Dakshinkali Temple, 14 miles (22 kilometers) south of central Kathmandu and on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley, is a sacred Hindu temple famous for one thing. Twice a week, male goats and roosters are sacrificed here to the goddess Kali, who is said to be hungry for blood. Visitors can watch this event at the temple in the hills.
Dakshinkali Temple is the most important Kali temple in Nepal. Kali is the Hindu goddess of empowerment, time, and change. Her name refers to the color black, kalo in Nepali, and she is often called Dark Mother. Devout Hindus believe that bloodthirsty Kali needs biweekly sacrifices. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, worshippers bring animals to the temple where they are killed and butchered. The meat is either taken home or cooked and eaten at the temple.
Travelers often visit Dakshinkali Temple on a day trip from Kathmandu that might include visiting nearby Pharping and Chobhar, too. Alternatively, Pharping is a good place to check out when hiking up Mount Champadevi.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple building itself.
- Be respectful of devotees when taking photos and watching the sacrifices as it’s a sacred ritual to believers.
- Those squeamish about blood might want to skip this temple, but travelers interested in learning more about traditional Nepali beliefs and customs will find it fascinating.
- There is no entry fee.
How to Get There
Local buses run to Dakshinkali from central Kathmandu’s Old Bus Park and Ratna Park (with additional buses running on Tuesday and Saturday to accommodate the extra visitors), and the trip takes about two hours. Alternatively, join a day trip with transportation included, or hire a taxi to take you to Dakshinkali.
When to Get There
The animal sacrifices are made on Tuesday and Saturday, so expect the temple to be crowded at these times. Saturday, the Nepali day of rest, is the busiest time to visit. It is also busy during the annual Dashain festival, Nepal’s biggest Hindu festival, which falls in September or October.
The town of Pharping is about half a mile (one kilometer) from Dakshinkali, and some tours visit both areas. Pharping offers views of bright green rice fields, through which you can take a short hike. Pharping is holy to Tibetan Buddhists who believe it is where Guru Rinpoche attained enlightenment. There are some important temples and meditation caves to visit, as well as golden-roofed monasteries in the hills around the town.