Magazine article Geographical

Taleju Temple in Durbar Square, Kathmandu: Clarence Comyn Taylor, 1862-1865

Magazine article Geographical

Taleju Temple in Durbar Square, Kathmandu: Clarence Comyn Taylor, 1862-1865

Article excerpt

Dominating the Kathmandu skyline, the three-storey Taleju Temple looks down upon the Kathmandu Valley. Understandably, the Hindu temple caught the eye of Clarence Comyn Taylor, the first known photographer reporting from Udaipur and Nepal 150 years ago.

The architecture of the temple blends historical facts with mythical stories. Before the unification of Nepal in the 18th century, the country consisted of small kingdoms; the Malla dynasty ruling the three realms located in the Kathmandu Valley from 1201 to 1769. In 1562, King Mahendra Malla decided to build a temple dedicated to the royal deity of the Malla Kings, the Hindu goddess Taleju Bhawani.

To please the deity, the temple was modelled on the shape of a yantra--a form of mandala displaying mystical powers. As the temple was raised on several receding brick plinths, it was decided that no other building in the city should be taller. On completion of the work in 1564, the legend says that the benevolent goddess came to visit. …

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