An ogre named Madan undertook austerities and won the boon of vak siddhi, according to which anything he said came to be true. He abused this boon by harassing innocent people. Enraged by this mischief, the gods worshipped Bagalamukhi. She stopped the demon's rampage by taking hold of his tongue and stilling his speech. Before she could kill him however, he asked to be worshipped with her, and she relented, That is why he is depicted with her. She is almost always portrayed in this act - holding a weapon in one hand, with which she is about to strike her enemy, and with the other pulling his tongue. In this myth, by stopping the demon's tongue, she exercised her peculiar power over speech and manifested her ability to freeze, stun, or paralyze.
Significantly, this artwork comes was sculpted near the Bagalamukhi temple at Patan (Kathmandu). The goddess is shown dynamically poised, brandishing a sharp axe in her upraised right hand and using pliers to pull out the demon's tongue. The latter detail is a gruesome flight of imagination on the part of the artist since in most cases it is with her bare hands that the devi wrenches out the troublesome tongue. The fact that she uses an instrument here to fulfil the task makes it all the more painful for the villain. In the turmoil, his crown falls off and can be seen just below his head. The goddess restrains him by thrusting her left leg on his chest, even while he struggles for dear life. In his right hand he holds a curving sword and his shield has fallen from the left.
The two lions guarding the arch are typically Nepalese. A seven hooded cobra topped by a parasol keeps watch over the proceedings.