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Kirtipur Bagh Bhairab Temple Nepal – Tiger Form Of Bhairav – Story

Kirtipur Bagh Bhairab temple is located at Kirtipur in Nepal. The shrine is dedicated to the rare tiger form of Bhairava form of Mahadev Shiva. A small clay murti of tiger is worshipped in the shrine without a tongue. The murti is remade once in 15 years – when the old turns fragile due to abhishekam, rituals and pujas.

The origin of the temple is traced back to the 3rd century CE. The three-storied shrine has numerous small shrines in the ground floor. Several gods and goddess are worshipped in these small shrines. The shrine faces east.

A small hole in the east wall of the temple, known as a dyo pvah, allows a single ray of sunlight to glance upon the face of the deity each day.

Kirtipur Bagh Bhairab Temple Story

It is said that a group of shepherd girls who were grazing their sheep made a sculpture of tiger using clay. They did not have a red color leaf for the tongue of the tiger. So they went in search for a red color poinsettia leaf.

When the shepherd girls returned they found their sheep missing. They noticed the mouth of the tiger was filled with blood. They realized that Bhairav had taken refuge in the tiger and eaten their sheep. The tiger sculpture was moved to the present day spot of the temple.

As punishment for eating the sheep, the shepherd girls refused to affix the tongue to the image, and to this day, the murti is depicted with a wide open mouth without a tongue.

The deity is worshipped by the people of the region especially by farmers for protection of their crops and lives.

Weapons like knives, swords and arrows are nailed to the south wall of the temple. It is said that the weapons belonged to attackers who were defeated by the people of the region with the help of Bhairav.

The three-tiered pagoda style temple has standing murtis of Hanuman on the sides of the altar. All the deities worshipped in the temple are found on the group floor. The middle and the upper floor have sculptures and carvings. The temple has numerous beautiful sculptures of various characters from Hindu scriptures. There are some interesting features like through a hole another hole is visible and within the hole one eye of the image of the murti is visible.

The upa devata shrines in the temple include that of Ganesha, five murtis of Mother Goddess, standing image of Shiva and a murti of Shiva and Goddess Parvati.