Layaku (Royal Palace of Madhyapur Thimi)
|Development Region||Central Development Region (CDR)|
|• Mayor||Madan Sundar Shrestha (NCP)|
|• Deputy Mayor||Anjana Madhikarmi (NC)|
|• Total||11.47 km2 (4.43 sq mi)|
|• Density||7,200/km2 (19,000/sq mi)|
|• Religion||Hindu, Buddhist|
|Time zone||UTC+5:45 (NST)|
Madhyapur Thimi is a municipality in Bhaktapur District in the Bagmati Zone of central Nepal. Thimi lies between Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley. It is one of the ancient, cultural and historical places along the trade route from Bhaktapur to Kathmandu. Like other old cities this city is also situated on elevated land and therefore one has to climb up to reach it. Thimi occupies an area of 11.47 square kilometres and is administratively divided into nine wards.
In the local election of 2017, Madan Sundar Shrestha of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) was elected as mayor, securing 13,960 votes, and Anjana Madhikarmi of Nepali Congress secured 10,678 votes.
There are indications that the city may be as old as 3000 BC. A recent work by Mohan Pant and Shuji Funo compared the very regular grid layout of Thimi to other very ancient cities in Indus valley and Nepal. The details of the grid dimensions of city blocks are very close to those of Mohenjo-daro and Sirkap (part of ruins near Taxila) in Pakistan; also Patan, Nepal. The authors found that plot dimensions measure 9.6m by 19.2m, and are very uniform. These dimensions correspond to Indus Valley civilization.
Madhypur Thimi is situated in the center of the valley between Patan, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. Because of its position it served as a bulwark between Bhaktapur and Patan, Kathmandu during the late malla period when there were often battles among the three kingdoms of the valley. Several legends surround the name "Thimi" and its meaning. Legend says that because the people of Thimi so successfully defended Bhaktapur, the kings of Bhaktapur called them "Chhemi", meaning "capable people", thus praising them for their loyal constant support. Gradually the name of the settlement became "Thimi". "Madhya" means centre and "pur" means city; therefore Madhyapur means city located in the centre. The oldest known name of the city is "Themmring".
According to legends Lichchavi king Narendra Dev kept his youngest son Bal Dev in the palace of Madhyapur Thimi (Thimi Durbar or Layaku). Now it has been established as a government school and still today also the palace is considered to be the main place of goddess Balkumari.
Places of interest
The people of Kathmandu valley have been worshiping four Ganesh, four Kali, four Kumari, four Varahi, four Mahalaxmi and four Ganga. Among the four Kumaris, one is Balkumari of Thimi. The temple of Balkumari is said to be about three hundred years old. Goddess Balkumari is regarded as the guardian deity of Thimi and she is the beloved goddess of Thimi. Ceremonial rituals in relation to important events of life including marriage, bratabanda etc. cannot be done without propitiating this deity.
The present three storeyed temple of goddess Balkumari was built probably around the 17th century. This temple stands in the brick-paved rectangular courtyard with rest houses around it. There is a temple of lord Bhairab and some small shrines of different gods and goddess spread around the courtyard.
The legends regarding the temple of goddess Balkumari say that the merchants from ancient Thimi used to go to Lubhu for trading. One of them established a relationship with the princess of Lubhu. Soon the princess became pregnant. The princess asked the merchant to take her with him. The clever merchant put forward a condition that he would take her with him only if she agrees to bring goddess Balkumari with her to which the princess happily agreed. Since ancient times there were only four Balkumari temples in the Kathmandu Valley. Therefore when the pregnant princess was brought to Thimi, goddess Balkumari was also permanently shifted from Lubhu to Thimi since there could not be more than four major Balkumari temples in the valley. Till now as well to commemorate that a pregnant princess brought the deity, there is a womb like structure just above the idol of the deity inside the ancient temple.
Since goddess Balkumari is the primary deity of Thimi, during the annual Biska Jatra, her chariot is not taken to whole Thimi. Her chariot is taken only to the temple of Prachanda Bhairab. It is because, it is believed that the ancient city of Thimi was extended from Balkumari temple in the south and Pranchanda Bhairab temple in the north.
Among the four Mahalaxmi of the Kathmandu valley, one is located in Bode of Madhyapur Thimi. Mahalaxmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity and fortune. She is considered as the younger sister of goddess Balkumari. The people of Bode consider goddess Mahalaxmi as their Ajudeu, mother goddess. This pagoda style two storeyed temple is located in the center of Bode. This temple was constructed around 17th century.
Thimi Durbar (Layaku)
Thimi durbar is the ancient palace of Thimi, where Bal Dev stayed. This palace is an ancient palace located in the heart of Thimi. The main idol of the goddess Balkumari which is taken out only in Bisket Jatra to perform jatra is kept here. Similarly, the Layaku Bhairab dance of Thimi is also started from here which is held for the following four nights of Gai Jatra. There are many shrines of gods and goddesses kept in this ancient palace including a temple dedicated to lots Ganesha and goddess Taleju Bhawani which is opened in the tika of Mohani.
Madhyapur Thimi is an ancient town rich for its temples. Many temples dedicated to different gods and goddesses are located here, including Siddhikali Temple, Dachin Barahi temple, Vaisnavi (Vishnu Bir) temple at Sunga Tole, Prachanda Bhairab temple, Machhindranath (Nepal Bhasa: Janamaadya) temple, an ancient monastery and many temples dedicated to lord Ganesh are some important heritages of Thimi. The Siddhi Ganesh temple and the Nagadesh Buddha Bihar are the important places of Nagadesh of Madhyapur Thimi. Similarly, the Bode Lyaku, Pacho Ganesh, Kalika temple and Neeel Barahi temple are some important heritages of Bode.
Madhyapur Thimi is also famous for pottery and clay works. The people of Thimi (Prajapati) are mostly involve in pottery from the ancient time. The places of Thimi such as Chapacho, Nasanani, Tulanani, Kumanani, Wachunani, Janlanani, Duinani, Digutole, Ganchanani, Tahanani, Pacho, Duwaphalcha, Gungachiwa are the pottery squares of Thimi.
Culture and festivals
It is famous for its pottery and cultural programs like Bisket Jatra, Gai jatra and other dancing jatra. Being the ancient newar vilification the town celebrates various festivals such as Bisket Jatra which falls in mid-April to mark the end of the year and beginning of new year according to Bikram Samvat. Specially the Jatra celebrated all three major towns of Thimi Municipality. The chariot carrying the statues of different Devtas are circulated carried on the shoulders of the youngsters. Altogether 32 chariots are circulated. Similarly there is a unique tradition in Bode to pierce the tongue of a young man to mark the day of escapement of the evil and Jatra begins next to that. Although the Bisket Jatra is celebrated in the whole of Bhaktapur it has special importance and influence that those celebrated in other places of Bhaktapur.
Neelbarahi Naach of Bode Bhaktapur is celebrated in Bode during August after three days of Gaijatra. The people wear masks of the various faces to mark as the reincarnation of the gods. They would dance with the traditional spiritual music during the performance they are not allowed to speak, eat or even drink water.
Another important traditional dance in Madhyapur Thimi is the Layaku Bhaila Naach which is also performed by people of Thimi in the month of August in Thimi after four days of Gaijatra. Altogether five men dance in this traditional dance with four youth and one child. The men wear masks of Bhairab and Daagi (Kumari). There are two Bhairabs and Daagis and one Jyapuga (the child artist). They dance with traditional spiritual music and after dancing they start shivering (except the child artist) because of the divine powers of gods. When they are shivering they lose their sense and know nothing about what happened. The adult dancers who are dancing, get hypnotised when they hear the sound of Daaga baja, Bhusya baja and Ponga baja (Different Newari musical instruments). According to the recent dancers, they feel like a divine power embaracing them to encourage dancing more and more. According to them when they are dancing they loose half of their consciousness, heavy clothing starts becoming lighter and when they shiver they feel like in the state of unconsciousness or like when they are asleep. This shows that the community has strong devotion toward their tradition and culture. They must not stop dancing even if it is raining.
Thimi too hosts piercing tongue jatra the night after Indra Jatra.In Thimi, tongue is bored in front of Bhairab temple of Digu tole. After boring the tongue, the very person is taken around the town and sometimes even in other towns and distant places, Changu, Pashupati, for instance. Thus it becomes almost morning when they reach back home. The tongue-bored person has to give customary feast party to one and all who follows him during the circumambulation of the town. Since the people eat feast in the morning without washing their faces, they often chant a slogan, which goes like – Khwah masisen bhoe naye which means not other than eating the feast without washing the face.
Albeit there is no written substantiation regarding this tradition, there is a popular legend behind it. Thus runs the story –
Thimi was once haunted by man-eating demons. The behaviors of demons scared the living daylights out of the people. Nobody could walk in the streets even in the daytime. In the absence of farming, food scarce spread, and the people got into a panic. After many people died off, some people petitioned the royal palace to protect their lives. They said that they had been troubled by the demons and they were unable to do any work and their lives had been ruined by the demons. The king immediately summoned parliament. In discussion, Tantrik said that the demons could be punished by the charisma of lord Bhairab. So the tantrik performed the rituals.
With the divine power of lord Bhairab, the demons were caught. Some demons hid under the eaves but each of them was also caught with the help of Yanmata, explicitly a long handled torch. In front of Lord Bhairab, with permission of the king, their tongues were bored. Each of them was made to carry 108 dhani (1 dhani=2.4kg) heavy vey (flaming torch) on the shoulder, ghangala (small bells) were tied, then all were made to walk around the country. They were exiled from the settlement and made not to return again under a promise of not giving such troubles.
To remind the thing that one who does bad things for people and the country and those who distresses others will be punished in this way and dishonored in front of all and even exiled from the country, tongue boring festival was celebrated every year.
Many customs support this legend. As an illustration, Yanmata , the torch carried by the Sayamese (Sayami- the oil pressers) during walk around the town after tongue boring is the emblem to search if there are any demons left hiding under the eaves.
- Mohan Pant, Shūji Funo, Stupa and Swastika: Historical Urban Planning Principles in Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. NUS Press, 2007 ISBN 9971693720, citing Allchin: 1980
- Prajapati, Subhash Ram (2005). Destination Thimi (1st ed.). Bhaktapur: Chapacho Information Centre. ISBN 9994635506.
- Madhyapur Thimi, Nepal. Digital Himalaya itle=Madhyapur Thimi Layaku https://twitter.com/ArjunSh97749427/status/776265764168802304/photo/1 itle=Madhyapur Thimi Layaku Check
|url=value (help). Retrieved 2016-09-16. Missing or empty
- "Nepal Census 2001". Nepal's Village Development Committees. Digital Himalaya. Archived from the original on 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2008-08-26.