Welcome to Maitripur Mahabihar in Thamel,
Maitripur Mahabihar is situated at baha courtyard just at the south of Thamel. It is also known as Kwa Bahal. There is no exact reference about the origin of Kwa Bahal. The earliest dated reference of Maitripur Mahabihar comes from an inscription which dates back to Nepal Sambat 672. Maitripur Mahabihar is still considered as one of the most important historic and archaelogical mahabihars among 18 Mahabihars in Kathmandu.
There is a legend that states Wakvajra, a famous Vajracharya brought Chaitya from Banares and placed it in Shigal and returned to Kwa Bahal. It is believed that he went into the room next to the left side of the shrine to meditate. During the meditation, it is believed that he vanished in that meditative state from the room. This room is sealed off from access but it still exists here.
Before the entry to the main shrine, there is a hanuman statue opposite to the Chaitya. The chaitya is also believed to be placed by Wakvajra Vajracharya himself. Right at the entryway, there is a wooden toran dating back to Nepal Sambat 789. Toran is a sacred or honorific gateway in Buddhist and Hindu architecture. It shows on the main gate, you can see two Singha Stone statues. Further ahead, there are along with Sariputra on the right side and Mouglyana on the left side near the main shrine or Kwa Padya.
There are many paintings buddhist gods and goddesses along with different forms of Buddha.
Just outside the main shrine, there is an Ashok Chaitya and a smaller chaitya which dates back to Licchavi period. Inside the main shrine, there is a statue of Buddha made up of stone and another statue made up of wood. On the top of the parva there is wooden carving of Vajrasattva. Many people believe that the wooden various posters and depictions of the wodden statue resemble Dipankar Buddha. He is also known as Adi-buddha. Other buddha statue made up of stone is considered as the ‘Dewavatar’. It is one of the rarest buddha statues of standing position in Nepal’s Bihars.
The annual anniversary of the Maitripur Mahabihar takes place on the Phalgun Shukla Pakshya Saptami Tithi. According to the buddhist culture, there is a culture of doing Homadi Puja and decoration with religious flags. Maitripur Mahabihar has its own Kumari or living goddess who is chosen from the daughters of the buddhist monks in the bihar. Rather than being worshipped in the form of living goddess Taleju as other Kumari in Newari culture, she is worshipped in the form of Vajradevi. Most of the functions and rituals performed by the Kumari are related to Bhagwan Bahal.
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