Kathmandu; Darbar Square: Kala Bhairab (black stone Shiva) on R.
Photographer: Bourne and Shepherd
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Bhairava image in the Darbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal, taken by Bourne and Shepherd in the 1870s, from the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views. Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and its largest town, is situated on the Bagmati river. The town grew around the Himalayan trade route connecting India and Tibet and China, developing in the Lichchavi period (300-800AD) of which little trace remains, but reaching its golden age in the period of the Malla dynasty between the 13th and 18th centuries. The town prospered with the taxes collected from the trade route and much of its grandest architecture dates from this time.
Darbar Square is the quadrangle of the old royal palace, which is surrounded by temples and monuments. In modern times it is also called Hanuman Dhoka after a statue of the monkey-god Hanuman. Bhairava is a fierce form of Shiva, revered in Nepal as a powerful protector, and a black stone image of the deity with six arms and garlanded with skulls is placed in Darbar Square.