’Bhairava in Kirtipur.’
In Kirtipur, southwest of Kathmandu, a statue of Bhairava occupies a small shrine at the foot of the stairs that lead to the Chilandeo Stupa. Bhairava is the fierce manifestation of Shiva, associated with annihilation and the march of time. He is thought to preside over cremation grounds, hence his garland of skulls. Bhairava beheaded one of Brahma's five heads and as punishment was forced to carry around the skull as a beggar's nap. Yellow and red powder has been smeared on the sculpture during puja offerings. Photo Mick Palarczyk & Paul Smit.