Tadhuchhen Bahal

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Tadhuchhen Bahal image
Image by PC: bhaktapur.com/Praz santt

Tadhuchhen Bahal or Ta: dhi chhen is more familiar as Chaturvarna Mahavihar. The bahal is also termed Bahal, Baha, or Vihar (Mahavihar) in the Nepalese term. That’s why it is called in various ways.

Tadhuchhen Bahal was ordered to erect by King Raya Malla. An inscription like-board in the Vihar clearly states that it was built in N.S. 611 (1492 A.D). It also states that the Kings: Ram Malla, Raya Malla, Ari Malla, and Avaya Malla collaboratively invited Jibchandra Bajracharya and ceremoniously made him the main Gubaju of the Bahal. 

This vihar is also called Surat Shree Chaturvarna Mahavihar. It is said that the pioneer priest of the Vihar, who was Jibchandra Bajracharya, was also the son of the famous Tantrik Gubaju of that era, Surat Bajracharya. Considering a tribute to him, the initial name of the Vihar was named Surat Shree Chaturvarna Mahavihar. 

Also, about calling the place the Kumari House, it’s not like the kumari of Bhaktapur resides over there. But yes, it is said that the initial kumari of Nepal was established over there. Additionally, King Ranajit Malla also had set some rules regarding Kumari in the place as well.

Perhaps, that’s why it is also called Kumari house. Nowadays, only during Dashain (Mohni), for a week, the former Kumari is brought up here to fulfill some holy rituals.

Things to notice on Tadhuchhen Bahal

The Tadhuchhen Bahal is an attractive component in itself though there are many other things that surpass your imagination. Being in this centuries-old monastery, you might get wonder, conceiving what exactly is this place.  It looks like a blend of Buddhism and Hinduism.

The courtyard of this Bahal is surrounded by a pha-cha (a walkway on four sides) and the enclosed quadrangle is paved with brick tiles (chikanapa). There is a twayamapau i.e. a toran (a semi-circular decorative panel that normally is made either of wood or metal) hung above the main entrance gate of the bahal and above the sanctum as well.

The courtyard of Tadhuchhen Bahal

The courtyard of Tadhuchhen bahal
PC: bhaktapur.com/Praz santt

Basically, it is decorated symbolizing the three jewels or the five Buddhas of the deity inside the shrine. So, glancing at them not only made you realize the great artistic views but also the religious aspects of creating them.

Erecting various protective deities is another feature of the Bahās and the Bahis. That’s why you could see the wooden sculptures of Ganga-Jamuna right after the entrance on your right and left in the Bahal. Also, there are statues of Bhairava and Ganesh on the struts to protect the Bahal from all bad happenings.

It is said that the image of Mahānkālto overcomes all dangers and a Chetrapāl protected the shrine.  You would also encounter Stupas and a stone Mandal in the courtyard. There is a belief that the center of this Mandal has a figure of Manjughosh, a form of Manjushree. 

Close to the Dharmadhatumandal (the stone Mandal) of a courtyard, there is a base for sacrifice place called Jogisāla in Newāri. It is used for Homa or fire sacrifice rituals. Plus, there is a statue of panchadhyani buddha with its shakti. Besides all these spiritual monuments, you could somehow, also encounter quite impressive things over there.

Yes, while you are there, don’t avoid glancing at the struts of the eastern part of the shrine. There are some wooden portraitures that portray the punishment of limbo which are returned according to their karma. It is a fact that wherever the temple of Lokeshwor exists these kinds of portraitures also exist.

Carving on the strut of Tadhuchhen Bahal

The image shows two persons with huge stomachs. As per the locals, those big men could eat only one grain at a time. It was their punishment. So, they always starve to the death.
PC: bhaktapur.com/Praz santt

Punishing carvings on the strusts of Tadhuchhen bahal

The image shows the punishment for being the person who spread the rumors that he/she had only heard about and caused a fight against each other.
PC: bhaktapur.com/ Praz santt

Depicting punishments on the struts of Tadhuchhen bahal

Tadhuchhen bahal
PC: bhaktapur.com/ Praz santt

Sculpture of two persons at Tadhuchhen bahal

Sculpture of two persons at Tadhuchhen bahal PC: bhaktapur.com/ Praz santt

A carving depicting the punishment atTadhuchhen bahal

A carving depicting the punishment atTadhuchhen bahal PC: bhaktapur.com/Praz santt

Carving depicting creatures attacking a person at Tadhuchhen bahal

Carving depicting creatures attacking a person at Tadhuchhen bahal PC: bhaktapur.com/ Praz santt

Where is Tadhuchhen Bahal located?

You don’t need to worry or walk too much to reach over there. Just walk a little to the east from the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, cross the long inn, and there you go, on your right-hand side, there is a door guarded by two stone images of lions. There it is. There are souvenir shops attached to the building.

Also, the famous Bara pasa: of Bhaktapur, covers some space of the bahal. It serves way more gratifying bara than you could ever have in your life. Both vegetarians and non-vegetarians could enjoy their kind of taste over there.

References: The book was written by Dr. Indra Shiddhi Bajracharya.


The Tadhuchhen Bahal is located in the eastern part of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

In the context of Tadhuchhen Bahal, Bahal or Baha refers to a Buddhist practising place or Vihar. Baha or Bahal is a newari word.

Yes, it does. Bahal or Vihar mean the same place.

Yes, it is a popular place to visit in Bhaktapur. This place is considered one of the major vihars of Bhaktapur where a Dipankar Buddha, as well as the Lokeshwor, are established.

Tadhuchhen Bahal is located in the eastern area of Bhaktapur Durbar Square. When you reach the east end of Durbar Square and cross the two statues of lions, the ahead path toward the east leads you to the Bahal. It is precisely situated opposite the Daily Grind Coffee Restro.

Surat Shree Chaturvarna Mahavihar is another name for this vihar chosen by Jibchandra Bajracharya, the Vihar’s first priest, who was the son of Surat Bajracharya, a notable Tantrik Gubaju of the time. Surat Shree Chaturvarna Mahavihar hence was chosen as the Vihar’s original name in order to show respect to him.

It is said that this is where the first kumari of Nepal was established. In addition, King Ranajit Malla also seems to have imposed some regulations on Kumari in the area. Maybe that’s why it’s also known as Kumari House.

Well, there are a lot of spectacular things to take an aye on Tadhuchhen Bahal. Among them, you must not forget to take a glimpse of eastern struts and the stories carved in them. With that, you should not skip the images of Ganga Jamuna and Dipankar Buddha.


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