Bhaktapur, situated in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, is an ancient Newar town called Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon or Khwopa. It is located in the Bhaktapur District in the Bagmati Zone. It was once the capital of Nepal during the great Malla Kingdom until the second half of the 15th century; it is also the third largest city in Kathmandu Valley. Bhaktapur is also listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, wood, metal and stone artwork. The term Bhaktapur refers to The Town of Devotees.
It is the home for traditional art and architecture, historical monuments and craft works, magnificent windows, pottery and weaving industries, excellent temples, beautiful ponds, rich local customs, culture, religion, festivals, and musical mystic and so on. Bhaktapur is still untouched my modernization and is well preserved as an ancient city, which in fact, is itself a world to explore for tourist. From time immemorial it lay on the trade route between Tibet/China and India. This position on the main caravan route made the town rich and prosperous. It is a gem for the entire nation, and the most fascinating structure here is the world-renowned 55 window palace. The elaborately carved windows and doors are something that visitors cannot help admiring. The seat of royalty before 1769 AC, the building now houses the National Art Gallery; this museum is best known for its rich collection of paubha scroll paintings and breathtaking artworks in stone.
Another artwork that unfailingly bewitches the visitors in the square is the Big Bell. Big enough to match its name, the bell was erected by Ranajit Malla, Bhaktapur’s last Malla King. It was used in those days for paying homage to Goddess Taleju, the lineage deity of Malla rulers, as well as to call assemblies of the citizens to discuss on given subjects concerning the state. Today, it is rung twice a day as a mark of tribute to the goddess. Right next to it is a smaller Barking Bell, to one’s surprise, all dogs around it start whining the moment it is rang by its caretaker.
The world famous Golden Gate rubs shoulder with the 55 window palace. An unparalleled specimen of art dating back to 1756, it is the entrance to the marvelous Taleju Temple Complex. Getting into it leads to a number of artistically designed courtyards including the Royal Bath, which is adorned with the well-admired Golden Faucet among others.
The Yaksheswor Mahadev Temple equally adds to the Square’s unparallel beauty. Named after its builder king, Yaksha Malla, the two-storied pagoda was constructed after Kathmandu’s world famous Pashupatinath temple. It is noted for its wooden struts full of erotic pilgrimage sites.
The Nyataponla Temple presides over the Taumadhi Square. Dating back to 1702 AD, the colossal five-storied edifice is the country’s tallest pagoda temple. The struts, doors, windows and tympanums – each embellished with attractively carved divine figures – perfectly portrays the creative tradition of Newar craftsmen. The temple is dedicated to goddess Siddhi Laxmi, the manifestation of female force and creativity. The latest major renovation of this monument was carried out in 1997 AD by Bhaktapur Municipality using the revenue it collected from tourists. Next to the Naytaponla Temple is the rectangular shaped Bhairavnath Temple. It houses a glided bust of Bhairav, the ferocious manifestation of Lord Shiva. The three-storied pagoda was razed to the grounds by the 1934 earthquake, and its latest renovation was undertaken by Bhaktapur Municipality in 1995 AD.
The enclosed complex facing the Nyataponla Temple is dedicated to Tilmadhav Narayan, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu, who is one of the Supreme Triumvirate of Hindu pantheons. A few steps ahead it, to the southwest, lays the famous Pottery Square, where visitors can see the city’s well-known potters making variously shaped and sized earthenware. The major monumental highlight of this square is a temple of Jeth Ganesh, which dates back to the 14th century. There are various temples in Taumadi Square like: Nyataponla Temple, Bhairav Temple, Teel Mahadeva Narayan Temple and many more.
This is Bhaktapur’s third dazzling gem. The seat of royalty till the 15th century, the area still houses a great number of historic monuments including many wondrous mansions and temples. The Dattatreya temple is the main attraction of the square. Constructed by King Yaksha Malla, the giant three-storey temple is believed to have been built from a single tree. Having defied series of calamities, it still bears testimony to the incredible achievement made in those regal days of the Nepalese history.
The Wane Layaku complex, which lies to the south-western corner of the Dattatreya temple, is noted for Bhaktapur’s second Taleju shrine. Enclosed with old houses, the courtyard sees throngs of people, especially during the Dashain festival, when a rare Ghau-batacha (water clock) is put on public display. During the Malla era, the water-clock was used by the then rulers and astrologers for fixing “propitious moments” for commencing and concluding various state and social ceremonies. The peacock window, which is also called the Mona Lisa of Nepal, is a rare masterpiece in wood. Dating back to the early 15th century, the unique latticed window has an indicatively carved peacock in its center. The window adorns the Pujari Math which, with rows of exquisitely carved windows and doors, is equally appealing. The building presently houses the Woodcarving Museum. The museum has a rich collection of unique pieces in wood. The Brass & Bronze Museum, housed in the historic Chikanpha Math, is the next highlight of the square. It has a wide collection of bronze and brassware’s including the ritual jars, utensils, water vessels, pots, spittoons and similar other household items. Near the Dattatreya Square is the Wakupati.
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the two-storied structure is a unique specimen of pagoda architecture. Next to it is Bhaktapur’s second Pottery Square. Besides Bhaktapur’s three well acclaimed Square’s, there are many other spots within the expanse where visitors can experience a lot more. The recently-restored Ta-Pukhu, Ancha-Pukhu, Khancha-Pukhu, Barahi Temple, Lokeswor Mahavira, Nava Durga Temple, the Terracotta Windows at Tuchhimala and Nepal’s largest Shiva Lingum at Hanuman Ghat are some of Bhaktapur’s monumental glories which tourists visiting this ancient city would not like to miss.
The Art Gallery contains ancient paintings and medieval belonging to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various periods and descriptions. This gallery is open every day except Tuesday.
This temple was first built as a one-storey pagoda but was later changed into a three storey temple in 1718 AD by King Bhupatindra Malla. The temple is noted for its artistic grandeur. It is dedicated to Lord Bhairav, the god of terror.
This statue showing King Bhupatindra Malla in the act of worship is set on a column facing the palace. Of the square’s many statues, this is considered to be the most magnificent.
It is a big rectangular water pond located near the main city gate of Bhaktapur. It was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla in the early fifteenth century and is associated with a number of myths. From this spot a wide range of snowy peaks is visible on clear days.