About Jana Bahal

Located between Ason Chowk and Indra Chowk is this fabulous temple courtyard known as Jana Bahal. Although the exterior archway was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake, the Seto Machchhendranath temple and courtyard survived unharmed.

Seto Machchhendranath temple at Jana Bahal
Seto Machchhendranath temple at Jana Bahal

Jana Bahal is well worth seeking out due to its eclectic number of statues and shrines. The well-preserved temple is also unique in Kathmandu.

Just outside Jana Bahal are several small street markets which often obscure the entrance way. The mighty Seto Machchhendranath temple is just behind them in its protective metal fence.

Did you know?

There are also two versions of Machchhendranath. A red one found in Patan and this one who is known as the “white Machchhendranath” or Seto Machchhendranath. In 2022 renovations were completeled outside with a new brick style archway leading to the temple.

History of Jana Bahal & the Seto Machchhendranath

Seto Machchhendranath statue at Jana Bahal, Kathmandu
Seto Machchhendranath statue at Jana Bahal, Kathmandu

The main temple itself is dated from the 17th century, however, inside the temple there's a statue that predates it by 700 years.

The White Machchhendranath statue inside the temple was built by King Gunakamadeva in the late 10th century. Shortly afterwards, it was stolen by invaders from the west.

The invaders couldn't carry it though, so they threw it into a river. The western king who stole it became infected by a skin disease as were his descendants. An astrologer linked the events, and the statue was found before being brought back to Jana Bahal.

Soon after, the temple was constructed to house the statue.

Unique statues around Jana Bahal

Jana Bahal courtyard
Jana Bahal courtyard

Jana Bahal's courtyard is filled with shrines and statues. For historians, it is of interest to note the unusual gilded statue of a woman.

Some suggest it’s the mother of Buddha, Maya Devi. Her look is far too similar to a European-styled figurine for others. Today she is adorned with red-vermilion. Perhaps her identity can be found in the temple itself.

Many of the temple's panels were renovated throughout 2021. This includes the surrounding statues in the courtyard.

Entrance fee

There is no fee to enter Jana Bahal or any of the surrounding temples. Currently, it looks closed due to reconstruction at its main entrance. But there's a way beside the old entrance in the front. This entrance changes position as the fence is often moved during reconstruction. The temple itself is still open.

Directions to Jana Bahal

From Ason Chowk head directly south towards Indra Chowk. Halfway between the two popular chowks is a small junction. Jana Bahal is to the right.

Map to Jana Bahal / Seto Machchhendranath


Heritage walk guide:

» Kathmandu Heritage Walks
  - Thamel Heritage Walk
  - Thahiti Chowk
  - Ason Chowk
  - Jana Bahal / Seto Machchhendranath (this page)
Indra Chowk
  - Kathmandu Durbar Square


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