One of the most powerful goddesses Taleju Bhawani resides as the Guardian deity of Kathmandu Valley.
In the heart of Kathmandu Durbar Square resides the Guardian Deity of the Malla Kings; Taleju Bhawani. Full of mythical and mystical beliefs, the Taleju temple stands on a 12 stage pedestal captivating the Durbar square area. Kathmandu Durbar Square’s largest temple Taleju Bhawani is at its northeastern extremity and is not open to the public every day.
Taleju Bhawani is one of the most powerful goddesses and her temple stands out among the many temples and monuments around the Durbar Square. Legend has it that she played Tripasa (a dice game) with the last Malla king Jayaprakash Malla every night in the condition that no one would know about it. However one night the queen sees her which angers the goddess and she leaves. Before leaving she tells the king that if he ever wishes to see her or protect the nation then he must search for her amongst the high cast Newar girls among whom she will reside.
Here are few facts you should know about the great Taleju Bhawani:
1. The temple was built in the shape of ‘yantra’, a mystical diagram said to have powers as it was a suggestion that came straight from the Goddess Taleju.
2. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple.
3. Taleju Temple can only be visited once a year on Nawami
(ninth day ) of Bada Dashain.
4. When it was built, King Mahendra Malla ordered that no other building in Kathmandu should rise higher than its gilded roofs.
5. It took 46 years to build Taleju Bhawani Temple and was completed in 1564.
6. Goddess Taleju Bhawani was also the clan Goddess (Kul Devta) of the Malla Kings who ruled Nepal from the 12th century to the 18th century
7. When the Malla Kingdom was conquered by Shah rulers, the new Kings adopted Taleju as their own new royal deity in order to prove their legitimacy to the throne.
8. As per tradition 54 male buffalos and 54 male goats along with other animals are sacrificed on Ashtami (eighth day of Bada Dashain)
9. There are 12 miniature temples surrounding the main temple.
10. Kumari is considered to be the human manifestation of the Goddess Taleju and there are several legends telling us why the Kumari is considered as the manifestation of Goddess Taleju.
Aarya Shrestha and Hriti Shrestha
Pictures by: Saroj Patrabansha