Itumbaha Shrine

The main shrine of Itumbahal is square shape with 24.95 meter× 24.85 meter. The main entrance into the shrine is from the open courtyard of Itumbahal (from east). The main entrance is guarded by two stone lions and decorated with a wooden Torana. Just behind the entrance there is a resting place or a Phalincha on both sides. A small temple like structure of one storey with enclosed votive stupa is located at the centre of the courtyard; right in front of main entrance is Kwapadya – a Santum Santorium, with Akshobhya Buddha statue facing east as usual. The shrine is decorated with gold polished repousee door panels and wooden Torana with Vajrasatwoo. There are two stone carved pillared frame with hanging bells. Two pairs of stone and metal lions guard the entrance of Kwapadyas. The ‘arc’ shaped wooden oil lamp holder is placed above the pair of lions. There are two figures of Buddha’s devout disciples Sariputra and Maugadlayani on both sides of entrance, and a big lotus shaped mandala in front of entrance. The upper storey of kwapadya is empty with finely carved wooden window. The finely carved strut wood supports the sloping roof of upper storey. The gods are believed to be of Pancharakshya Gods and a pair of Maha Akshobhya . The roof top of the Kwapadya shrine is decorated with gold polished five pinnacles.

The most part of ground floor is empty and utilized during the social and religious functions. The ground floor of northern wing is open hall, known as Sanghasala or Salinsala. In the middle of Salinsala there is a special alter where the Aaju Dya or Keshchandra is displayed during the festivals of Gun-la. This place is utilized as an exhibition hall during the festivals of Gun-la. The upper floor of northern wing is the Agam Ghar where secret tantric deities are resided; only initiated persons are allowed to enter. This place is also known as Taha-Matan-Agam Ghar. Guthi members gather here to celebrate guthis like Tuta-gu, Swancha gu etc. Behind the northern wing there is Bhutukeba or kitchen complex, where a mun of rice and meat is cooked for legendry demi-god Gurumapa, during the annual festivals and guthi celebrations, all the necessary cookings are done at this place. The entrance of bhutukeba is located at the north east corner of bahal. Just above the entrance there was a giant figure of Gurumapa Bhairab (Kirti mukh Bhairab), which has been stolen now.

The ground floor of southern wing is utilized as a store house during the annual guthi celebration, and upper floor is a place for secret Agam deities where no body is allowed to entre except those with higher initiations like Dekha. All kinds of legal and official jobs, documentation and meetings are held at the 2nd floor of eastern wing, the office of Itumbahal.

There are three votive stupas at the courtyard including a stupa with four standing Buddha’s, facing four directions and about four ft tall. Just below the chatrumukh stupa, there are sunken carved stone where the pinda rice is offered in the name of deceased one, during the srad. Similarly, the young kids of sangha members are bathed at the base of another votive stupa, infront of main entrance, during the process of initiations. The place is marked by 3 sunken stones place together. A big stone mandapa at North West corner of courtyard is the bathing place for Thayapa’s during the moment of auspicious initiation. A small rectangular sunken tank below the courtyard level is located at the south west corner, also known as Ikun – ga, here all kinds of puja offerings are thrown into, and after conclusion of puja held inside courtyard. A swastika marked stone is located at north-east corner. It’s remarkable for the launching pad of cooked rice and meat offerings to Gurumapa. From this swastika marked stone the rice is carried non-stop- upto Tudikhel for feeding Gurumapa.

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Itumbahal, Kathmandu, Nepal

01 4269621

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