Rats, Spouses & the 16-Handed Ganesh

Ranipokhari, Kathmandu. Image: Raiyan

If you have a problem with rats in your home or if you have a problem with your spouse, do visit the 16-handed Ganesh Temple in Ranoipokhari. Ranipokhari—one of the most beautiful ornamental ponds in Kathmandu Valley. It, and its immediate vicinity, encompasses about three and a half hectares (62 ropanies).of land. Located in the Ratna Park area, it is rectangular in shape and has a Shiva Temple (Balgopaleshwar Mahadev) at its center. At around the same time that he was having this famous pond built to console his queen on the death of her youngest son, King Pratap Malla (1641-1674) also built a unique temple known as the 16-handed Ganesh Temple nearby. Situated next to the Bhotahity-Ratna Park overhead walkway landing on the park side, it is unique because of a couple of facts (some of which have already been hinted at above).

This temple has its back turned on the main street and faces Ranipokhari instead, which as anybody knows, is curious since almost all other temples face the street. Another curiosity is that the temple has an approximately three feet tall stone statue of Lord Ganesh with 16 hands. One hand rests on his tummy, the other encircles a figure of his second wife Siddhi while seven hands on each side hold various symbols. Most icons of Lord Ganesh that I have seen have four hands. Ganesh figures with 16 hands is not that usual as is evident from this description in Religion Facts (www.religionfacts.com) which states: ‘According to the strict rules of Hindu iconography, Ganesha figures with only two hands are taboo. Hence, Ganesha figures are most commonly seen with four hands which signify their divinity. Some figures may be seen with six, some with eight, some with ten, some with twelve and some with fourteen hands, each hand carrying a symbol which differs from the symbols in other hands.’

Aside from this, the fact that he is holding his second wife Siddhi instead of his first wife Riddhi, calls for some thought and reflection. Now, coming to rats and spouses, it is a local belief that if you have too many rats disturbing you at home or if you are having too many squabbles with your spouse, offer a dozen or so laddus (round sweetmeats that Ganesh has special fondness for) along with a prayer or two at the temple, and you will be soon be rid of your problems. The rats will disappear and disturb you no more. Your spouse will of course not disappear as well (even if you think it would be an excellent idea), but rather, come closer to you with new found love.

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