The Chandragiri Hill, seven kilometers from Thankot, lies on the South-West of Kathmandu Valley and is 2551 meters from sea level. Soaring peaks and breathtaking views of whole Kathmandu Valley covered with a lush green blanket of flora makes Chandragiri truly a great bountiful and pristine landscape. The panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley & Himalayan range from Annapurna to Everest makes anyone feel like seeing whole Nepal from this hill.
With reference to the description written in Himvatakhanda, Bhaleshwor Mahadev appeared at the spot where Satidevi’s ‘Bhala’ or the forehead fell off from her dead body. It is believed that Satidevi, Shiva’s consort, gave up her life by jumping in a fire pyre at her father Daksha Prajapati’s yagna (sacred fire ritual) after Daksha insulted her husband Shiva in front of scores of gods and goddesses invited at the religious ceremony. An enraged Shiva then carried her dead body on his back and walked across the world like a madman for long span of time, without taking note of Satidevi’s decaying body. Different ‘shakti-centres’ were established at sites where different parts of Satidevi’s body fell in course of Lord Shiva’s mourning.
A temple was erected at the same site where Bhaleshwor Mahadev appeared. The legend of Bhaleshwor Mahadev is also associated with Gandharva, a low ranking Hindu deity, named Sumukha. Sumukha forcedly kissed Rambha, an angel who had recently retired as a courtier at Heaven, believed to be Indra’s (king of gods) kingdom. Rambha then cursed Sumukha for his misdemeanor after which he was forced to live on earth leaving his abode in the heaven. Sumukha was wandering around the mortal world while living the curse when met with a sage, Galab, who suggested a way out for Sumukha to repent and break the curse. Sage Galab advised Sumukha that he should offer prayers before Bhaleshwor Mahadev after purifying himself every day as penance. Fortunately, in due course, Mahadev was pleased and he blessed Sumukha, following which he settled down with Rambha. Sumukha was also taken in as a close aide by Bhaleshwor. The Himvatkhanda also has another folklore tied in with the Bhaleshwor Mahadev. A Brahmin named Birupas was suffering from leprosy as a result of the sins he had committed in his past life. The leper Birupas was wandering aimlessly in his misery when he came across Sage Nemuni who advised him to visit 64 Shiva lingas as atonement for his transgressions. Birupas is said to have visited Bhaleshwor while making rounds of 64 different Shiva temples.
It is believed that the people who come here to worship Bhaleshwor get their wishes fulfilled and that they will find abode in the Shivaloka or Lord Shiva’s world in their afterlife.
Chandragiri hills carry historical significance as well. It was from these hills that King Prithivi Narayan Shah caught the first glimpse of a much scenic and prosperous Kathmandu valley, which in fact instilled in the king’s mind an idea of annexing the valley into his kingdom. According to folklore, Prithivi Narayan Shah is believed to have amassed spiritual powers for unification process after undergoing rigorous ‘sadhana’ or meditation at these very hills. The Gorkhali King disguised himself while ascending the hills in order to avoid being recognized by the Malla Kings of Kathmandu Valley.
In his ‘Divyopadesh’ (Divine Preaching), it has been mentioned that King Prithivi Narayan Shah was determined to the first annex and then make Kathmandu the capital of unified Nepal. He apparently first saw the valley while on his way back to his kingdom in Gorkha from his in-law’s realm in Makwanpur. Astrologers Bhanu Aryal and Kulananda Dhakal who accompanied the king during that trip had made a prediction that their king’s wish to takeover Kathmandu would definitely come true. As per popular belief, pleased with his perseverance and Sadhana, it was Bhaleshwor Mahadev that granted King Prithivi Narayan Shah his wishes.