Krishna Mandir, Patan
Six and a half years in building, the Krishna Mandir was completed under Siddhi Narasimha Malla in 1637. The elegant shikhara-style temple ranks as one of the gems of Durbar Square. Encircled at ground floor level by an arcade, tier upon tier of small shrine-like pavilions culminate in a slender central tower. An inscription likens the temple with its 21 pinnacles to the sacred Mount Meru, abode of the god Shiva.The temple is noteworthy not only for the excellence of its architecture but also for its detail, the reliefs being executed with a precision rarely found in wood let alone stone. This is especially true of the scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics which, complete with Newari commentary, embellish the ledges of the first and second floors. The unusual floral decoration of the arcade echoes the Islamic architecture of northern India, as indeed does the temple as a whole. It was probably modeled on the Krishna Temple at Mathura.Prior to consecration of the temple Krishna is said to have appeared to the King in a dream, instructing him to install an old religious symbol rather than a new one. But the only statue of the god the King could find was missing its left toe, a blemish which led him to commission a new image after all. Krishna then appeared a second time, telling the King that the missing toe was a real injury inflicted by a huntsman. So the damaged statue was duly installed. During the ceremony King Pratapa Malla and his guru arrived from Kathmandu disguised as snakes, intent on sabotaging the proceedings. They were recognized by King Siddhi Narasimha's own guru, Vishvanatha Upadhyaya, who used his magic powers to trap the snakes under his seat until the ceremony was completed. The grateful King conferred on Vishvanatha Upadhyaya the hereditary office of priest at the Krishna Temple.A priest still lives there today, on the first floor. Sadly, smoke and steam have not only discolored the stonework but damaged it too.