The Temple of Tulleyjoo in Khatmandoo within the Palace grounds used only by the Royal Family
Photographer: Taylor, Clarence Comyn
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Taleju Temple in Kathmandu; part of a collection of albumen prints taken by Clarence Comyn Taylor between 1863-65, which constitute the earliest photographs of Nepal. Taylor, a soldier in the East India Company's army, was badly wounded in the Indian Uprising of 1857 and turned to Political Service, arriving in Kathmandu in 1863 as Assistant Resident. At this time the British had started a project to document the people and monuments of the Indian sub-continent using photography. Taylor fortuitously was a capable photographer and took images of Nepal for the Government of India. This image is described by Taylor in his List of pictures as, 'No I. The Temple of Tullejoo in Katmandoo. It is situated within the precincts of the Palace and none but the Royal family are allowed to worship in it. In the back ground are seen part of the City and a tall stone monument erected about 40 years ago by General Bheem Sen and which was struck by lightning a few years back (the place is distinctly visible in the photo) the range of buildings behind the monument is 'Thappatully' the residence of Sir Jung Buhadoor, situated on the right bank of the Bagmutty [Bagmati river]'. Jang Bahadur took the title of Rana and was Prime Minister and Commander-In-Chief of Nepal from 1846 to 1877. It was he who seized power in Nepal and ushered in the rule of the Ranas, making the post of Prime Minister hereditary and reducing the king to a figurehead. At the heart of the old city of Kathmandu is Durbar Square, a quadrangular space around the old royal palace with a concentration of temples and monuments. The 16th century Taleju temple on its twelve-tiered plinth is the largest temple in Kathmandu, built by Mahendra Malla. Taleju is a form of Durga; in Nepal a Mother Goddess with South Indian origins specifically protecting the king. Buddhists venerate the goddess as a form of Tara.