Kirtipur is an ancient city in Nepal. It is located in the Kathmandu Valley 5 km south-west of the city of Kathmandu. It is one of the five municipalities in the valley, the others being Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Madhyapur Thimi. Kirtipur's history dates from 1099 AD. It was part of the territory of Lalitpur at the time of the invasion of the Kathmandu Valley by the Gorkhali king Prithvi Narayan Shah in the 18th century.
Places of Interest:
Bagh Bhairab temple is one of the most popular temples dedicated to the God Bhairab in the form of a tiger. This god is regarded as the guardian of Kirtipur and the locals call it Ajudeu, a grandfather god. Bhairab, the most terrifying and awful form of Shiva is the destroyer on one hand and the guardian on the other. Ceremonial rituals in relation to the important events of life such as rice-feeding, puberty, marriage and even the construction of houses cannot be done without propitiating this deity in most of the towns and cities of Nepal.
The present three storeyed temple of Bagh Bhairab probably built in 16th century stands in the brick-paved rectangular courtyard with the rest houses around it. There are some small shrines and stone images spread over the courtyard. The main gate is at the southern side. There are two other gates in the eastern and western sides. The two roofs of the temple are of tiles while the third one is covered with gilt-copper. There are wooden pillars carved with Hindu gods and goddesses. They have been erected in between windows of the second storey and the names of the carved deities have been finely cut out below them on the pedestals.
There are eighteen pinnacles-one in the first roof, six in the middle and eleven in the top roof. Beneath the eaves of the first roof there are very old but faded murals depicting the stories of Ramayan. Maha Bharat and the various manifestations of Durga, the mighty mother goddess. These paintings are frescoes in red with white plaster background. At the right side of the main gate of the temple there is Hifa Dyo, the god of blood sacrifice is allowed directly to Bagh Bhairab, all animal offerings to the deity are made here on behalf of this deity just as the animal sacrifices are made to Kumari, a stone idol, placed at the second gate in the left side of Chandeswori at Banepa and to the Chhetrapal which is at the very beginning of the final series of the steps to the temple of Khadga Jogini at Sankhu.
There are two torans over Hifa Dyo. They bear very fine cuttings of Asta-Matriks, Asta-Bhairabs and other gods and goddesses. In the western wall of the temple there is a hollow space regarded by the local people as Nasa Dyo, the god of music and dance. Bagh Bhairab made of clay has been enshrined in the left side corner in the temple. The three glass-eyed tiger-god is tongue-less and tooth-less but covered with silver and copper plates and heavily ornamented. This deity as mentioned in the stone inscriptions has been called Bagheswor (the tiger god), Bhimsen Bhattarak(Bhimsen, the governing deity), Gudei Sthanadhipati (the lord in the form of tiger) and Ajudyo(the ancestral god).
The local peoples hail this deity as the embodiment of prudence, knowledge, productivity and strength to resist all evils. Hence, the auspicious ceremonies such as weddings, hair-cuttings, rice-feedings and other ritual performances in Kirtipur are done only after a puza to this deity.
A Buddhist shrine, is situated on the southern hill. It is located in Kirtipur, Nepal. It was made in medieval period. An inscription of Nepal Samvat 635 is found in this Chaitya. Therefore, it is one of the most important historical stupa of this region.
Uma Maheshwar temple (locally, Kwacho Dega) is one of the important heritage sites of Kirtipur. This pagoda-style three-storied temple is situated at the highest point (1414 m) of Kirtipur. Since this temple is at the top of the hill, one can enjoy picturesque view of the Kathmandu valley and mountains like Langtang, Dorge Lakkpa, Chobhu Bhamure, and Gaurishankar.
The temple was constructed in 1655 AD by Rautra Vishwanath Babu, a son of king Sidhhi Narsinga Malla. It was destructed in an earthquake in 1832 AD. After remained dilapidated for about a century, it was restored in 1933 AD after it was again destroyed by an earthquake. Local people and government made a herculean effort to renovate it into the current state. The restoration process was completed only in 1982 AD. Recently, in 2008 some work was done to preserve the arts of temple.
There is an artistic stone gate at the entrance. On each side of the stone staircase leading to the temple, there is a stone elephant, with sculptures of Bhimsen and Kuber as protectors of the temple. The main deities in this temple are standing Lord Shiva and Parvati. There are other images of deities like Sarasvati and Mahismardini on false doors around temple.
The wooden doors, pillars, and beams are crafted with artistic figures of different gods and goddess such as Astamatrika and Asta Bhairav. Similarly, erotic figures are also carved in wooden beams. According to archeologists, these figures on beams have tantric values.
The bell on the northern side of temple was cast in 1895 by Gillett & Johnston Founders, Corydon. It was one of the four quarter bells of Ghantaghar of the central Kathmandu and was reallocated to this temple after the Ghantaghar was destroyed by the earthquake in 1933.
Shri Kirti Bihar:
A Theravada Buddhist monastery built in traditional Thai architectural style, is situated near the entrance to the city.