Bagh Bhairab temple is one of the most popular temples dedicated to the God Bhairab in the form of a tiger. This god is regarded as the guardian of Kirtipur and the locals call it Ajudeu, a grandfather god. Bhairab, the most terrifying and awful form of Shiva is the destroyer on one hand and the guardian on the other. Ceremonial rituals in relation to the important events of life such as rice-feeding, puberty, marriage and even the construction of houses cannot be done without propitiating this deity in most of the towns and cities of Nepal.
The present three storeyed temple of Bagh Bhairab probably built in 16th century stands in the brick-paved rectangular courtyard with the rest houses around it. There are some small shrines and stone images spread over the courtyard. The main gate is at the southern side. There are two other gates in the eastern and western sides. The two roofs of the temple are of tiles while the third one is covered with gilt-copper. There are wooden pillars carved with Hindu gods and goddesses. They have been erected in between windows of the second storey and the names of the carved deities have been finely cut out below them on the pedestals.
There are eighteen pinnacles-one in the first roof, six in the middle and eleven in the top roof. Beneath the eaves of the first roof there are very old but faded murals depicting the stories of Ramayan. Maha Bharat and the various manifestations of Durga, the mighty mother goddess. These paintings are frescoes in red with white plaster background. At the right side of the main gate of the temple there is Hifa Dyo, the god of blood sacrifice is allowed directly to Bagh Bhairab, all animal offerings to the deity are made here on behalf of this deity just as the animal sacrifices are made to Kumari, a stone idol, placed at the second gate in the left side of Chandeswori at Banepa and to the Chhetrapal which is at the very beginning of the final series of the steps to the temple of Khadga Jogini at Sankhu.
There are two torans over Hifa Dyo. They bear very fine cuttings of Asta-Matriks, Asta-Bhairabs and other gods and goddesses. In the western wall of the temple there is a hollow space regarded by the local people as Nasa Dyo, the god of music and dance. Bagh Bhairab made of clay has been enshrined in the left side corner in the temple. The three glass-eyed tiger-god is tongue-less and tooth-less but covered with silver and copper plates and heavily ornamented. This deity as mentioned in the stone inscriptions has been called Bagheswor (the tiger god), Bhimsen Bhattarak(Bhimsen, the governing deity), Gudei Sthanadhipati (the lord in the form of tiger) and Ajudyo(the ancestral god).
The local peoples hail this deity as the embodiment of prudence, knowledge, productivity and strength to resist all evils. Hence, the auspicious ceremonies such as weddings, hair-cuttings, rice-feedings and other ritual performances in Kirtipur are done only after a puza to this deity.