The centre of the mandala is Vishnu as the para or the Supreme deity, painted white as described in the Panchratra Samhita. He is accompanied by his mount Garuda and consort Sridevi.
The mandala illustrates different aspects of Vishnu incorporated in the pantheon. The Panchratra concept of four vyuhas of Vishnu namely Vasudeva, Samkarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are depicted in the next circle. The ensuing circle shows eight figures holding a lotus who can be interpreted either as ashtanagas or eight vasus. The last or outermost circle depicts fourteen incarnations of Vishnu while the four corners are occupied by Vishnu, Ganapati, Mahakala and Devi. In the outer side of the square are rendered Navgrahas, Ashtadikpalas, Brahma, Bhairava, Indra, Kubera, Mahakala, Dvarapalas and other minor divinities.
The lower row at the top of the mandala illustrates multi-armed Vishnu flanked by twelve emanations or sub-vyuhas, while the upper row is occupied by the Dashavataras of Vishnu.
The inscriptions in the Newari script on the pata says that this Vishnu pata was meant to commemorate the event of Anantavrata by the king of Bhatgaon Sumatijayajitamitramalla. At the base of the painting, in the left corner, the king is seen performing the vrata in the presence of his priest and the family members, identified by the names written above their heads. The lower right corner of the pata shows some dignitaries of his court.
The king is known by the name Jitamitra Malla, who reigned for twenty one years. An ardent devotee of Vishnu, he is known to have built many monuments including a Dharamshala with the temples of Narayana in 1682 CE. Jagatprakash Malla, the father of Jayajitamitramalla, erected a Garuda pillar at Narayana Chowk.
The inscription at the spot says “Shri Jaya Jagatprakasha Malla Raja, the master of many arts and sciences, composed hymns in honour of Garuda-dhwaja for the benefit of the people…” This fact explains the unusual importance given to Garuda in this pata by depicting him six-armed. In the middle there is a dancing figure of Mahakala holding a flywhisk in both hands, flanked by musicians.
Anantavrata is a rite performed to propitiate Vishnu and is observed for fourteen years after which udyapana (literally dismantling the installation of the deity) is done. It is observed on the Ananta-Chaturdasi day, that is on the 14th day of the brighter half of Bhadrapada (August-September). According to a popular legend, Krishna suggested to the Pandavas to observe the wish-fulfilling Anantavrata during their period of exile to regain their power. The vrata gained popularity in Nepal during the last few centuries and such patas or paintings were consecrated at the time of udyapana of the vrata.


Himalayan Art

Object Type



painting on cloth






Dated N.S. 806 =1686 CE




73 x 116 cms.