Market and crowds of people at the walls of ancient Taleju Temple on Durbar Square in Kathmandu.

© Yulia-B/Getty Images/iStock

Taleju Temple


Durbar Sq’s most magnificent temple stands at its northeastern extremity but is not open to the public. Even for Hindus, admission is restricted; they can only visit it briefly during the annual Dasain festival. The 35m-high temple was built in 1564 by Mahendra Malla. Taleju Bhawani was originally a goddess from the south of India, but she became the titular deity, or royal goddess, of the Malla kings in the 14th century.

Perhaps because of the influence of the royal goddess, the temple escaped with only minor damage in the 2015 earthquake. The temple stands on a 12-stage plinth, dominating the Durbar Sq area. The eighth stage of the plinth forms a wall around the temple, in front of which are 12 miniature temples. Four more miniature temples stand inside the wall, which has four beautifully carved wide gates.

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