KATHMANDU, Nepal — High above Kathmandu Durbar Square, perched on an archway, stood a regal Shiva holding a trishula, the three-pronged spear that figures in Hindu-Buddhist lore.
Draped in marigold garlands and saffron-colored scarves, the gold Shiva statue faced heavenward with eyes closed, a vision of poise and power — in his hand, a trishula, where the Trishuli River gets its name.
The three points have various meanings and significance, and, common to Hindu religion, have many stories behind them. They are commonly said to represent various trinities — creation, maintenance and destruction, past, present and future, the three guna. When looked upon as a weapon of Shiv, the trishul is said to destroy the three worlds: the physical world, the world of the forefathers (representing culture drawn from the past) and the world of the mind (representing the processes of sensing and acting). The three worlds are supposed to be destroyed by Shiv into a single non-dual plane of existence, that is bliss alone.
Meaning, it would seem, is everywhere in the architecture of Kathmandu.