Pachali Bhairab & the Southern Ghats


The northern banks of the Bagmati River south of the old town are home to several little-visited temples and shrines, as well as the worst urban poverty in Kathmandu; rarely do such splendour and squalor sit so close. The banks are worth a stroll, especially as an extension of a walking tour. There are plans to redevelop the ghats with new pedestrian walkways.

Between Tripureshwar Marg and the Bagmati River at Pachali Bhairab a huge, ancient pipal tree forms a natural sanctuary for an image of Bhairab Pachali, surrounded by tridents (Pachali is a form of Shiva). To the side lies the brass body of Baital, one of Shiva’s manifestations. Worshippers gather here on Tuesday and Saturday. It is particularly busy here during the festival of Pachali Bhairab Jatra, held during the time of Dasain.

From the temple, head south towards the ghats (riverside steps) on the holy riverbank. To the right is the Newari-style pagoda of the Lakshmi Mishwar Mahadev Temple; to the left (southeast) is the damaged but striking Tin Deval Temple, easily recognised by its three shikhara-style spires.

From here you can continue west along footpaths to cremation ghats and a temple at the holy junction of the Bagmati and Vishnumati Rivers; or east past some of Kathmandu’s poorest and lowest-caste communities to the triple-roofed Tripureshwar Mahadev Temple, currently a museum of Nepali folk musical instruments. The nearby Mughal-style Kalmochan Temple, built in 1873, was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.

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