Page:Picturesque Nepal.djvu/230

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142
THE ARTS OF THE NEWARS

its gilded cone, set off by the dark garniture of woods, constitute a very beauteous composition. Ascending the stone stairway, which by its perpendicularity loses itself among the overhanging tree-tops, one emerges breathless on to the plateau at the top, where the first striking object which confronts one is a colossal metal thunderbolt of Indra, resting on a stone pedestal (dharm-dhātu-mandal), with representations of twelve animals in bold relief carved around it. These are said to depict the twelve months of the Tibetan year. Beyond this feature, amidst a forest of smaller structures, stands the body of the main temple—a solid dome of earth and brick about 60 feet in diameter and 30 feet in height. This supports a lofty conical spire, the top of which is crowned by a richly decorated pinnacle of copper-gilt. The square toran or basement of this spire is covered with plates of metal, and, like Bodhnāth, has the two eyes of Buddha, painted in crimson, white, and black colours, on each of its four sides. Springing from the tops of the four sides of the toran are four large pentagonal slabs or escut-