Page:Picturesque Nepal.djvu/140

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80
THE CITIES OF THE VALLEY

almost blocking up the passage, is a shrine to Ganesh, with the attributes of this popular divinity in the shape of two colossal bronze rats crouching on pedestals in front. Many of these religious edifices are entered from mean and dirty thoroughfares, through gloomy portals leading into great courtyards, which are museums of artistic and religious symbolism in every conceivable material. Massive metal "overdoors" are clamped above the entrance of every shrine, with the divinity to whom the building is dedicated spiritedly embossed in the centre. Above this figure, and protecting it with outstretched wings, is usually a fearsome garuda, part bird, part human, part beast, while projecting from each side is a makara, that mythical monster—seen in all Oriental art from Java to Kashmir—fulminating great gouts of foliage from his nostrils, which disseminates itself into a rippling background to the whole design. Metal lions, garudas, peacocks, elephants, and fishes occupy commanding positions on carved stone pillars, and huge bronze lotus thrones (dharm-dhātu-mandal) act as pedestals to those weighty