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Dullu, the sacred capital of the Khas Malla emperors, western Nepal

The Sirasthan priest, an ascetic of the Nath sect, showing the “flame of the head,” Dullu, 2003

Photo M. Lecomte-Tilouine.

March 25th 2010, conference by Mrs Marie Lecomte Tilouine, chargée de recherche at CNRS

The capital of the vast Malla Empire (12-14th century), which later became that of the small kingdom of Dullu (15th century-1960), is located at the center of a religious space remarkable for the presence of numerous natural gas flames revered as divine manifestations. There is no doubt that setting up the capital in this place was a responde to a desire for legitimacy and the development of a particular form of royalty related to renouncement. We will explore the current configuration of the sacred area and the myths associated with it, as well as the few elements of the history of the Malla empire in our possession, to show that the ritual configuration as seen today was already in existence during the Malla period and to highlight the complex relationships maintained between the palace and the temples, whose roles were interchanged regularly.