Kasthamandap: A Testament to our Glorious Past

Kasthamandap Temple is believed to have been constructed in the 12th century by Laxmi Narsinga Malla

7, Feb 2023 | nepaltraveller.com

Religious scriptures are etched from the Ramayana to the Mahabharata on the four walls of Kasthamandap

Kasthamandap, a wood-pavilion, is a three-story pagoda-style temple located in Kathmandu's Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square. It is said to be carved out of a single tree called Kalpavriksha, a mythological tree that would return back to its former self no matter how many times it was chopped down. The city of Kathmandu is believed to have been named after the temple. 

Kasthamandap Temple is thought to have been constructed in the 12th century by Laxmi Narsinga Malla using wood from a single tree, although the historical context around its genesis is uncertain. In the 17th century, the current structure underwent renovation. The centre of the temple is occupied by an idol of Gorakhnath, while in the second floor four Lord Ganesh statues are placed on its four sides. Religious scriptures are etched from the Ramayana to the Mahabharata on its four walls. Everyone is welcome inside, and it’s open from mid-day till midnight. However, it is completely forbidden to take photos inside the shrine. 

Because of its design and wooden carvings, the temple is a noteworthy piece of Nepalese art and architecture. The temple has stood firmly without the aid of any metal rivet or nails up to this point. One of Nepal’s most important cultural sites, Kasthamandap is a classic example of the rich artistic architectural history that Nepal enjoyed even in the 12th century. 

According to legend, Saint Gorakhnath joined the Machhindranath chariot parade while masquerading as a human. A tantric recognized him and used a spell to lock him up forever in the Kathmandu Valley. Gorakhnath negotiated a bargain with the tantric. He asked for enough materials to construct a wooden temple, in order to escape his captivity. The tantric utilised a massive Sal tree that sprouted on his property because of Gorakhnath’s deal, to build the Kasthamandap shrine. Gorakhnath is believed to have been revered in the temple ever since. Though Gorakhnath has traditionally been symbolised by footsteps. So, his idol is worshipped in the temple.

Regarding the temple’s missing pinnacle, there is still another mythology. According to legend, the temple’s founders made a pledge to gods that they would build a pinnacle as soon as the price of salt and oil were equal. But it never happened, and the temple’s pinnacle was never built. 

Unfortunately, the monument was destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, but thanks to local and concerned government agencies, the repair is now complete. The restored structure maintains its historic significance while using the same architectural style. 

It is advised that you take a tour of the temple to ensure that you do not miss out on beholding this architectural masterpiece

Compiled By: Rebika Bishokarma

Photos By: Nepali Times, Wikipedia 

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Changu Narayan: A Masterpiece Of Nepalese Architecture

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