Why do people worship Kaal Vairab (Bhairab)? An introduction.

Kaal Vairab, the Lord of Destruction, is the fierce manifestation of Shiva associated with annihilation.



He is one of the most important deities of Nepal, sacred to Hindus and Buddhists a like. He is often depicted with frowning, angry eyes and sharp, tiger’s teeth and flaming hair, garlands of skulls and a coiled snake about his neck.

Among six arms, one of his hands holds a skull cup that worshipers often toss coins into. His other four hands carry a noose, trident, drum, and skull. Vairab has a dog (Shvan) as his divine vahana(vehicle).

In sankrit, ‘Vairab’ implies ‘Terrible’ or ‘Frightful’ and ‘Kaal’ refers to time. So Kaal Vairab is the Vairab who supervises the march of time.


Vairab himself has eight manifestations:** Kaal Vairab, Asitanga Vairab, Samhara Vairab, Ruru Vairab, Krodha Vairab, Kapala Vairab, Rudra Bhirava and Unmatta Vairab**. Kaal Vairab, who is believed to oversee the march of time, is conceptualized** as the Guru of the planetary deity Saturn**. Kaal Vairab is also known as Kshetrapalaka, the guardian of the temple.

The Kaal Vairab temple in Hanuman Dhoka (Basantapur Durbar Square) has a 12-foot (3.7 m) high stone image of Kaal Vairab sculpted in the 17th century the statue was supposedly used as a lie detector.


People suspected of committing a crime would be brought before the statue, made to touch its feet, and then forced to say whether or not they committed the crime. It was believed that if they lied, they would immediately bleed to death. The mere threat of being brought before Kaal Vairab was often enough to elicit a confession. So, this temple served as the supreme court of Nepal for a long time.

Lord Vairab’s worshipped for victory over your enemies, success and all materialistic comforts.
According to the Myth, the origin of Vairab can be traced to the conversation between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu recounted in “Shiv Maha-Puran” where Lord Vishnu asks Lord Brahma who is the supreme creator of the Universe.

Arrogantly, Brahma tells Vishnu to worship him because he (Brahma) is the supreme creator. This angered Shiva who in reality is the creator of all. Shiva incarnated in the form of Vairab to punish Brahma. Vairab beheaded one of Brahma’s five heads and since then Brahma has only four heads. When depicted as Kaal Vairab, Vairab is shown carrying the decapitated head of Brahma. Cutting off Brahma’s fifth head made him guilty of the crime of killing a Brahmin and as a result, he was forced to carry around the head for years and roam as Bhikshtana, a mendicant, until he had been absolved of the sin.

In another version, when Brahma sees the cosmic confusion while creation of universe and ponders how to settle it. He created Saraswoti from his imagination (‘Manasaputri’). She issued as Shatarupa. She presented him with the wealth of knowledge and wisdom. But Brahma was infatuated with her beauty and pursued her. He sprouted a fifth head to gaze at her continuously. The horrified goddess took multiple forms to escape his eye, but Brahma continued to take a complementary form and chase her. This unlawful lust caused an imbalance in the universe and Lord Shiva took the form of Vairab to put an end to such incest. He confronted Brahma and cut off his fifth head which brought him to his senses. He then performed a yagna to purify himself, reciting mantras with his four heads for salvation.

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2014-02-10 13:14 0 Reviews Share

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Few years back I took pictures of Kaal Bhairab in details. Please observe in details.
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Robindangol Robindangol Ethnomusicologist from Nepal

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