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  • A Copper Plate Inscription of Kāṣṭhamaṇḍap – 1422 AD (NS 543)

    Location: Kāṣṭhamaṇḍap, Kathmandu.

    Inscription at: Attached to front wall of the temple.

    Ruler: Jyoti Malla

    Date: 1422 AD (NS 543 Āṣāḍha Śukla Daśamī, BS 1479)

    Also published in Sanskrit Sandesha, 1.6. pp. 6-7.

    LII – A copper plate attached to the front wall of Kāṣṭamaṇḍap in Kathmandu. Date NS 543.

    मूलपाठ

    1. शुभ ।। स्वस्ति ।। श्रीश्रीश्रीपशुपति भट्टारकस्य पादपंकजपराग बहुलकीर्तिः तस्यपाद पद्मोपजीविनः रघुवंशावतार

    2. अन्धकार क्कलजगर्जतिः श्रीमत श्रीश्रीमानेश्वावरलब्ध प्रसाद विराजमानः श्रीश्रीराघव कुल कमल प्रकाशितस्य श्री

    3. श्रीरघुवंश तिलकायमानः समस्त प्रक्रिया विराजमानः … महाराजाधिराज प्रमेश्वाप्रम भट्टारकः श्रीशीजयजोतिम

    4. लदेवस्य विजयराजेः ।। ततः श्रीमानिगलः श्रीश्रीशीमनीकृष्णारचणांवुज सेवितः श्रीतृभय महापात्र प्रमुखादिः

    5. श्रीदक्षिणविहार प्रधान…महापात्र सहानुमतेनः स्वप्त कुतुं वज्र महापात्र शुद्धि गच्चछये नमः थ्वतेश्री

    6. श्रीराजकुल श्रीमनीगलः । तवतवमीफे शुद्धि भीममेतस्य पुत्रेन श्रीयंगलः श्रीगुरुः श्रीहमसयावमते

    7. यकं जाव तव दाक मदेतीप हख तोते तावत थिर याङ लोपा लोपी मयक थ्वविक्षेप पत्र थिर काल ला

    8. याङा दुन्त (ध)थत चोसत भया जुरो ह(त)त पत्र केन कश्चित् लोपयित्वा महाराैरव नरके प्रतिपतयेत कदाचि

    9. त् थ्व भाषा सुता लोप परद्रोस (ह)गाहेत्या स्त्रीहत्या ब्रह्महत्या निसाख निर्मूलदंडमाल्व जुरो

    10. श्रीश्रेयोSस्तु संवत् ५४३ अाषाढ शुक्ल दशम्यायां तिथाै स्वाति नक्षत्र सिद्धियोगे शुक्रवासरे

    11. ध संवत्सर वंगाया हंगा य(या)ति पाच माल मखो ङाङा काले अकर्ण जुरो शुभं मङ्गलं भवतु सर्वजगतः ।

    Source:
    Regmi, Dilli Raman. (1966). Medieval Nepal: Part III. (Source Materials for the History and Culture of Nepal 740 – 1768 AD : Inscriptions, Chronicles and Diaries etc.). Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay. pp. 15-16.

    रेग्मी, डिल्ली रमण । (२०२३) । मिडिभियल नेपाल : भाग ३ । (वि.सं. ७९७ देखि १८२५ सम्म नेपालको इतिहास र संस्कृतिको सन्दर्भ सामग्री : अभिलेख, वंशावली र डायरी अादि । कल्कत्ता : फर्मा के. एल. मुखोपाध्याय । पृ. १५-१६ ।

    Also available at: http://inscriptionsofnepal.blogspot.com/2015/10/copper-plate-at-kasthamandap-1422.html

  • Bhairavas Guarding Maru Tole

    Kāṣṭhamaṇḍap (Kasthamandap) literally means the wooden pavilion. But it is seemingly more than that.

    The following is the list of eight Bhairavas guarding the Maru tole encircling the Bhuti Sa भुति सः (Chāyā Chatra Bhairava छायाँछत्र भैरव deity) and the Kasthamandap as well.

    This list is collected in a local chronicle entitled Devatāharūko Vaṃśāvalī देवताहरूको वंशावली (unpublished, hereafter VD) compiled by Pundit Dineśānanda Rājopādhyāya (born 1923 A.D. | 1984 B.S. in Kāṭhmāṇḍu, Nepāl). It is compiled in pp. 923-925 under the section named ।। काठमाडाैँ, मरु टोल, अष्ट भैरवको बयान् ।। :

    Chronicler Rājopādhyāya (pp. 928) mentions that he compiled the information from a collection of Dr. Yogendra Bhakta Śreṣṭha (Kāṭhmāṇḍu, Nepāl) on 19 January 1979 A.D., Friday (B.S. 2035 Māgh 5).

    Rājopādhyāya, Dineśānanda. (n.d.). Devatāharūko Vaṃśāvalī. [Unpublished].
    MS in collection of his son
    Rājopādhyāya, Gauravānanda ‘Rāju’.

    Eight Bhairavas Guarding Maru Tole

    S.
    N.
    Purāṇic
    Name
    Alternate Name Location Description
    1 Aṣitāṅga Bhairava
    असिताङ्ग भैरव
    Ānanda Bhairava
    अानन्द भैरव
    गणेश दास साल्मीको घरको पश्चिमतर्फ
    2 Ruru Bhairava
    रुरु भैरव
    मरु सत्तलको पश्चिम दक्षिणको कुना
    3 Caṇḍa Bhairava
    चण्ड भैरव
    Svacchanda Bhairava
    स्वच्छन्द भैरव
    सिंह सत्तलको मुनि, भीमसेनस्थान जाने
    बाटोमा
    4 Krodha Bhairava
    क्रोध भैरव
    अशोक विनायकको घर मुनि
    5 Unmatta Bhairava
    उन्मत्त भैरव
    मरुहिटी जाने बाटोको दायाँतर्फ बाटोमा
    6 Kapālī Bhairava
    कपाली भैरव
    Kapāl Bhairava
    कपाल भैरव *
    मरु टोलको नासःद्यःको सत्तलको दक्षिण
    तर्फको कुनामा
    7 Bhīṣaṇ Bhairava
    भीषण भैरव
    छाया छत्र पीठका पूर्व भागमा पन्त, जोशी बाहुनको घरको कुनामा
    8 Saṃhāra Bhairava
    संहार भैरव
    मरु गणेशको ठूलो घण्टा मुनि

    * As mentioned by the VD.

    I have so far located seven of these Bhairavas, and confirmed it based on local lore. It would be interesting to locate all these Aṣṭabhairavas and see what symbolic meaning (if any) it has to present.

  • Legend II: The Healing Pillar

    In local legends, Kāṣṭhamaṇḍap (henceforth Kasthamandap) is popularly known to be made of wood from a single tree. From its exquisite wood carvings to the thick columns, the large mostly timber structure is certainly an artistic marvel of Newārs.
    Here we will focus on a timber column (see the photo) at the north-west (Vāyu) corner near an icon of Sūrya Vināyak, within the massive ground floor open space of Kasthamandap.
    Most locals remember this column from seeing people rub their backs against it. Lore has it that this column relieves people of their back pain – all they have to do is lean against it and rub their back in a vertical motion. Even those not suffering any pain often do so as a habit, as they approach the Sūrya Vināyak shrine (background in photo). Some have argued that the legend is a fabrication of recent times, perpetuated by tourist guides as an attractive device to entrance visitors. However, the legend is also well known among the elders of the community.
    The pillar has a smooth surface, with a few uneven crack-lines, but this does not make rubbing your back problematic.This piece is specially polished, and is different from other wooden columns all in terms of shape and size. While most other Kasthamandap columns are rectangular, the cross-section here is circular. Decades, and perhaps centuries of rubbing has smoothened the surface to a shine.
    The column also supports the stairs that lead to the upper storeys of Kasthamandap. Going to the upper storeys is prohibited for the general public; only local guthiyārs (keepers of the Guthi) have access. These go up to the pinnacle of the temple every Māghe Sankrānti (Māgh 1), when Busāra(n)worship is held. These days, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office also hold access rights to the upper storeys.
    Local legends also refer to our pillar as the oldest wood-piece of the structure that have survived for a very long time. Some scholars believe this particular column is older than the other large columns supporting upper storeys. However, we have not read of or found any  evidence reliably dating the column.
    Now that Kasthamandap has completely collapsed to the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake of April 25, 2015, some of the wood-work from the structure have been placed near Śiva Pārvatī temple, shifting it from near the Lakṣmī Nārāyaṇa Sattal. The healing pillar, however, has not been located anywhere, to our knowledge. For now, therefore, there is no pillar to offer solace to locals. But we need to restore this precious piece of Kathmandu living culture, along with the rest of the Kasthamandap structure, and indeed, all other destroyed heritage sites. The healing of our souls can then proceed.