The Kumbheshwor Temple dominates the streets around it and is said to date from 1392, when it was completed by Jayasthiti Malla, making it the oldest extant temple in Patan. The temple is noted for its fine proportions and elegant woodcarvings. There are numerous statues and sculptures around the courtyard dating from a number of Nepalese dynasties from the Licchavis to the Mallas. They include a particularly fine Ganesh figure and other Hindu deities. As the large Nandi, or bull, facing the temple inside the main entrance indicates, the temple is dedicated to Shiva.

The temple platform has two ponds whose water is said to come straight from the holy lake at Gosainkunda, a long trek north of the valley. An annual ritual bath in the Kumbheshwor Temple’s tank is claimed to be as meritorious as making the arduous walk to Gosainkunda.

An important Bhairab Temple with a life-size wooden image of the god is in south of the courtyard. Also on the southern side of the Kumbheshwor Temple, is the single storey Baglamukhi Temple where the god­dess is represented by the small temple’s gilded archway with its canopy of snakes. On the western side of the Kumbheshwor Temple courtyard, is the large Konti Hiti tank, a popular gathering place for local women.

Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple during Janai Purnima festival in July and August each year and worship the silver and gold lingam which is set up in the tank. It’s a colorful occasion with bathers immersing themselves in the tank while members of the Brahmin and Chhetri castes replace the sacred thread they wear looped across their left shoulder. Jhankris (sorcerers) beating drums and wearing colorful headdresses and skirts dance around the temple to complete the dramatic scene.

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