The learned author has missed many aspects of Nepalese culture.
The so called Virupakshya is described by him as a nobel man. If the author
had studied more carefully he would not have missed the third eye indicating
that the figure is one of the manifestations of Shiva and not a nobel man.
Nepal is a tourist's paradise with an infinite variety of
interesting things to see and do. Nepal has many things to offer the visitor
the flourishing of art and architecture a demonstrated by the temples of
Kathmandu Valley, the natural beauties of the soaring peaks of Himalayas
including Mountain Everest and others.
Purnachandi Bhuja Jatra of Patan:
A Protection from Lightening
one of the major
cities of Kathmandu valley is rich in culture. The cultures
of Patan are unique and have quite distinctive features .
Among the various jatras of Patan, Purnachandi Bhuja (rice)
Jatra (festival) is regarded to be an unique and interesting
Jatra of the Kathmandu Valley. The local Newar people call
it gongamal jatra. Historian Mr. W. Kirkpartick has written,
"as many temples as many houses an many gods as many
people ".Some scholars say that there are more festivals
than the days in a calendar of a year.
There are temples of Ten Mahabidhya (the goddess representing
the ten transcendental knowledge) in Patan. People have different
beliefs about the origin of Ten Mahabidhya . A wonderful and
interesting episode on the origin of Ten Mahabidhya can be
found in Mahakal Samhita1 . According
to it, Daksha Prajapati did not invite lord Shiva, his son-in-law
and Sati (daughter of Daksha Prajapati)when he organised a
yagya(ritual ceremony). But Sati came to know about the yagya
and requested Shiva to attend Daksha's yagya ceremony .But
Lord Shiva rejected her request. Sati tried her best to convince
Shiva but all went in vein. She even wasn't allowed to go
alone. As Sati wasn't permitted to go to the yagya, she became
very furious and then appeared Ten Mahabidhya in the forms
of Kali, Tara, Shodashi, Bhuwaneswari, Bharavi, Chinnamasta,
Dhumawati, Bagala, Matangi and Kamala on all ten directions.
When Lord Shiva saw such forms of Sati, he requested her to
interpret its mystery. Sati explained and said, "Allow
me to go to the yagya so that I will attend it, otherwise
I will destroy the yagya." At last, Shiva allowed her
to go to the yagya2 .
According to trantic literature, Sidhdhabidhya (Tripura,
Bhairavi, Matangi and Kamala) is the most powerful Goddess
and are capable to fulfil the wish of the devotees . If a
devotee with full confidents offers worships to Sidhdhbidhyas,
there is no question that his desire will not be fulfilled.
Thus, These days crowd of devotees thronge at Bagalamukhi.
Kamala and Siddhilaxmi are the same. Siddhilaxmi is thought
to be one of the Shodasha Laxmies (sixteen Laxmies). According
to the residents of Purnachanditole, the Goddess is mighty
and can fulfil the wishes of the devotees (disciples).
There is an episode in the eighth part (Skanda) of the eighth
chapter of the Shreemat Bhagwat about the origin of Goddess
Kamala. According to it, Kamala appeared as a result of the
sea churning which was possible due to the joint efforts of
Lords and devils. Later, Lord Vishnu adopted Her. Kamala helps
Lord Vishnu in looking after the Universe .She is the protector
of hole Universe. God , King and people become happy because
of her love. Kamala is one of the ten Mahabidhya who is worshipped
in the temple of Purnachandi.
The methods of worshipping and the forms
of ten Mahabidhya are as follows:
Goddess Kali: stands on
a corpse toothy Goddess Kali seems to be frightful and delighted.
Her four hands have skull, Varad Mudra (hand conferring grace
or boon), sword, and Abhay Mudra (Protection Gesture), and
on Her neck She has a garland of heads of those She killed.
Her tongue is red. I sincerely bow towards Her, the powerful
Goddess Shivarup Mahakali3.
Devi Tara: putting a foot ahead, Goddess
Tara also stands on corpse. She makes fearful yell and has
padma (lotus), sword, skull and sickle. Unique in form, she
is short and has blue and yellow jata (The matted and long
hair of an ascetic) on which She also keeps snakes. I bow
towards the Goddess Ugratara who spoils all the evils of the
Devi Shodashi: her face is yellow like the
rising sun. She has four hands and three eyes. On Her hands
She has bow, hook, noose of ropes and arrow. I always worship
Goddess Bhuwaniswari: with the bright crown
on the head, happy face, breasts-high, Abhaya Mudra, Varada
Mudra. Bhuwaniswari has three eyes. She holds hook and noose
of ropes in Her hand. I bow to Her6
Goddess Tripurbhairawi: like a midday sun,
she is decorated with light rays, garlanded with the heads
of her enemies and has blood marks on her mouth. She has large
breasts, hooks, erudition, Varad Mudra, Abhaya Mudra, three
eyes and a smiling face. She is decorated with a bright crown.
I offer Her worship7 .
Goddess Chinnamasta: with a foot ahead,
She has uncovered a weapons on Her hands. She offers Her own
blood on Her head with Her left hand with a chaplet of snakes
on Her head and garland on Her breast She stands confidently
on the couple who is enjoying sex. I worship the three-eyed,
beautiful like japapuspa ( a kind of flower) Goddess Chinnamasta
time and again8 .
Goddess Dhumawati: she is tall, ugly and
unstable and has cruel habit. She is also abnormal. She wears
dirty clothes and has spread long jatas (hair). Barren, widow
and toothless Dhumawati rides a chariot that has a crow-marked
banner. She has loose and long breasts and trembling hands.
She carries a mattock and has cruel eyes and long nose. One
hand in Varad Mudra (gesture of charity), She suffers from
hunger and thirst. Her appearance is frightening and She likes
quarrel. I worship Her9 .
Goddess Bagalamukhi: she tortures enemies
by pulling their tongues with Her hand and in the right hand
She carries gada (mace) to destroy the enemies. I continuously
worship Goddess Bagalamukhi decorated in yellow attire10
Goddess Matangi: dark , three-eyed Matangi
wears moonlike crown and sits on throne made of expensive
pearls. She holds sword, pasa(noose of ropes), mace, hook,
khetaka (a shield it may be circular or rectangular) with
her four hands. She enjoys the music produced from a diamond
coated flute and I offer my worship to this virgin Goddess
Goddess Kamala: Kamala has a golden face
and holds two lotuses on two hands. Her two hands are in different
Mudras (gesture) Abhaya Mudra (protection) and Varada Mudra
(conferring boon or grace). She wears a bright crown. Having
beautifully curved buttock, She sits on lotus. Snow-like four
white elephants with their trunks pour Amrit (delicious liquid)
through kalas (decorated copper water-pot) on Kamala. I respect
and salute Her12 .
This Goddess Kamala is thought to be Siddhi Laxmi among the
sixteen Laxmies and devotees organise Bhuja Jatra and worshipping
ceremonies here every year.
According to a myth, this place in the ancient time was
at the confluence of the Bagmati and the Nakhkhu river. Then,
Purnananda Swami, a tantrik from Kamrukamksha had come there.
One day, Goddess Dakshinkali, in a dream told him to serve
her. Then according to the dream , he went to the Bagmati
confluence to (have an audience) see the Goddess Siddhi Laxmi.
The area then was covered by water where suddenly appeared
a ball of water The Tantrik knew that the water ball was the
Goddess and offered worship to Her. Later a temple was formed
and it was named after the Swami as Purnachandi.
Purnachandi jatra is celebrated after Indra Jatra in September.
According to Krishna Bhakta Sharma, a local resident, the
jatra is very old and it was once, during the rein of Rana
Bahadur Shah cancelled. (In 1862 B.S. when King Rana Bahadur
Shah's spouse Kantimati died, the king snatched away all the
properties of temples and guthis. This incident is known as
Bashathiharan in the Nepalese history. And the Purnachandi
jatra was stopped due to the lack of sources of income.) Later
when someone appealed that the king should not grab the temple's
properties the jatra again began during the rein of King Surendra.
In the Purnachandi Bhuja jatra, 12 heaps of rice are made.
Each heap contains a muri (160lbs) of rice and all the other
products of the ground. 84 sorts of dishes are prepared for
this jatra. Simply, the heap of rice (bhuja) seems like a
stupa or a temple. The top of the each heap contains a pinnacle.
In this bhuja all kinds of vegetables like soybean, beans,
pumpkin, carrot, potato, pea, ginger, eggs, fish and different
meat items of buff and mutton are mixed in the heap. In fact,
all these foods have tantric methods and meanings. Both vegetarian
and non-vegetarian foods are prepared during this time. Two
kinds of vegetarian dishes are brought from the priest's house.
Maybe it has been a tradition as the priests of this Purnachandi
temple are non-vegetarian Rajopadhya.
People come along with bands and put the dishes here. Guthiyars
(occupier of guthi land), Rajopadhya and Amatya also bring
"Though, in the past the temple had a lot of lands, they
have disappeared with the introduction of the Land Reform
Law in the country," say the local people. Yet the temple
possesses some land from where the rice needed for the Bhuja
jatra is brought. They even bring food from Khokana.
Under the kalas (decorated copper water-pot) a big bread which
the Newar people called malmari is kept. After offering a
rooster to it, the malmari is worshipped according to the
tantric methods. Similarly, such worshipping is organised
at Thasimal in Patan. There are such places in four corners
The main objective of such offering is to protect Patan from
lightning. Interestingly, there is no evidence of lightning
in the area. The priest believes and claims that this is all
because of the offerings.
This year (1998) the worshipping ceremony began on the 7th
September and ended the next day at 4 PM. After the worshipping
ceremony is over, different people take the food to different
directions. One such food is offered to Mahadeva located just
south of the temple, two bhujas inside the temple, one to
Gabhal (near Tindhoka) and one to Nriteswor (dancing God).
Similarly each food is taken to, Mahapal, Bhujimatol and for
Ganesh, Kushale (musicians) and Khadgi. Thus all 12 bhujas
are taken to the concerned places.
The Purnachandi temple is also regarded to be the family
god (kuldeuta) of Machchindranath. Every year goods for worshipping
are sent to the temple from Machchindranath. When the chariot
of Machchindranath arrives at Iti near Lagankhel, four astrologers
select the appropriate time to pull the chariot sitting on
Manimandap in Mangal Bazzar. Then the worship and the Homa
(burnt offering) at Purnachandi temple begin on the same day.
Both Hindus and Bhuddhists visit the temple to offer worshipping
which signifies the religious endurance among the Nepalese
people. In the early days this temple was small. Later, it
was enlarged. During the days of the jatra, the main God which
is kept in the inner part of the temple is brought out for
jatra. When the jatra is over, the eldest person (thakali)
of the family which is to keep the God, takes it to his home.
The local people keep the God at their homes for a year turn
by turn. Next year in the same way the God is taken to the
Devotees also offer worshipping to Martanda Bhairav, Ganesh
and Kumari which are in the inner part of the temple. The
tympanum of the temple has the picture of Ganesh, Bhairava,
Siddhilaxami and Narasingha. Certainly, Purnachandi Bhuja
jatra is an interesting and strange jatra of the Kathmandu
The temple is built in pagoda style. The devastating earthquake
of 1934 destroyed the top stair of the temple. It was then
reconstructed with the help of devotees. Again in 1972 A.D.
late king Mahedra reconstructed the tiled-roofed temple converting
into a copper-roofed temple. The Maskey family of Sulma tole
(area) provided help to replace the roof.
The Toran (tympanum) of the main gate, is marked with the
Mahishasur Mardini. The images of Kumar, Maheshwari, Chamunda,
Ganesh, are in a dancing gesture on the northern struts in
the first stair of the temple. These images are in different
colours. Images of Bhairab, Bhairabi, Ganesh, Kumar, Narsingha,
Shakti are kept above the tympanum on temple's main gate.
The hanging embossed metal are gold gilded with the mark of
Goddess. The western tympanum is of wood on which the pictures
of Ganesh, Kumar, Bhairab and Shakti are marked. According
to inscription found here the middle tympanum the temple was
reconstructed in 1972 A.D. On the middle tympanum the image
of Mahishasur Mardini (Purnachandi) is kept. Like in the struts
of the first stair, images of Kumar, Maheshwari, Chandi and
Ganesh are kept on the struts of second floor. On the stories
of the top floor images of Maheshwari and Chandi are kept.
These are images of Kalash (water pot) down side of tympanum.
The inscriptions around tell that the temple was reconstructed
twice in 1858 A.D. and 1972 A.D. There is one new hanging
embossed metal was put by Shrestha family of Patan in 1995.
Near the gate of the temple their is a tall square size pillar.
A large bell with inscription is hung on a large stand of
stone in the eastern side of the temple. Devotees including
Khadga Man Singh Rajbhandari provided metal to construct the
bell. On the bell the names of late Khadga Man Singh and other
donors are also inscribed. On the wooden pillar kept around
the temple, the small oil-lamps (Diyo) are put. On the west
of the temples idols of a couple of devotees are kept with
an inscription there. On the inscription there is a date 1684
A.D. is mentioned. Some people called this couple statue are
of Purnananda Swami and his wife. On the eastern wall of the
temple there is an inscription that was kept after the repair
of the temple. On the southern pillar the dates 1733, 1858,
1859 A.D. are marked. Siddhilaxmi is kept as the main sanctum
in side the temple and surrounded by Ganesh, Kumar, Baishnabi,
Bhirabi, Kumari, Mankamana. In the left chamber of the main
Goddess there is the image of Bhairab. Around the image of
Bhairav there are icons of Bhimsen, Ganesh, and other deities.
In tympanum Bhairab, Kumar and Ganesh were founded.
On the right of the temple there is a two storied pati (public
rest house) with the images of Hanuman, Kumari and Nateshwor
(Dancing God) on it. Still the devotees, if they organised
and feast in the shelter should keep three plates of fod for
their deities. Also it is believed that the small children
who are yet to be feed rice, must not be taken to the pati.
The constructors of the pati was Subba Raghubir Amatya, forefather
of Gauribhakta Amatya. Still Amatya family carries out the
repair work of the pati. When the Amatya family organised
Guthi Bhoj (traditional feast) the boys without having holy
thread (initiation) on, and girls who are yet to enter into
puberty are fed in morning time only. But the Brahmins and
other Guthiyars should be fed late in the night.
There is another Pati on the right of the temple. The Rajbhandari
family constructed the Pati but it was damaged in the 1934
It is an accepted practice that no devotees offer animal
sacrifice to the Goddess Siddhilaxmi directly. But they can
offer to the Bhairab. They sacrifice un castrated he goat,
duck and male buffalo. But other animals can sacrifice to
only Bhairab located under the Pati just west to the temple.
There is a special relationship of the Goddess Siddhilami
with Agnimath of Lalitpur Thabu. Agnimath have special worship
in every first day of fortnight. After finishing the worship
of Agnimath people visit Siddhilami temple and worship there.
Siddhilaxmi is believed to be the main Goddess (Kul Devata)
of Machhindranath temple. Still there is a tradition to offer
Dewali Puja to Siddhilaxmi from Machhindranath when its chariot
goes ahead to Jawalakhel from Ponde tole.
There is a large pound on the north of the temple. It is
believed that in the past the Nakhu river was here when Swami
Pushananda and Bishwanath used to bathe every day. And the
pound is the remaining part of the Nakhu river. There is also
a small Ghat (burial or cremation place).
Ronald M. Bernier mention about the temple and tank in his
book The templw of Nepal this free-standing three-storey Hindu
temple is not remarkable in its structure or decoration, but
rather in its setting near the edge of a very large water
tank in a by-way of Patan. We cannot say how important the
presence of the tank was to the placement of the temple and
the nearness of water may indeed by generally less essential
in Nepal than in India, but if we are considering Nepalese
temples so designed as to take absolute advantage of water
for both religious and practical use, Purna Chandi is a prime
example. This tank is one of Patan's largest, and the temple
faces it as well as a small intervening rest house place partly
in the tank itself13 .
It is true that what W. Kirkpatrick, mentions there are as
many temples as many the houses, as many Gods as many people.
There are many temples in the town which are not properly
studied, and this is one of them. But this temple has lot
of information about Buddhism and Hinduism. This is a unique
temple. If a devotee full confident offer worships in this
temple, there is no question this his/her desire will not