Cultural and mysterious Chyasal
The place named Chyasal in Patan district has a series of myths and mysteries surrounding it. The place got its name from the word ‘chyasa which means 800 in Newari. As scary as it may sound, it is said that the place is built up over eight hundred heads. According to the folklore, the courtiers of the Kirati rulers harassed the Patan residents regularly by summoning individuals to the palace and torturing and sometimes even killing them. As this happened, one day, they summoned the boy-priest of the Golden Temple to their palace which made the god furious. The god directed the boy to carry a large amount of rice grain to the palace and on the last crossroads before the palace, every grain transformed into a bee and this large swarm entered the palace chasing after the cruel courtiers. The courtiers fled in all directions and the 800 heads are said to belong to those who were stung to death by the bees.
However, the historians have another take on this. They believed that around 250 AD, a battle between the invading Lichhavi army and the Kirats (then rulers of the Kathmandu valley) took place in Chyasal where the eight hundred Kirat warriors fell defending their city, that later gave the name to the place. Although the proof of death or its presence might not exist, there are ample remains of a rich cultural life in Chyasal, one of them being the stone statue of Gajalaxmi which is estimated to have blessed the square’s water spouts since the first century of the Bikram Sambat. It is sided by an equally ancient statue of an unknown deity (as the face has eroded completely even though the coiled serpent bodies hints towards Lord Vishnu). The statue’s age can be guessed by the fact that splashing mere handfuls of water by the people over time have wiped out some of its parts completely.
A statue of three-headed Ganesh in Chyasal is another unique structure here. Also, four Bhairav shrines are present in Chyasal. Moreover, the locals believe that the people residing in the area falling inside the four shrines are immune to acne. Among the four shrines, the one to the south of the square is most revered and dreaded as this small structure that houses an oblong stone is considered to be so powerful that the local on one night every year post patrol on the alley leading to it to prevent people from seeing the god in his frightening form. Not only the locals but even the priest who has to paste a sacred poster on the idol does so with his back turned to the statue.
Whatever is the belief, mystery or the truth regarding the origin of the name of the area and the presence of the eight hundred heads buried underneath it, Chyasal definitely has rich cultural heritage that needs to be preserved.