Saturday, 4 December 2021

home they came ...

installed eight centuries ago in the temple in patko tole of patan, the androgynous statue of laxminarayan, was ripped from its pedestal one night nearly 40 years ago.  trafficked by greedy folks the statue surfaced six years later while being auctioned in sotheby's. the man who bought it then loaned it to the dallas museum of art. finally in 1993 the museum started displaying the idol that had been worshipped by locals for centuries, as an object of art!  it was through sheer luck and grit of many individuals and institutions that the idol finally was flown back to the valley in spring this year.  today, 4th december 2021, the idol of laxminarayan was ceremoniously taken from patan museum and reinstalled in the temple, that had since 1993 housed its smaller replica for locals to worship.

the day started overcast and cold.. but as the time neared for the idol to be brought from the museum, the clouds parted and the sun shone through.  the laxminarayan temple was decked up for the occasion with red satin skirting and marigold garlands..

last minute garlands being strung on the pagoda

the garlanded toran 

.. the replica worshipped since 1993 stands waiting for the original idol to come and
fill up the empty space beside it! 

preparations being set up for the yagya and kshyama puja 

minister pampha bhushal who had come for the ceremony at the reconstructed bhimsen temple a stone's throw away from patko tole, also dropped by

the ornaments and regalia that the idol wore once a year during rituals on nirjala ekadashi day and had lain idle for the last 38 years were now brought out

setting up space for the yagya

and the initiation of the yagya

while the rituals to purify the space and pacify the gods for any wrongdoing committed were goign on, a procession headed towards the patan museum through the narrow mamud galli 

inside the courtyard of the museum.. paperwork was done for handing over
of the idol to the public

the idol is carried into the museum courtyard

.. waiting for the special palanquin to carry the idol from outside the patan museum premises to its home in patko tole

and the procession begins...

.. the procession winding its way through mangal bazar.. (the post-earthquake temple reconstruction taking place in the patan durbar square in the background)

the gods circumambulate the temple ...

... before being hoisted to the temple platform

the puja rituals meanwhile are still ongoing

the priest still busy

the laxminarayan idols.. the original and the replica... stand side by side under the same roof ready to be worshipped by devotees.  the temple has modern security system in place for extra protection

the idol with its regalia and offerings.. the laxmi side of the idol is draped to the ankles!
and that is how they came home.. the laxmi and narayan couple after a forced lonely sojourn across the seven seas!

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