Om kuli Shree Rudra Varna Mahavihar is one of the most beautiful monastry of Patan. It is located in Lalitpur Sub-metropolitan city ward No. 6, Wokhubahal, Patan which is in the South East direction & is about 500 meter distance from Patan Durbar Square. The Vihara is located nearby world famous MAHABAUDDHA Terraccota Temple which is known as nine thousand Buddha Temple.
The Vihara was build by Lichhavi King Shiva Deva in 6th century A.D. Thus, the Vihara is named Shiva Deva Sanskarita. The king became Buddhist monk in thid Vihara and afeter some days as per his teacher’s guidance he lived as a house hold monk and spent good part of each day in meditation before the Image of the Buddha he had installed in the main shrine of Vihara. His sons and grandsons carried on the tradition. 400 years later, this Vihara was renovated by King Rudra Deva. Since then the name of this Vihara became “Shiva Deva Sanskarita Shree Rudra Varna Mahavihara” King Rudra Deva who renovated this Vihara also became a Buddhist monk for four days and passed whole life in this Vihara as Buddhist King. Except this Vihara there are no other archaeological remains has been found in the name of Shiva Deva Vihara which had 15 gold plated Chaityas kept in the rooftop as pinnacles.
The street entrance to the Vihara complex is a gate with two large stone lions welcoming the visitors. This gate was built by Dhirj Narshing Shakya Bansa (Gwara Company) at the time of ruling period of King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shaha Deva and Rana Prime Minister Chandra Samser. The gate was plastered and surmounted by two lions holding spear by both hands and half moon symbol is raised in between the lions. Symbolically the moon stands for name “Chandra” the spear indicates “Sama” and the lion indicates “Shera”. In this way the name of “Chandra Sham Shera” is symbolized in the gate.
Passing thought the gate way one can reach the first compound of the Vihara called “Ubaha Gathicha”. In this compound there are three deities, they are Shakyamuni Buddha, a Chaitya and Lokeswara. This compound was used as visitors place & Judiciary court at the time if ruling period of King Rudra Deva.
At the entrance to the main compound, there are two lare stone lions resting on the elephant and then in turn rests on a turtle. The lion is surmounted by Hari Hari Hari Hari Bahan Lokeswara. Hari is the name of Vishnu. Hence four fold Hari signifies a Lion, a Snake, a Garuda, Vishnu and Lokeswara. This gate was established by a local devotee in 1908 A.D.
Passing through the entry way there is the main shrine of the Vihara complex and court yard. The 3 storied main shrine is facing north. The top roof is surmounted by a row of 15 gold plated Chaityas. At the center of the Shrine in ground floor, there is a large image of Red faced ‘Kwapadhya’ the Shakyamuni Buddha adorned with various ornaments. There is also a small Kwapadhya below the Big Kwapadhya who is Rahaul Bhadra, the son of Shakyamuni Buddha. There are various deities inside the Kwapadhya room. Among them Phoodhya Aaju (Deepankar Buddha) bears a special tradition. It is known that after renovating the Vihara King Rudra Deva became Buddhist Monk in the Sangha and dedicated his whole life in this Vihara. According to Nepalese Buddhist Culture if some devotees invited him (King Rudra Deva) in the ceremony of Samyak Dana, Narran Dana, Pancha Dana, the King being a monk must participate in the ceremony and receive alms (Dana). Therefore the King made the image of Deepankar Buddha (Phoodhya) to participate in the ceremony as his representation. The King used to send Deepankar Buddha at the end of the ceremony that is why the Deepankar Buddha is called as ‘Phoodhya’. After worshiping and giving alms to Deepankar Buddha the Dana (alms) ceremony concludes. The custom can still be observed in Patan city every year in Pancha Dana festival occurring in the month of August. The ceremony will not conclude until the Deepankar Buddha comes to receives Dana (alms).
The door of main Shrine is decorated with gold plated respousee metal sheets with floral design and molded images of Sariputra, Maudagallyan, Vinaraj, Dhonjaraj, Ganga-Jamuna, Naag Kanyaa, Mallah (Dragon), Chandra (The Moon) and Surya (The Sun). The walls are decorated with amazingly beautiful images of Manjushree Boddhisattva, Padmapani Lokeshwara, Samantabhadra Boddhisattva, Bajarpani Lokeshwara, Ratnapani Lokeshwara, Viswapani Lokeshwara and King Sudhodhan & Queen Maya Devi the Father and the Mother of Lord Buddha.
The courtyard of Vihara is filled with large collection of metal casted figures, Chaityas, Dharmadhatu, Mandala, Bajradhatu Mandala, stone pillars, praying wheels singing bells etc. there is a Ashoka Chaitya in fornt of the main door way to Kwapadhya. It is believed that King Ashok had built a stone tap, a wooden shelter, and a Chaitya in this locality before the Shiva Deva Vihar existed. Still the Chaitya and stone tap is preserved by people of this locality. The Chaitya and roof of the Ashoka Chaitya are covered with gold plated metal sheet. It has small praying wheels around it.
The image of Lion, Elephant, Peacock, Horse and Garuda are installed in both sides of the main shrine as the vehicle symbols of Pancha Buddha. The four divine creatures namely Singha (lion), Shardula (flying horse), Airavata (elephant) and Garudha are the prominent helper of the Padmakar Buddha. They are also regarded as Bodhisttvas. Thus their images are installed in this Vihara. Some historians describe the standing image is of Rana prime minister, which is symbloic art of local artists. The image holds the name inscribed in the belt of image as “Shree 3 Ajambara Maharaja”. But this statue is not concerned with this Vihara. His right hand holds a metal sheet in which Aparmita Dharni (holy script) is inscribed.
In the four corner of the court yard the four gold plated Bodhisattvas are installed since 2006 A.D.
In the northern side of the Vihara, both side of the Tunal has a Series of Wooden Strust of Salabansika Yakchhanis which are one of the most excellent wooden art samples of 12th century. The ground floor has store room and wooden shelter. The upper storey had balcony attached Nasandigi (God of different musical instrument & holy script) as Agam room. At the western wing there is a shrine of Amongpas Lokeswar (Dharmagara Gumba).
In the East-North side of the court yard there is a Manala of Bronze metal in which each of the local boy child of Vihara Sanghal has to become monk by cutting their hair. Until & unless the boy child does not take part in hair cutting ceremony to be monk for four days, they are not considered as the member of Sangha.
Tago Chiva is very beautiful stupa located behind the Rudra Varna Mahavihara. It is taken as a true example of stone craft of Patan city. At the very spot there was a Dharmadhatu which was in a ruined condition keeping the old & regious Chatya underneath. The Stupa was built in 1685 A.D. under the supervision of Pandit Jayamuni Shakya the great grandson of Pandit Avaya Raj Shakya. The Dharmadhatu in front of Chaitya adds beauty and holiness to the spot. A pit with Basuki Naag in north side of the Stupa (Chaitya) is worshiped for rain fall in dry season. The completion ceremony was organized in the presence of the King Yog Narendra Malla. The Danapati (devotee) of his locality Shree Ratna Muni Shakya Bansa arranged the alms (Samyak Dana) in 1687 A.D. In this ceremony King of Kathmandu Bhupatendra Malla and King of Lalitpur Yog Narendra Malla were also present. The symbolci of presence of tow Kings in one ceremony is still can observe in back side of the Chaitya.