Garuda in Kathmandu Durbar Square

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Asking around, I was told that the Durbar Square statue depicted on one knee, wearing a cape and with hands together in a prayer gesture, known as the namaskara or anjali mudra, was Garuda.

Admittedly, I was a little confused because Garuda is described as a humanoid bird figure or bird-like creature. But I’m hardly the one to question any artistic license the sculptor might have taken.

Looking more closely at the statue in front of Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple, which dates to 1680, I realize that maybe it wasn’t a cape on Garuda’s back but stylized wings.

Everything isn’t exactly as it appears, I guess — especially to my untrained Western eyes.

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