Kumbheshvara Area, Patan
The district in the north of Patan is best defined by the Kumbeshvara Mandir. This can be used as a focal point to explore the area.
The Kumbeshvara Temple is dedicated to Shiva in the form of a water- pot (kumbha). Shiva is said to spend the six winter months here, returning to the holy mountain Kailash for the rest of the year. The importance of the shrine derives from its location, reputed to be the spot pinpointed by the Sarveshvara lingam for the foundation of Patan. Old sculptures from the Licchavi period, including stelae of Vasuki and Vishnu (4th c.), confirm the great age of the site. Together with the Matsyendranath and Degutale Temples with which it is aligned, the Kumbeshvara Mandir forms the religious backbone of the city.The temple, originally of only two stories, was first erected by Jayasthiti Malla in 1392. The three upper tiers were added by Yoganarendra Malla, bringing the apex level with the Matsyendranath and Degutale Temples which stand on higher ground. The water used for ritual ablutions is said to come from the sacred Gosainkund Lake (so rendering unnecessary a lengthy pilgrimage in search of Himalayan water).
This much-visited rectangular shrine to the goddess Bagalamukhi is situated near the Kumbeshvara Temple. Bagalamukhi, an aspect of Durga, is considered a destructive force responsible for the cholera which afflicts the valley every rainy season. The little devotional image shelters beneath a baldachin of snakes.The shrine also boasts a life-size wooden figure of Bhairava, secure behind bars for the protection of supplicants rather than the god. His large erect penis is often decorated with flowers. So potent is he that women are said to be consumed with desire at the mere sight of him. They seek his help in curing infertility (commonly ascribed only to women), menstrual disorders and frigidity.
Janai Pumina Festival
The Janai Purmina Festival, normally held at full moon in August, draws thousands of pilgrims with offerings for the temple's hallowed five-faced gilded metal lingam.A second phallus, bound in the coils of a golden snake, stands on the platform in the center of the water tank where in addition to performing ritual ablutions people also splash about for fun. Brahmins and Chhetris renew their sacred cords during the festival. Members of the lower castes receive a holy band which they place around their wrists and a month or so later tie them to the tail of a sacred cow.
Koteshvar Mahadeva Mandir
The Koteshvar Mahadeva Mandir, dedicated to Shiva in his most powerful aspect as "god of the million gods", stands at the confluence of the Bagmati and Manohara, on the side furthest from the city. The lingam is thought to date from the 8th c.Travelers returning from Tibet performed their ritual ablutions at the sacred confluence, cleansing themselves after contact with infidels and the unclean before being allowed to enter the city. They would gather at the Kuti Bahal, south of the temple, where there is a 15th c. chaitya.