W e have often taken a walk past the famous Krishna Mandir at Patan Durbar Square. This magnificent masterpiece of a monument was built during the reign of the Malla king, Siddhi Narasingha. History books tell us that the temple took over six years to build, and was completed in 1637 A.D. The temple represents what architects have classified as the SHIKHARA style. It is unique in that it is built completely with stone. The temple has been witness to the annual festival to mark the birthday of Lord Krishna – Krishna Janma Asthami, which, this year, falls on 1 September 2010.
Shikhara means the peak of mountains and, if you look a little closer, you will notice that the temple has multiple towers (peaks) and each has a gilded metal FINIAL on top. Looking at each one of the finials a bit closely, you will notice that they are different! One would assume that they would all be the same, but they are not. Given the current public debate in the country about how to articulate and manage Nepal’s diversity, it may be good to take a really good look at the Krishna Mandir and the diversity in the various ‘peaks’. You may also want to take a bit of time out to ask different people in and around the Durbar Square for their theories (and believe me everyone will have one), as to why the finials are different. Surely, if the king had ordered them or if it was made in a single workshop or by a single artist or craftsperson, they would all have been the same.
The best response I have heard so far is that the various neighborhoods of Patan contributed one finial each with their own resources and, hence, they are different. They were definitely not paid for by one patron. What a beautiful thought it can be when we think of a future Nepal where everyone is contributing something different and yet creating something magnificent and second to none globally. Do take a little closer look at the Krishna Mandir in Patan and celebrate the diversity that is Nepal.