Nepal // The Kathmandu Valley //

The bloodthirsty tiger of Kirtipur

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Local legend relates that a shepherd, to pass the time, fashioned a tiger image out of burrs. The shepherd went off in search of a poinsettia leaf for the tongue, but when he returned he found his sheep gone – and the tiger’s mouth dripping with blood. To honour the miraculously bloodthirsty Bhairab, the people enshrined in Bagh Bhairab Mandir a clay tiger, its face covered with a silver, tongueless Bhairab mask that is remade every twenty or thirty years. The mask is hidden, but a tiny porthole on the eastern side of the temple – positioned so as to catch the dawn sun – may allow you to sneak a glimpse.

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