Skip to main content


It was the mythical Ghatochkach who swallowed the sun for 6 months plunging the universe into darkness. Nepal feels like we are reliving the myth now with 16 hours of electrical load-shedding, trash heaps piled high on every street corner of the capital, business owners fleeing in droves to create a Nepali industrial corridor on the wrong side of the border, militant trade unionists shutting down the very means of their own livelihood and now the coup de grace, banish the Gods of Nepal so that no divine powers witness the wrath of a virulent political system brought upon a deserving populace.

There are many interesting stories about the power centres of Nepal. Mahankal the northern deity was brought down by the powers of earthly priests on its way to the south and it rests at the edge of Tundikhel in iron chains lest it fly back! Budanilkanth the sleeping Vishnu was rediscovered by farmers when their plows struck the buried statue drawing blood a millennium after it was consecrated. The cult of the Kumari was started by Malla King Jaya Prakash after he made imprudent advances on the female Taleju house deity during a game of dice. The deity vanished bringing in a period of pestilence to the kingdom and only after the newly-consecrated goddess Kumari blessed the king did Taleju forgive him. But there is no deity in Nepal as sacred as Pashupatinath, the Lord of the animals, residing in the deer forest near Kathmandu's international airport.

In the Eleventh Century A.D. the Bengal Muslim ruler Samsaduddin attacked Kathmandu and destroyed the Pashupatinath temple. King Rana Bahadur Shah in his mad grief over the death of his paramour, his junior wife a Mithila Brahmin girl, fired cannon balls at Pashupatinath, a king challenging the divinity of the God that could not save his beloved. The socialist B. P. Koirala was said to have expressed the view that Pashupati should be put in a museum after his successful revolution ended 104 years of Rana regime. Rana Bahadur was struck dead by his half-brother Sher Bahadur, Koirala was ousted by god-king Mahendra only after 9 months of enjoying a popular mandate as prime minister! Fate of the Muslim ruler is unknown but we do not challenge Gods lightly in Nepal.

Now over the dispute of who should be the head priests, Bhattas from South India enjoying this privilege since the Malla period or priests nearer home who could now do the worship equally well, Pashupatinath did not get its ritual morning bath and puja aarti for 8 days in a row! Needless to say that the controversy was in fact just another turf war between the new Nepal and the ancien regime over who would control the considerable resource generated there. Temples are now as important as customs offices, airport immigration, tax offices and the corrupt judiciary in empowering our political parties.

We await to see the wrath of Lord Pashupatinath or is he going to look the other way?


  1. you hit the nail on the head when you said "its a turf war".And like other govt agencies the Maoists want to bring the Temple under its thumb.What an irony-the atheist controlling the holiest shrine of Nepal.
    But I`m sure they will not succeed and this could be the beginning of their downfall as millions of Hindus here and abroad feel distressed.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


If only the Tudor King Henry VIII of England were as lucky as Jung Bahadur Rana, he would have had male heirs aplenty and he would not have had to behead a few of his queens in the hope of his next one presenting him with an heir. All the Maharanis would live together at Hampton Court Palace in seeming harmony at least until the death of the Maharajah. If England had the tradition of Sati, who among Henry's wives would have had the macabre honour of being buried alive with him? Would her be Catherine of Aragon his first queen? Or Anne Boleyn? Or the fair Jane Seymour, his favorite queen who gave him his only male heir, had she not died in her postnatal illness?

Maharajah Jung Bahadur Rana had many wives because he did not have the Catholic Church to worry about. He had at least a dozen sons and innumerable daughters from at least 13 recorded wives. He married some for love, others for political alliances with various noble houses, including a sister of Fateh Jung Shah, one of th…


Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana left England for France with a rich treasure trove of memories and an ambition his experiences in Britain had fueled for his own poor and backward nation. He was heartbroken too as he had to leave behind his paramour Laura Bell. Far from the complexities of ruling a highly destabilized country coming so soon after the tumultuous Kot and Bhandarkhal episodes, Jung had truly relaxed in England and had grown fond of the young Irish lass. He wanted to stay longer but the situation back home was unfavourable. Jung was seething with anger that his brother Bom Bahadur who he left behind as officiating prime minister had not been able to take a firm grip on the affairs of state. Even in faraway England he got reports that his enemies were again trying to rear their ugly heads, he would have to smite them with the power of his ingenuity once more. He knew he could not trust his ambitious third brother Badri Narsingh and the one after that Ranoddip was an indeci…


As a kid I used to gape in wonderment at the magnificent crown my father possessed not knowing that the jewels were only for show. The dark green emerald drops were made of glass, the sparkling diamonds were probably zirconium and the pearls were not of the best sort. Every Rana general had his personal crown in those days and my father was no exception. I did not recognize the difference between this personal crown of father's and the other more valuable crown of the Nepalese Commander-in-Chief of the Army that my father was seen wearing in many a portrait displayed about the house. Little did I know that my father was the last person to put on his head the army chief's crown from the Rana era, real glittering diamonds, snow white pearls and thumb-sized emerald drops and all. The feather in the crown was the magnificent plumes of the Bird of Paradise that gave it such a majestic look.

Nepal had only three crowns that were genuinely the real stuff bedecked with expensive pear…