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Bhaktapur Bhairavnath Temple – Nepal – Chariot Festival

Bhaktapur Bhairavnath temple is located, on the east side Taumadhi Square, at Bhaktapur in Nepal. The temple is dedicated Bhairav or Nasa Dyo – Bhairavnath form of Shiva. The shrine is also known as Kasi Biswonath or the Pantali Mandir.

The murti of Bhairav worshipped in the temple is known as Akash Bhairav – the one with infinite space. It is also believed that the deity resides in wheels of chariots.

Only the head of the deity is worshipped in the temple. The deity is worshipped in miniature form on a small metal throne. Copper plates depicting eyes of Bhairav, two hands and his mount dogs are found on either side of the deity.

The annual festival is known as Bisket-Jatra festival. The annual festival takes place on the eve of the first day of the Vikram Samvat year (March – April). The chariot used in the festival is dismantled and kept on the north wall of the temple. The chariot is assembled for the Bisket-Jatra festival.

Upper quarter (the thane) and the lower quarter (the kvane) of Bhaktapur town compete against each other in pulling the chariot. As the chariot is pulled in opposite directions, it advances slowly along the street of the strongest side. The chariot is finally moved to the Yahshaiyah square.

The shrine was built by King Jagjjyoti Malla (1614-37). Additions were made to the temple by the later kings. Today, it is a three tier pagoda style temple with numerous sculptures and intricate carvings. Popular figures found in Nepal temples can be seen here in copper, wood and stone.