Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
Sightseeing in Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur, locally known as Khwopa is world-renowned for its elegant art, fabulous culture and indigenous life-style. It is known for its majestic monuments, colorful festivals and the native Newars best known for their generations-old craftsmanship. The ancient city is also popularly known as the “city of culture”, “the living heritage” and “Nepal’s cultural capital”
Bhaktapur is located at 14 km east of Kathmandu and is the third largest city in the Kathmandu valley. The city was once the capital of Nepal during the great Malla Kingdom from the 12th to the 15th century. Bhaktapur is a home to Traditional art and architecture, pottery and weaving industries, rich local customs and culture, and the every-day life of Bhaktapur people. All that and more will have you visit this untouched ancient city more than once! Nepal's Malla dynasty's achievements in arts and crafts are reflected throughout the Bhaktapur city.
Places to see in Bhaktapur:
Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
Bhaktapur durbar square is one of the seven UNESCO world heritage sites located in the Kathmandu valley.the spectacular square, the capital of the Malla Kingdom till 1769, is an open museum in itself. Victorian illustrations show that it was once packed with monasteries, temples and artistic buildings, almost one third of which were destroyed by the disastrous earthquake of 1934. The square however still holds mesmerizing palaces, pagodas, shikhara-style temples as well as Buddhist monasteries exclusively architecture.
It is a conglomeration of pagoda and Shikhar style temples grouped around a fifty-five-window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the Valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal . The golden effigies of kings perched on the top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in every place-stratum, lintels, uprights, tympanums, gateways and windows, all seem to form a well orchestrated symphony. The square contains many temples and other architectural ones like the Lion Gate, the Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, the picture Gallery, the golden Gate, the palace 55 windows, the Batsala temple and the Bell of Barking dogs, etc. The statue of the king Bhupatindra Malla in the act of worship is placed on a column facing the palace. Of the many statues available in Nepal this is considered to be the most magnificent and glorious .
The Palace of 55 Windows:
It was built in the seventeenth century by King Bhupatindra Malla. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony of 55 windows. This balcony is a masterpiece of wood carving.
The Stone Temple of Batsala Devi: which is also located in the Durbar square is full of intricate carvings. This temple also sets a beautiful example of Shikhara style of architecture in Nepal . There is a bronze bell on the terrace of the temple which is also known as the "bell of barking dogs". This colossal bell, placed in 1737 A.D. was used to sound curfew during that time.
The Golden Gate :
It is the entrance to the main countyard of the Palace of 55 windows. Built King Ranjit Malla, the Gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters of marvellous intricacy.
Taumadhi square: Taumadhi Square , just a half minute walk from the Durbar square is the square that divides the ancient town into the upper and lowers halves. The biggest festival of the town – Bisket Jatra, scheduled every year in April – starts from this very square. The square is dominated by many mesmerizing temples and other medieval architecture such as:
The Nyatapola temple most dominantly lying in the south face of the square, named after its physical structure (five tiers of roof), is the tallest temple in the valley and certainly on of Nepal 's most stupendous monuments. The timple founded by king Bhupatindra Malla in 1702 A.D. is dedicated to Goddess Siddhi Laxmi – the most powerful female force.
On each of the terraces squat a pair of figures; two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins and Baghini and Singini the tiger and the lion goddesses. This is one of the tallest pagodas and is famous for its massive structureand subtle workmanship
The huge pagoda style temple erected at the eastside of the square is dedicated to Bhairav – the ferocious form of lord Shiva, built by Jagat Jyoti Malla in 1614 AD. This temple was first built as a one-storey pagoda but later changed into a three-storey temple in 1718 A.D. by King Bhupatindra Malla. Bhairav – the central image of the temple is a head without body. According to the legend, Vishvanath in other words a name given to Shiva in the holy city Kashi once visited Bhaktapur to observe the Bisket Jatra.
Teel Mahadev Narayan Temple:
South from Nyatapola, across the Taumadhi square an alley beneath a house leads to the lord Vishnu's ancient shrine of Teel Mahadev Narayan. Although the place was in use since 1080 A.D. the icons were believed to place inside the temple only in 1170 A.D. A disc, lotus, conch shell and a mace – four emblems of lord Vishnu are placed on pillars to the sides of the entrance.
Like the other Squares, Dattatraya Square is another open museum that contains innumerable monumental masterpieces of woodcarvings. The square originally known as “Tachupal” verbally meaning the ‘grand rest house' – alone consists seven ‘math's, among a dozen existing in Bhaktapur. The major attractions of the Square are as follows:
Built in 1427 A.D. by king Yakshya Malla and his son Raja Malla is the only temple in Nepal that is dedicated to the God Dattatraya – the combined incarnation of the three supreme Gods of Hinduism; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock windows.
Pujari Math ( Wood Carving Museum ):
It is the best and the most richly architectured among all the maths. It was built by King Yakshya Malla in the 15th century and was used for the storage of donations and contributions until late 20th century. Until a few years back an annual caravan of Tibetan Lamas used to bring tributes to the monastery. It has a splendid collection of antique carvings. A set of 14 roof struts, image of Visundhara (1 st century), tantric images of Vishnu Vishwarupa with 30 arms and 17 faces and a mouth in its Bhairav (17th century), Pujadevi (15 th century) etc. are a few to mention here.
To the west to the Dattatraya temple, across the square stands a double storied rectangular pagoda styled temple dedicated to Lord Bhimsen built in 1605 A.D. Lord Bhimsen is considered to be as strong as thousand elephant.
Bhaktapur has two famous pottery squares, one is located at Talaco towards the Durbar Square and another one located at Suryamadhi, to the east of the Dattatraya square. Many potters can be seen working on their traditional wheels and thousands of finished and seni-finished clay products lie about in beautiful rows under the sun.
Museums in Bhaktapur:
The major specialized museums in Bhaktapur are as follows:
The National Art Gallery :
This gallery located at Durbar Square , has a magnificent collection of ancient thanka paintings and various classic and medieval masterpieces belonging to Hindu and Buddhist schools depicting Tantrism of various periods and descriptions in wood, stone and metal.
The Wood Carving Museum :
The Wood Carving museum is housed in a 19 th century building, known as the Pujari Math specially built for the priests of those periods. The ‘Math' itself is elegant in its architecture with enumerable intricately carved wooden doors and windows including the famous Peacock window.
The Bronze & Brass Museum :
Right opposite to the Wood Carving Museum , in specify name ‘Math' the Bronze & Brass Museum displays heterogeneous ceremonial and household metal ware. The collection of objects such as jars, water vessels, cooking pots, oil pots etc which are used in the ancient and medieval periods.
Situated in a beautiful surrounding of Bhadgaon, the temple of Ganesh is placed in a Sylvan setting to catch the first rays of the rising sun. It is a good picnic spot flanked by many attractive landscapes.
Narayan, or Vishnu, is the preserver of creation to Hindus. His temple near Changu village is often described as the most ancient temple in the Kathmandu Valley . A fifth century stone inscription, the oldest discovered in Nepal , is located in the temple compound and it tells of the victorious King Mandev. The temple now covers sixteen hundred years of Nepalese art history. The temple, built around the third century, is decorated by some of the best samples of stone, wood, and metal craft in the Valley. Vishnu as Narsingha disemboweling a demon is particularly stunning. The western bronze doors sparkle in the evening sunlight, dragons decorate the bells, and handsome devas stare from the walls. Garuda, half man and half bird, is the steed of Vishnu, and his life-sized statue kneels before the temple. The favorite of many tourists is the statue of Vishnu sitting astride his steed.