Kumari Chhen, House of the Holy

The Kumari Chhen is the home of Living Goddess Kumari. The house is also called Kumari Bahal or Kumari Temple or Kumari Ghar.

The Kumari Chhen lies south-west of the Kathmandu Durbar Square. Both the inside and the outside of the temple is surrounded by a wide base covered with bricks and stones. They now host a resting place for passer-bys and the devotees who come to catch a glimpse of the Kumari. The three-storied chariot which is the vehicle of the Goddess is placed adjacent to Kumari Ghar. Another small chariot called the Viman Khat (meant to be carried on shoulders) is placed at the open eastern side under a small enclosure made especially for the chariot.

The ground floor of the Kumari Chhen has exquisitely carved doors. Among the three doors, only the one at the center is open. Stone steps lead to this main door. The main door has two life-size lions placed on either sides as guards to both, the temple and the deity.

The northern side of the house has 22 exquisitely carved windows in various forms. One special window, the Ga Jhya directly over the main entrance is gold-plated in the centre. No one but the Kumari is supposed to look through this window. This Kumari Jhya was made by King Jaya Prakash Malla and Queen Dayalakshmi Devi according to the rituals during 1758 AD. This window is again elegantly carved with 39 flying-horses at the bottom. At the second floor is another Sa Jhya from where the Living Goddess gives a short glimpse everyday to the devotees. All other windows in the Kumari Chhen are ornate and beautiful.

Inside the Kumari Ghar is an open courtyard. In a typical residential style, the Kumari Chhen has the ground floor, the first floor, the second floor and the roof. On the top floor is the grand throne of the living goddess. Set in a special room, the ornate golden throne is carved with peacock as the seat.

The house of the living goddess has walls that are artistically painted with many different religious crafts. The life-size painting of King Jayprakash Malla with hands folded in due respect to the goddess can also be found here. The king is shown at the right foot of the Goddess Taleju, whereas the Queen Dayalakshmi is shown at the left foot along with Prince Jyotiprakash Malla. These paintings portray the deep respect of the royal family to the goddess Taleju Bhawani and, ultimately, to the living goddess Kumari (who is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Taleju).

On the top of the north face, on the roof, covered with terra cotta tiles is the pinnacle, called gajur. The gajur is the pride of the Kumari Chhen, for it holds an aura of faith and belief. Wish it had been the beauty of the house that draws visitors to Kumari Chhen every day.