Magnificent “Kaliya Daman” sculpture of Basantapur, Kathmandu

July 5, 2023

“Kaliya Daman” refers to an event described in Hindu mythology where Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, subdued and defeated a poisonous serpent named Kaliya. According to the legends, Kaliya was a multi-headed serpent residing in the Yamuna River in the region of Vrindavan.

The story goes that Kaliya had made the Yamuna River highly poisonous, posing a threat to the lives of the inhabitants and the animals in the region. When Lord Krishna discovered this, he decided to confront Kaliya and free the river from its poisonous influence.

In a daring display of bravery and divine power, Lord Krishna jumped into the river and engaged in a fierce battle with Kaliya. Despite the serpent’s venomous attacks, Krishna emerged victorious by subduing Kaliya and dancing on its many heads. Eventually, realizing Krishna’s divine nature, Kaliya surrendered and promised to leave the Yamuna River.

The episode of Kaliya Daman signifies the triumph of good over evil and showcases Lord Krishna’s valor and divine powers. It is often depicted in art, dance, and drama as a popular theme in Hindu mythology.

The most spectacular aspect of Sundar Chowk, located inside the Basantapur Palace, is the magnificent sculpture of Kaliyadaman. It is considered one of the rarest masterpieces of stone architecture, not only in Nepal but also in the entire Indian subcontinent. The statue depicts the story of Lord Krishna subduing the evil serpent Kaliya. The artistry is so exquisite that the form of Lord Krishna appears to be in motion. Unfortunately, the identity of the sculptor remains unknown. King Pratap Malla supposedly discovered it during his travels in the city and installed it in the palace. The sculpture is believed to have been created around 600-700 BS.”