This site, situated at the foot of the Shivpuri hills in the northern-most part of the Kathmandu valley, has probably the largest stone statue of Lord Vishnu in Nepal reclining on a bed of snakes in the middle of a pond. The five-metre long granite image carved out of a single rock dates back to the Lichchhavi period. According to folklore, a farmer was ploughing his field one day when his plough struck a boulder, and to his surprise and alarm, blood started oozing out of the cut in the stone. Upon digging around the huge boulder, he unearthed the magnificent image of the reclining Vishnu that had remained buried in the ground. A big mela (fair) is held at Budhanilkantha on the auspicious two main Ekadashis, Harishayani and Haribodhini, marking the four month period when the Lord retires to sleep.
Access: There are regular microbuses from Kathmandu’s city centre to Budhanilkantha, 9 km to the north.