Kailashnath Mahadev

Text by Prianka Rauniyar / Photo: Prianka Rauniar

The ever-radiant and tallest statue of the imperishable Lord Shiva.

A backdrop of lush green and high up on a hill top, stands the tallest Shiva sculpture in the world. The setting seems perfect to suggest that the grand master of the universe was looking upon the valley from his humble abode in Mount Kailash. Oft known as the Land of Pashupatinath and thronged by devotees throughout the year, Nepal has been a pilgrimage for Shaivites from all around the world. This colossal 143 ft figure, 25 kms east of Kathmandu in Sanga, adds to the list of “places to visit” for most followers.

Terraced paddy fields along the neighboring yet distant hills and the wind gushing in your face makes for a pleasant and smooth drive. A hill away from the actual statue, it looks like a shiny iconic image in the middle of nowhere. As you walk up the stairs, you can feel the statue grow on you. The giant trishul seems to pierce the sky and the self-manifested three-eyed lord adorned with a ardha-chandra (half moon) on his “jatta” (long knotted hair), wrapped with a huge snake around his neck holding his damaru and kamandal speaks volumes about the power Shiva commands. However, one look at the profound loving eyes calmed me and I realized it isn’t without reason that Shiva is known as the preceptor and protector of all. Alongside this massive sculpture are smaller pieces of Parvati, Ganesha and Kartik perched on a pedestal on one side and Shiva’s gate keeper, Nandi - the bull on the other, captured in all its splendor by artists brought down from India by Mr. Kamal Jain.

The owner of Hilltake in Nepal, Mr. Jain was inspired to establish this statue by looking at a similar one on the Delhi-Jaipur highway in India. The day he visited and paid his respects there, he dwelled on it all night and saw himself building it in his dream as well. Planning and finding a suitable land that would overlook the city and be a picturesque location, he decided on Kailashpuri motivated purely by his religious inclination as a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva. In more recent times, to promote and maintain the property, without marring the sanctity of this enclosure, he’s built a nature care treatment center behind the structure which serves as a get-away offering yoga, spa, colon-cleansing and various other therapies to relax your senses. It’s got something for everyone says Mr. Kamal - a children’s park, swimming pool for the young and doctors for complete check-up along with a meditation center for the old. It’s a weekend getaway and helps build tourism for the area to benefit he claims.

Caught amid critics, to charge a fee for entrance or not, Mr. Jain’s decided to scrap the fee but entrance to the park still stands at Rs. 100. However, the seating around the statue is open to all. It’s no wonder then that it attracts a footfall of 8000 to 10,000 visitors on weekends and public holidays which runs into lakhs on Shivaratri and other religious festivals. Last new year, there were a whopping 1.5 lakh visitors and this number is only increasing! Enamored by the sheer size of Lord Shiva or for religious reasons or just to enjoy the view from up here, a trip to Kailashnath Mahadev is becoming the next hot-spot in Kathmandu’s varied landscape.