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The stone slab with two carved feet marking the spot where Guru Nanak lay in meditation at the shrine

Under a large papal tree, the priest pointed out a stone slab on which were carved two feet, laid with roses. “The Guru’s,” he said.

“It is at this spot that Guru Nanak sat in meditation. In that little shrine behind you, are buried the ashes of a Nepali king.”

We sat together on mossy steps leading up to the shrine, a strong scent of jasmine in the air and two bulbuls (passerine songbirds) pecking about the carved feet. And there he told me the story of the temple of the golden book and the shrine against which we sat.

It seems a Malla king of the early sixteenth century – the priest did not know his name – suffered a disturbed mind. His brothers, alarmed by his behaviour, banished him to India. Roaming forlornly through the holy city of Benaras he came upon the saint Guru Nanak and begged him to cure his affliction. After many visits and much beseeching, the guru advised the king to return to his kingdom where his health would be restored.

Miraculously, the saint preceded the king to Kathmandu for there he was, meditating under a papal tree on a hill beside the river. .....More