on Snake but instead rests on it. Snake’s incarnation like Balrama or Laxmana are with him as his brothers. But at the same time Snake protects Vishnu. Snake is not an attack vehicle. Snakes by nature are short sighted and very very instinctive. just like Balrama, snakes can be angered easily and rely more on action rather than strategy. Vishnu’s snake represents Vishnu’s ability to plan for short term.

Garuda is Vishnu’s attack vehicle. Garuda is a far sighted animal. In-fact Garuda’s speciality is his sight. Garuda represent’s Vishnu’s ability to plan for distant future, to look at bigger picture. Garuda is also an intelligent animal which represents how well Vishnu can think.

Brass Vishnu & Lakshmi Statue Riding Garuda 12"

"Only the unlearned deem myself (Vishnu) and Shiva to be distinct he , I , and Brahma are one, assuming different names for the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. We, as the triune Self, pervade all creatures the wise therefore regard all others as themselves."

Vishnu explains the Nature of the Trinity (trimurti

Vishnu is one of the principal Hindu deities, worshiped as the protector and preserver of the world and restorer of dharma (moral order). He is known chiefly through his avatars (incarnations), particularly Rama, Krishna and Buddha. In theory, Vishnu manifests a portion of himself anytime he is needed to fight evil, and his appearances are innumerable but in practice, ten incarnations are most commonly recognized.
Vishnu appears to be a prime example of how older gods and cults have been absorbed into Hinduism. Thought to be linked with an earlier sun god, Vishnu's ten incarnations may also be examples of older gods that have been amalgamated.
Vaishnavites, one of the largest Hindu groups, are the devotees of Vishnu as Ishvara, the Supreme Being, worshiped in the forms of his manifestations or incarnations. Because of his pervasive presence, images as the focus of worship are of great importance, as are temple architecture and carving.

The Ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu

Vishnu's preserving, restoring, and protecting powers have been manifested in the world in a series of ten earthly incarnations known as avatars. The avatars arrive either to prevent a great evil or to affect good upon the earth. Nine are said to have descended already: three in nonhuman form, one in hybrid form and five in human form. The most important are Rama, fearless upholder of the law of dharma and Krishna youthful hero of the Bhagavad-Gita Vishnu's final avatar is expected to arrive at a time when the earth is at the end of its present cycle, with the purpose of destroying the world and subsequently recreating it.
Matsya the Fish - Saved humanity and the sacred Veda text from the flood.
Kurma the Turtle - Helped create the world by supporting it on his back.
Varaha the Boar - Raised the earth out of water with his tusks.
Narashima, half-man, half lion - Destroyed a tyrant demon king.
Vamana the Dwarf - Subdued king Bali, a powerful demon.
Parashurama the Brahmin - Destroyed the warrior caste.
Rama - Rescued his with Sita and killed the demon Ravana.
Krishna - told the Epic poem Bhagavad-Gita to the warrior Arjuna.
Buddha - The enlightened one.
Kalki the Horse - Yet to come to the earth.

Brass statues from India do not need much maintenance. The best way to maintain the statue is to simply dust the piece periodically to keep any dirt from accumulating. They can be used for both indoor and outdoor use.

You can use soap, warm water and a cotton cloth to periodically go over the statue to remove any dust or dirt buildup. If you are really interested in making the statue shine you can use some natural oil, like coconut oil or olive oil, and a cotton rag to wipe down the metal portions of the piece. You can use a toothbrush as well to get into the small crevices of the statue like the hands and hair.

Indian brass's durability makes it perfect for cold winters and hot summers of any climate. The metal can stand up to the harshest conditions of heat and bitter cold. We suggest you bathe the sculpture every couple of months so that dirt does not collect on the sculpture and then use a cotton cloth with some natural oil to give the statue a shine.

If you have any questions concerning your brass statue please email us at [email protected] or call us at 1(760) 994-4455.

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This sculpture is in our Oceanside, California store and ready for immediate shipping. The shipping charge is automatically calculated by UPS for shipping within the United States. Each sculpture is usually shipped within 24 hours of the order with the exception of the weekend.
You can obtain a shipping quote for any statue by clicking the link, Calculate Shipping beneath to the Add To Cart button on every statues' page. Besides the shipping price, the results will also display the date the statue will arrive at your home. Lotus Sculpture uses Instapak foam injection packing system or bubble wrap and recycled peanuts to ensure that all our pieces arrive undamaged. Click here to learn more about Lotus Sculptures packing.

International Shipping

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You can obtain a shipping quote for any statue by clicking the link, Calculate Shipping beneath to the Add To Cart button on every statues' page. Or you can email [email protected] or call us 760-994-4455 to receive a shipping quote. Please include the item number of the statue you are interested in purchasing as well as your country and postal code.​ Lotus Sculpture uses Instapak foam injection packing system or bubble wrap and recycled peanuts to ensure that all our pieces arrive undamaged. Click here to learn more about Lotus Sculptures packing.

Changu Narayan Temple

The ancient Hindu temple of Changu Narayan is located on a high hilltop that is also known as Changu or Dolagiri. The temple was surrounded by forest with champak tree and a small village, known as Changu Village. The temple is located in Changunarayan VDC of Bhaktapur District, Nepal. This hill is about 8 miles east of Kathmandu and a few miles north of Bhaktapur.

The pagoda style temple has several masterpieces of 5th and 12th century Nepalese art. According to legends Changu Narayan temple existed as early as 325 A.D. in the time of King Licchavi King Hari Datta Verma and it is one of Nepal’s richest structures historically as well as artistically. In the grounds there is a stone pillar inscription of great importance recording the military exploits of King Man Deva who reigned from 496 A.D. to 524 A.D. The first epigraphic evidence of Nepalese history found in the temple premises during the reign of the Licchavi King Mandeva dating back to 464 A.D. shows that Changu had already been established as a sacred site in the 3rd century A.D. It is the earliest inscription known in Nepal. The temple was restored during the lifetime of Ganga Rani, consort of Siva Simha Malla who reigned from 1585 to 1614. There are records of the temple burning in the year of 822 Nepal Samvat (1702 A.D.), after which reconstruction was carried out. More inscriptions in gilt-copper plates were added by Bhaskara Malla in 1708 A.D.

Changu Narayan is considered to be the oldest temple of Nepal. It remains a milestone in Nepali temple architecture with rich embossed works. The two-storey roofed temple stands on a high plinth of stone. According to Professor Madhan Rimal, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tribhuwan University, the temple is neither in Shikhara Style nor the Pagoda style. It has an architectural style which he would like to describe as a traditional Nepali temple. Many similar features are found at Gokarna Mahadev. The temple is surrounded by sculptures and arts related to Lord Vishnu. Also we can find the temples of lord Shiva, Ashta Matrika, Chhinnamasta, Kileshwor and Krishna inside the courtyard of main temple.

There are four entrances to the temple and these gates are guarded by life size pairs of animals such as lions, sarabhas, graffins and elephants on each side of the entrances. The ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu and the other idols are carved in the struts, which support the roof. The entrance door is gilded with carvings of Nagas (snakes). On the main entrance gate (i.e. western entrance gate), we can find the Chakra, Sankha, Kamal and Khadga all at the top of a stone pillar. These stone pillars has inscription in Sanskrit. This inscription is considered to be the oldest inscription of Nepal and the stone inscription pillar was erected by Lichhavi King Manadeva in 464 AD. The following monument are located while visiting the temple from the right side after entering from the main entrance (Eastern gate) to courtyard.

• Historical pillar erected by Mandeva in 464 AD
• Garuda:- flying vehicle of Lord Vishnu which has got a human face and is a devotee of Vishnu.
• Statue of Bhupalendra Malla, King of Kantipur and his queen BhuwanLakshmi.
• Chanda Narayan (Garuda Narayan):- 7th century stone sculpture of Vishnu riding on Garuda. This sculpture has been depicted in the 10 rupee paper note issued by Nepal Rastra Bank
• Sridhar Vishnu:- 9th century stone sculpture of Vishnu, Laxmi and Garuda which stands on the pedestals of various motifs.
• Vaikuntha Vishnu :- 16th century sculpture of Vishnu seated on the lalitason position on the six armed Garuda and Laxmi seated on the lap of Vishnu
• Chhinnamasta:- Temple dedicated to Chhinnamasta devi, who beheaded herself, offered her own blood to feed the hungry Dakini and Varnini.
• Vishworup:- 7th century stone sculpture- beautifully carved that depicts the scene from the Bhagwat Gita, in which Lord Krishna manifests his universal form to his devotee Arjun.
• Vishnu Vikrant :- 7th century sculpture of Trivikram Vishnu that depicts the scene of popular Hindu myth of Lord Vishnu and his beloved Bali Raja.
• Narasimha :- 7th century sculpture of Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, killing the demon King Hiranyakasyapa to save his beloved devotee Prahalad.
• Kileshwor:- small two storied temples of Lord Shiva, who is believed to have appeared in this place for the protection of the hill.

Monday-Friday: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm & 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm

Since the ancient period, many festivals and fairs have been organized on various occasions. One of the main festivals of Changu is called Changu Narayan Jatra. The festival ‘Mahashanan’ held here as an important festival. On the day of ‘Jugadi Nawami’ and ‘Haribodhini Ekadashi’ special puja is conducted in Changu. Daily puja and aarati is not conducted in temple and on the occasion of family rituals, such as birthday, marriage, etc. local conduct not special puja in the temple.

Changu Narayan Temple is on the list of world heritage sites. The valuable stone sculpture and ancient inscriptions have archeological, historical and cultural significance. Changu Narayan VDC is formed a committee called Changu Narayan Temple management Committee which is the responsible body to work for protection, preservation and management. Likewise the Department of Archeology and Palace Management Office, Bhaktapur has also provided assistance on the conservation and preservation of the temple. Many local youth clubs are involved in managing festivals, organizing awareness programs in and around temple area.

Garuda - The Vahana of Lord Vishnu

Recently there was a television program on ancient aliens, and one of the episodes described Garuda as a spaceship and Vishnu as an alien Lord. It is not true. No ancient aliens visited India and established the Vedic culture. It was a religious tradition whose roots are in the Vedas. The gods are heavenly gods, not aliens. There may be aliens in some part of the universe, but they are not responsible for the religious traditions and beliefs of Hinduism.

There are many subtle words, made of prana and subtle matter. Our gods belong to those worlds and they reside in those spheres. We can communicate with them through our own consciousness, but it requires huge effort and a lot of self-purification. If your mind is silent and pure, you can see our gods in those spheres, and even communicate with them. They usually do not interfere with our lives, unless it is extremely necessary and important for the cause of creation.

Garuda or Garutmanta, is the eagle like divine bird used by Lord Vishnu as his vehicle. He is not an ordinary bird and you can imagine his size since he serves as the vehicle of Vishnu, who is preserver and the lord of the Universe.

According to the Puranas, Garuda was the son of sage Kashyapa and Vinata. According to the legends, Vinata has a sister named Kadru. She is the mother of snakes. Once, Kadru captured Vinata due to a personal rivalry and held her captive. She insisted that if Garuda brought her the ambrosia (amrit) from the heavens, she would free her.

To save his mother, Garuda went to heaven, killed two serpents who were guarding the pot of ambrosia and brought it to Kadru. His mother was released. However, Indra, the Lord of the heavens, was not pleased with these developments. He insisted on Garuda to bring the pot of ambrosia back to heaven and in return gave permission to Garuda to kill and eat the snakes. Since that day, Garuda has begun feeding upon snakes.

In the iconography Garuda is depicted with a strong human body and an eagle like face. He holds two snakes in his two hands, wears several snakes as ornaments on his body, as belt around girdle, sacred thread, necklace and rings. He is also depicted in many images either with folded hands or carrying a pot of ambrosia either with one or two of his hands. Sometimes he is shown as devouring serpents. In some images, he is flanked on both sides by his two consorts, Rudra and Sukriti. Symbolically, Garuda represents the moving aspect of creation, namely breath in the microcosm and wind in the macrocosm.

Garuda's birth and his exploits in heaven to secure the ambrosia are mentioned in the Mahabharata. According to the epic, Garuda has six sons, who are the progenitors of the entire bird community. Garuda served as the vehicle to Lord Krishna and Satyabhama in their war with Narakasura, the demon who is mentioned in the legends associated with the origin of the festival of Dipawali.

In Buddhism [ edit ]

The statues of Krut battling naga serpent, a Thai Buddhist adaptation of Garuda in Wat Phra Kaeo temple, Bangkok

In Buddhist mythology, the Garuda (Pāli: garuḷā ) are enormous predatory birds with intelligence and social organization. Another name for the Garuda is suparṇa (Pāli: supaṇṇa ), meaning “well-winged, having good wings”. Like the Naga, they combine the characteristics of animals and divine beings, and may be considered to be among the lowest devas.

The exact size of the Garuda is uncertain, but its wings are said to have a span of many miles. This may be a poetic exaggeration, but it is also said that when a Garuda’s wings flap, they create hurricane-like winds that darken the sky and blow down houses. A human being is so small compared to a Garuda that a man can hide in the plumage of one without being noticed (Kākātī Jātaka, J.327). They are also capable of tearing up entire banyan trees from their roots and carrying them off.

Garudas are the great golden-winged Peng birds. They also have the ability to grow large or small, and to appear and disappear at will. Their wingspan is 330 yojanas (one yojana being 8 miles long). With one flap of its wings, a Peng bird dries up the waters of the sea so that it can gobble up all the exposed dragons. With another flap of its wings, it can level the mountains by moving them into the ocean.

There were also the four garuda-kings : Great-Power-Virtue Garuda-King, Great-Body Garuda-King, Great-Fulfillment Garuda-King, and Free-At-Will Garuda-King, each accompanied by hundreds of thousands of attendants. [ citation needed ]

The Garudas have kings and cities, and at least some of them have the magical power of changing into human form when they wish to have dealings with people. On some occasions Garuda kings have had romances with human women in this form. Their dwellings are in groves of the simbalī, or silk-cotton tree.

The Garuda are enemies to the nāga, a race of intelligent serpent- or dragon-like beings, whom they hunt. The Garudas at one time caught the nāgas by seizing them by their heads but the nāgas learned that by swallowing large stones, they could make themselves too heavy to be carried by the Garudas, wearing them out and killing them from exhaustion. This secret was divulged to one of the Garudas by the ascetic Karambiya, who taught him how to seize a nāga by the tail and force him to vomit up his stone (Pandara Jātaka, J.518).

The Garudas were among the beings appointed by Śakra to guard Mount Sumeru and the Trāyastriṃśa heaven from the attacks of the asuras.

In the Maha-samaya Sutta (Digha Nikaya 20), the Buddha is shown making temporary peace between the Nagas and the Garudas.

The Thai rendering of Garuda ( ครุฑ Krut) as Vishnu vehicle and Garuda’s quest for elixir was based on Indian legend of Garuda. It was told that Garuda overcame many heavenly beings in order to gain the ambrosia (amrita) elixir. No one was able to get the better of him, not even Narai (Vishnu). At last, a truce was called and an agreement was made to settle the rancor and smooth all the ruffled feathers. It was agreed that when Narai is in his heavenly palace, Garuda will be positioned in a superior status, atop the pillar above Narai’s residence. However, whenever Narai wants to travel anywhere, Garuda must serve as his transport. [ citation needed ]

The Sanskrit word Garuda has been borrowed and modified in the languages of several countries. In Burmese, Garudas are called galone ( ဂဠုန် ). In Burmese astrology, the vehicle of the Sunday planet is the galone. [11] In the Kapampangan language of the Philippines, the native word for eagle is galura. In Japanese a Garuda is called karura (however, the form Garuda ガルーダ is used in recent Japanese fiction – see below).

For the Mongols, the Garuda is called Khan Garuda or Khangarid (Mongolian: Хангарьд ). Before and after each round of Mongolian wrestling, wrestlers perform the Garuda ritual, a stylised imitation of the Khangarid and ahawk. [ citation needed ]

In the Qing Dynasty fiction The Story of Yue Fei (1684), Garuda sits at the head of the Buddha’s throne. But when a celestial bat (an embodiment of the Aquarius constellation) flatulates during the Buddha’s expounding of theLotus Sutra, Garuda kills her and is exiled from paradise. He is later reborn as Song Dynasty General Yue Fei. The bat is reborn as Lady Wang, wife of the traitor Prime Minister Qin Hui, and is instrumental in formulating the “Eastern Window” plot that leads to Yue’s eventual political execution. [12] It is interesting to note The Story of Yue Fei plays on the legendary animosity between Garuda and the Nagas when the celestial bird-born Yue Fei defeats a magic serpent who transforms into the unearthly spear he uses throughout his military career. [13] Literary critic C. T. Hsia explains the reason why Qian Cai, the book’s author, linked Yue with Garuda is because of the homology in their Chinese names. Yue Fei’s courtesy name is Pengju (鵬舉). [14] A Peng (鵬) is a giant mythological bird likened to the Middle Eastern Roc. [15] Garuda’s Chinese name is Great Peng, the Golden-Winged Illumination King (大鵬金翅明王). [14]

Watch the video: Vishnu Riding Garuda Sculpture by