Shree Ngatabhulu Ajiima
A major powerhouse that protects Kathmandu valley; Shree Nyatabhulu Ajiima, was established in the inner city of ancient Kathmandu. It lies on the right side of the road that leads to Basantapur (Kathmandu Durbar Square) from Chettrapati. This temple is also called Naradevi Temple named after the housed goddess ‘Naradevi’.
Newar locals call this temple ‘Nyata Ajima’ and call the neighboring community “Nyata”. Despite the local name, the increasing level of modernization has allowed the majority of people to know the temple as ‘Nardevi temple” and have viewed the community as ‘Naradevi’ too.
Nyata Ajiima (Mother Nyata) is also known as Goddess Swetkali. She is one of the eight forms of Kali, the wrathful Goddess. Although there is no written fact about the establishment of Nyata Ajima, it is widely believed that Gunakamdev, the Licchavi King built it.
Myths about Nyata Ajima’s Existence
The present Naradevi area was once a dense forest and the King of Patan went there for a hunt. One day while on the hunt, a wild elephant chased the king and the running king reached the Temple’s place now. He saw a huge tree and hid behind it and he fainted because of exhaustion
When he regained his consciousness, to his surprise, he saw Goddess Swetkali in front of him. Goddess told him that due to his good deeds she saved his life. She even told him to continue with the good work and rule the kingdom honestly.
The king was very happy for he was saved by the goddess herself. Upon his return to his Kingdom, he supposedly established the Naradevi temple at the place where he was graced the Goddess’ presence.
Similarly, one of the Kings of Bhaktapur too had a similar encounter with the goddess and he set up a Guthi to protect the temple and arrange the necessary income to look after it.
Guthi is an important social organization of the Newars, that helps is preserving the tangible and intangible aspects of a community.
Likewise, according to another myth, near a place called Dallu, bordering Kathmandu, used to live a monster known as Dakshapa.
Dakshapa used to enter the settlements to eat people and throw their bones in one particular place that piled up to become a mountain of bones. Locals were fed up with the monster and were afraid even to get out of the house to go to their fields.
A powerful Tantric (saint) to save mankind appealed to four Bhairavs. Bhairava is the wrathful form of Lord Shiva. Tantrik also invoked Swetkali with a promise that she and Bhairavs would be rewarded with great respect and honor if they got rid of Dakshapa.
Swetkali then disguised herself as a beautiful maiden and seduced the monster. The demon rejoicing the sight of a beautiful young woman followed her. She brought the monster to the present-day Naradevi crossroad, where four Bhairavs then came from all four directions. This terrified the monster and he tried his best to escape the scene.
He stumbled onto the same mountain of bones when he was running away. There, Nardevi caught the monster and suppressed it. The Tantrik performed a ritual and locked the monster and made it impossible for him to escape.
The Naradevi temple is believed to have been established at the center of the crossroad while the four Bhairavs were installed in all four directions of it after suppressing Dakshapa.
Dakshapa was suppressed at the present Tamsipakha is the place, Therefore, when processions passing through this road, participants play a particular song called; ‘Taamsipakha Pwa:’. And this tune played on Dhime drums is of a tantric song.
During Pahancharahe or Ghodey Jatra; the annual horse parade festival that officially concludes festivals of the year, the Swetkali Goddess dance is performed. And at other places like Hanuman Dhoka Durbar, Patan Durbar, Bhaktapur Durbar, Banepa Durbar, Kirtipur Durbar Squares, etc this dance is especially every twelve years.
The grand Naradevi’s Khat Jatra, the palanquin parade, also happens on Pahancharahe.
Source: Inherited Heritage
Feature Photo: Kirtan Joshi