Temple of Guyheshuri, Pushputtinath
Artist: Oldfield, Henry Ambrose (1822-1871)
Watercolour of the Temple of Guhyeshvari at Pashupatinath in Nepal, by Henry Ambrose Oldfield (1822-1871), c. 1850-1863. The image is inscribed on the reverse: 'Temple of Guyheshuri, Pushputtinath'.
The Guhyeshwari temple, dedicated to Parvati, Shiva's wife, was built by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century and is considered to be one of the sacred sites of Hinduism. When Shiva was insulted by his father in law, Parvati was so angry that she burst into flames, an event which gave rise to the practice of Sati, or self-immolation. Shiva was grief stricken and picked up her corpse and began to wander about as her body parts fell to the earth. The temple marks the spot where her yoni fell; guhya means vagina and ishwari means goddess. The goddess is worshipped at the centre of the temple in a kalasha (water jar) that is covered with a layer of silver and gold. The temple stands at the centre of a courtyard and is topped with four gilded snakes that support the finial roof, as can be seen in this drawing.