Nara Devi Temple, Kathmandu

4.7
Situated to the south of Basantapur near the intersec tion of Chettrapati is the temple of ‘Nardevi’. Despite a line up of other temples in the locality, Nardevi is easily distinguishable.The three tired structure with one of the roofs plated in gold and its crafted pillars identify the Nardevi Mandir. According to historical data, the temple is believed to have been established in the 9th century AD by Gunakamadev, the founder of Kathmandu.

There are myths and legends associated with the temple that talk about its origin and the practices carried out there. One such account suggests the temple was discovered by one of the Kings of Patan while visiting Kathmandu on a hunting trip. Later he separated from his group and got lost in the forest of Kathmandu, then known as ‘Kantipur’. When he reached the present day Kilagal he was chased by a wild elephant and upon trying to escape he reached the place where Nardevi temple now stands. The place was occupied by a huge tree then and the king hid behind it, and had fainted there.

As he awoke the goddess Swetakali appeared before him and granted his life back by saying “You may live.” The king then returned to his kingdom, and gratified by the incident, erected the Nardevi temple. It is believed that two other two kings of Bhaktapur were visited by the same goddess, which led them to renovate the temple and establish a committee for looking after it. One of the kings also started the ceremony of lighting ghee lamps and sacrificing a sheep. This ritual is carried out by the Kumhale clan of potters from Thimi (Bhaktapur), to commemorate the goddess.

The main deity of Nardevi is Swetakali (from sweta or ‘white’ combined with kali, ‘black). The Swetakali is also called ‘Neta Ajima’ by the Newars, while some inscriptions refer to the goddess as ‘Detteswori.’ Nardevi is also considered to be a mother of the goddess Kumari Chandeswori Bhagwati and legends claim that human sacrifices were conducted at the temple. The temple houses three silver statues of Kali and the locals believe that the original home of the goddess still exists in the area, which is called Byachen, literally ‘god’s house’, where all her ornaments and clothes are secured.

The ‘Nardevi’ is considered to be a powerful deity of tantric rituals. On the tenth day of Dasain, Khadga Jatra is celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over evil. Different kinds of swords (khadga) are taken to the temple in a grand procession and revered with traditional tantric rituals. The sacrifice of buffalo, slain in a single blow, marks the event of Nawami, the 9th day of Dasain.
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  • You will find this old temple on a busy square half way between Thamel and the Durbah Square just past the San street and area. It is dedicated to Kali, Shiva's destructive consort which is useful to ...  more »
  • Located in the Hustle and bustle of The Asan District, Hundreds of Tourists walk past this small Temple every day without noticing it. However, It is advisable to take a closer look at this Gem, because it is a wonderful beautiful beautiful Structure. However, you can't enter it.
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