Vihar or Bajrayogini is situated on a hilltop in
Sankhu, northeast of Kathmandu City. Hilltops are
the preferred location for the temples of yogini
goddesses. Bajrayogini Temple at Pharping and Akasayogini
Temple at Pulchok, Patan, are other examples of
sites for yoginis.
Vihar is stands as proof to the belief that Buddhism
existed in Nepal from around the start of the
first century AD. This Vihar, a Buddhist shrine,
was present during the Licchavi period (300-879).
Unlike most of the Sanskrit names given to sites
during the Licchavi period and the terminologies
from that era which remained in use during the
generations that followed, Gum Vihar was assigned
its local name meaning the monastery on the hill.
So it is probable that Gum Vihar was established
and named before the Licchavis. Whenever its construction
may have been it was highly revered during the
Licchavi period. The vihar received many gifts
from Manadev I, who ruled the kingdom from 464
to 505. He repaired the temple as acts of redemption
to his sins; he had inadvertently killed his father.
Manadev also built a stupa in the area, which
lies next to the temple of Bajrayogini. This stupa
is covered by a Newari style temple dedicated
to Mahamayuri, a Buddhist goddess. Amsuvarma (605-621),
another Licchavi king, donated costly gifts, which
were calculated second to the amount donated to
the Pashupati and Changu Narayan Temples.
from eleventh century, especially after the reign
of Sthiti Malla (1382-1395), the people of the
area began their diversion towards Hinduism. It
was due to this change of religious focus that
the Buddhist Gum Vihar lost much of its attractiveness
to the Bajrayogini Temple built in its vicinity.
The bronze image of Buddha slowly decreased in
importance as the image of Ugratara Bajrayogini
attracted most of the worshippers visiting the
hill. By the time the Shahs took over rule in
the Kathmandu Valley in the eighteenth century,
this Buddha image was deprived of its original
form and representation and was revered by Buddhists
as Blacksmith's Queen.
image of Ugratara Bajrayogini in the temple has
two hands, one holding a sword and the other a
lotus. Her face and hands are painted red. Other
details are covered by heavy clothing and ornaments.
There are other smaller images of beasts at her
side inside the main temple.
There is also yagya kunda, a place designated
for fire rituals. During these rituals, offerings
are made to the fire god. Yagya kunda are found
in other temples in the Valley at Swayambhu and
Pachali Bhairav. The presence of this yagya kunda
in the surroundings of the Bajrayogini Temple
shows that there have been fire rituals where
the people offered sandalwood and others, ghee,
and grains in order to please the Agni God for
fulfillment of wishes, bringing rain and thus