The magnificent Taleju temple, located in Durbar Square of Kathmandu, is dedicated to the clan Goddess of Malla kings, Devi Taleju Bhawani. Traditionally, entry into the temple was restricted to kings but has now been extended to the Hindus. It is believed that the temple was constructed in the shape of a Yantra, as was directed by the Devi herself. In the middle of Durbar Square, the temple, set atop a pedestal, is a stunning sight that reminds people of its rich heritage and cannot be missed even when the square is bustling with activities. The Degu Taleju Temple is not open to all. However, on the special occasion of Dasain, devotees can enter to offer prayers to the Goddess. The rest of the time, tourists can explore the shrine from the outside.
Every region in Nepal has its own history and religious influences. Before Nepal was founded, Kathmandu was majorly ruled by the Newars who were ardent worshippers of Goddess Taleju who was believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Durga and the guardian of the kings. She is, therefore, considered to be a powerful deity and is worshipped in the region since the 14th century. The place of worship, Taleju Temple, is proof of this history and has been considered as an important tourist attraction.
Also known as Taleju Bhavani, Goddess Taleju is a powerful Goddess. She is believed to contain all other Goddesses worshipped by the Hindus in the region. According to a legend, the Gods fought many demons once but later, when they left to rest, a demon named Mahishasura noticed that the Gods were away resting and declared himself the Lord of the Heaven and the ruler of the Universe. All the Gods got tremendously angry when he heard this declaration from Mahishasura. In the rage, they shot beams of bright light from their foreheads. These beams converged a little distance away and formed an eruption of light from which Goddess Durga was born.
In Kathmandu, the Goddess is worshipped by the Newars who ruled the region ages before Nepal was established. She is believed to be the Goddess worshipped by other Hindu Gods and Goddesses too but majorly was the guardian of the Kings of the Malla Dynasty. In fact, the temple was built during the reign of King Mahendra Malla. Legend states that the mantra of the goddess ensured the ruler's succession and victory and therefore after the Shah dynasty dethroned the Mallas, they also started worshipping Goddess Taleju.
The temple is a 35-metre high monument that stands prominently on a pedestal with twelve levels or steps made of stone. On the eighth level, a wall has been built all around the shrine that acts as a compound for the temple. There are 12 smaller shrines in front of this wall. On the other side, there are four more shrines other than the main one. This ancient place of worship has a traditional pagoda style architecture with a three-tiered roof, wooden doors and window frames decorated with intricate carvings. The structure in the heart of the city is quite a magnificent one. It is much recommended that one takes a moment to pause and admire this stunning ancient monument from the bygone times.
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