Northwest of the main stupa is another important shrine known as Shantipur. It is also called Akashpur (Sky Place) which represents the fifth element and has a fascinating legend. It looks like a simple structure but it carries huge cultural importance. This pur is made as a sky element so it is named ‘Samwarpur‘ and later ‘Santipur‘. This pur is popular by the name of Shantikar Acharya who requested King Gunakamdev to build Swayambhu. Shantikar was a king named Prachanda dev before he became a saint. He came here on a pilgrimage and later became a saint practicing various tantras.
Shantipur a box-shaped temple is a place where it is believed to be an underground chamber. Here, you’ll feel different vibes, and a mysterious atmosphere when you enter this temple infront of the door to the underground chamber. It’s a secret place that is always locked and concealed, a door to the underground chamber. It is believed that the immortal Shantikar Acharya lives in this underground chamber doing meditation. He is a Tantric master who is believed to be in a mystic living state for many centuries with his tantric powers.
It is said that Shantikar Acharya has locked himself in an underground chamber since the 5th century and vowed to remain inside until he is needed by the people of Kathmandu. He has been there for 1500 years and has power over the weather. Before he went into Shantipur he said “I’ll come out only when there will be no Buddhist in Kathmandu valley”. It is believed that when there is no rain in Kathmandu, the King must enter the underground chamber and Shantikar will give a secret mandala. This mandala needs to be brought outside of the temple and shown to the sky then the rain begins to fall. Frescoes painted on the inside temple walls depict when last this occurred in 1658.
In the 17th century, when Kathmandu was a country, was in distress due to drought. The king of Kathmandu Partap Malla visited alone in this chamber in 1658 to seek help from Shantikar in order to end the drought in Kathmandu. King Partap Malla mentioned that he had to go through several underground rooms filled with frightening elements such as bats, hawks, ghosts and snakes each more frightening than the last. This tunnel goes down to three floors and has nine rooms on each floor. It has a total of 27 rooms. We see is only the top floor of the temple and is believed to have two more floored layers beneath the ground. The first room had bats and hawks, the second was ghosts that clutched at him in agony and the third was full of snakes that chased him until he pacified them with milk. After going through all these the King eventually found Shantikar in the last room alive, skinny as a skeleton and meditating. The saint gave a mandala, which the king brought outside of the temple, resulting in immediate rain. Later, the king went to back the mandala and while returning he saw his shadow without the shadow of his head (headless shadow). After seeing this he said if he can see his head back in his shadow then he will offer one asarfi (golden coin) yearly, then he saw his full body in shadow. These days guthi offers asarfi.
People visit this temple for worshiping with flowers and butter lamps. There are paintings on the inside walls that tells stories. In 2015, the 7.8 rector earthquake in Nepal Shantipur stood strong but it had cracks.