Nepal in the Mahabharata Period, Part 38


Lord Narasimha - Darbar Square, Bhaktapur
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Mar 19, 2013 — CANADA (SUN) — The Yadava dynasty's presence in Nepal, and the events that preceded and followed.

Lord Narasimha holds a place of prominence in the royal squares of Nepal's three most important cities. Today, we are focused on Lord Narasimhadeva in the Durbar Square of Bhaktapur. This image of Sri Nrsimha is located outside the main entrance to the National Art Gallery. Lord Narasimha sits on the right, while Hanuman sits on the left, carved in a similar style.

Bhaktapur Darbar Square

Lord Narasimha was installed by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1698 A.D. Several years earlier, in 1673, the king erected the Kabindrapur temple, also known as Dhansa Dega. This ornate performance pavillion was offered as the abode of the Lord of Dance -- Lord Shiva, known in Newari as Nasa-dyo. The Dhanse Dega, which sits to the southeast of the darbar's Kasthamandap (one of Kathmandu Valley's oldest buildings), was dedicated by the king for the staging of dance performances, and particularly the masked dance of Narasimha. Some years later, when King Bhupatindra Malla installed Lord Nrsimhadeva on the durbar, he did so in order to ask forgiveness for impersonating the Lord in dance. (See Lalitpur's version of this dance, the Nrsimha Yatra).

National Art Gallery - Durbar Square, Bhaktapur

During the Licchavi Dynasty's reign, Bhaktapur was a small village known as Khoprn. It did not grow to become a small city until the time of King Anand Dev Malla, in the early 12th Century. Among the three royal squares of Nepal, Bhaktapur's Durbar Square is often the most peaceful, but also the most beautifully appointed with religious imagery. Despite earthquake destruction and pillaging by intruders, there are many spiritual attractions to be seen here. The National Art Gallery holds a variety of ancient paintings, thangkas, sculptures and manuscripts in both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, and there are many Vaisnava and Buddhist temples throughout the city.

Lord Narasimha, Bhaktapur Durbar Square

As Kathmandu City has its Hanuman Dhoka (main gate), so Bhaktapur has its Sun Dhoka, or Golden Gate, which was erected by King Ranjit Malla in 1753 A.D. It has been praised as "the most exquisitely designed and finished piece of gilded metalwork in all Asia." The very ornate panels, small glided roofs, finials and opulently styled torana are presided over by Mahashakti. The gate faces Lord Narasimha at the entrance to the National Art Gallery.

King Bhupatindra Malla
Bhaktapur Durbar Square

There is also a two-storied Krishna Temple on the Durbar Square, with opulently carved roof struts depicting the Dasavatar. It is known as the Gopinath Temple, built by King Yaksha Malla in 1451 A.D. There is a very tall Garuda pillar in front of the temple.

Lord Narasimha
National Art Gallery, Bhaktapur

Raja Bhupatindra Malla ruled Nepal as representative of the Malla Dynasty from 1696 to 1722 A.D. A life-sized figure of the King, with folded palms, sits atop another stone pillar in front of the Gallery. Just as King Pratap Malla's column in Kathmandu's Durbar Square faces the Durga temple, here at Bhaktapur, the pillar of Bhupatindra Malla sits facing a terracotta shikhara temple dedicated to Goddess Durga, or Bhagawati, the royal's protective deity. In this case, King Bhupatindra Malla's column was erected in his honor by a successor, King Ranjit Malla.

Sri Hanuman
National Art Gallery, Bhaktapur


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