Hotel Shanker Lazimpat Kathmandu 44600 Nepal

The construction of any edifice starts with first making the blueprint. In the case of temples, it starts with the Yantra, which is described as “a geometrical diagram with abstract symbols”, and comprises of the bindu (dot) at the center, the triangle, the square, and the circle. It is considered to be a sacred enclosure of Ishta-devata (the tutelary deity). Yantras can be Tantric (most diverse and common), Vedic (ancient most), and Buddhist mandala (meaning ‘circle’), and they have different uses. Some yantras like Vastu Purush Mandala are used to design ground plans of temples. It has many squares within squares; with the simplest having 64 (8x8) or 81 (9x9) squares, and the most complex having 1,024 squares. The central group of 4 or 9 divisions is where the principal deity resides. It is surrounded by 12 squares, which are the seats of divinities related to spatial directions, and around this are 32 celestial body divinities. In simpler terms, the 3-dimensional structure of the temple originates from the 2-dimensional plan, with the mandala as the blueprint. In somewhat more complex terms, architectural yantras schematize the principles on which the sacred precincts of the temple are constructed. The actual construction starts with leveling, purifying, and consecrating the ground, and on this is drawn Vastu Purush Mandala, accompanied by some intricate rituals. The tiered roof (pagoda) is most common in Nepali temples, and as a matter of interest, the oldest pagoda temple in Kathmandu Valley is the Sulima Ratnesvara Temple in Sulima, Patan. Changu Narayan Temple is also one of the most ancient. The pagoda type temples may be Buddhist, or they may be Hindu. The former are called either bahal, vihar, or bahi, while the latter are called mandirs. Ratnakar Mahavihar, a three-tiered temple in Haklhvihar, Patan, and Hiranayavarna Mahavihar near Patan Durbar Square are excellent examples of Buddhist pagoda type shrines, while Pashupatinath is the most outstanding example of a Hindu pagoda style temple. Other temple types are the stupa and shikara styles, as well as some of the dome style. The stupa is a hemispherical mound of earth, bricks, or stones, with a square structure on top, each side painted with a pair of eyes. Swoyambhunath and Boudhanath are the best examples of stupa type shrines. The shikara style is of Indian origin. It is a tall pyramidal structure having either five or nine sections, with the final section having a bell-shaped top. One famous example is Krishna Mandir of Patan Durbar Square. A most unusual stupas in Patan is Maha Buddha Stupa, because it is built of brick and is also the only major stupa based on shikhara style. The temple of the Living Goddess Kumari in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square is built in the harmaya style, where the courtyard is surrounded on all four sides by residential buildings, with the temple deity placed directly behind the front gate. The tier-roofed, or pagoda type temples, are iconic to Kathmandu Valley. They are mostly square or rectangular in shape, with the latter usually dedicated to tantric deities like Bhimsen, Bhairab, and Bal Kumari, amongst others. Akash Bhairav Temple in Indra Chowk For one week, during Indra Jatra, the image of Bhairab is displayed outside. Bagh Bhairav Temple in Kirtipur and the three-storied Bhimsen Temple in Patan Durbar Square are other outstanding examples.

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