Bhairavnath Temple, Bhaktapur

Weather :

Time Required : 1-2 hours

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Bhairavnath Temple , Bhaktapur Overview

Bhairavnath temple is one of the temples in Bhaktapur Durbar Square and is built in the pagoda style. The entry ticket to Bhaktapur also guarantees a visit to this temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Bhairav, which is supposed to be the most ferocious form of Lord Shiva. Originally, the temple had just one storey which was built by King Jagat Jyoti Malla. However, in 1717, two more storeys were added to this temple by King Bhupatindra Malla.

The statue of Lord Bhairav is about 12 feet long and is one of the largest statues in Kathmandu Valley. Thousands of people visit Bhairavnath temple during Bhairav Ashtami or Bhairav Jayanthi as it is celebrated religiously. Even though the temple was slightly damaged during the earthquake in November 2015, it still has retained most of its structure.

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Legends

The inner part of the temple consists of the head of Lord Bhairav. There are many stories as to why and how Lord Bhairav’s head was cut off and worshipped here. 

According to one legend, when Sati wanted to marry Shiva, Daksha (Sati’s father) was against it and did not agree on Shiva becoming his son-in-law. One day, Daksha organised a yagna and invited everyone except Shiva. But when Daksha saw Shiva enter the yagna uninvited, Daksha got angry and killed Shiva. Hearing this, Sati jumped into the yagna fire. Shiva became very furious at Daksha and beheaded him. Then he carried Sati’s body out of the fire an danced around the world for days. On seeing this, Vishnu was afraid this would be the cause of the end of the world and transformed Sati’s body into pieces with the help of his Sudarshana Chakra. Shakti peeth emerged wherever her body pieces fell.
Lion Statue at the Temple Source

Another legend of this temple says that Lord Bhairav was very fond of the Lingo festival that was celebrated in Bhaktapur. It was believed that he used to come to watch the festival in a human form. When the King got to know, he wanted to capture Bhairav and keep him in the city. So, he commanded his ministers and Aachaju to look out for Bhairav. During the Lingo festival, Bhairav was caught and beheaded by Aachaju. Later, Aachaju was found feeling guilty for killing Lord Bhairav and therefore, started to worship Lord Bhairav’s head.

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