Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Cultural Capital of "Nepal"

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life.

On the left just before the entrance way to the square is a hiti (water tank). A few steps before that, but on the other side of the road, just 100m before the entrance way, is a tiny double roofed Shiva-Parvati temple with some erotic carvings on its struts

Nyaynyapa Jhya (55 windows Palace)

The Golden Gate is the entrance to 55 windows Palace, which stands right next to it. As the name suggests, the palace was constructed with 55 carved windows. The carved windows of the 2nd floor are considered to be the finest example of wood carving produced during the reign of the prodigious king. Above each window are wooden tympanus depicting gods and goddesses. This palace, which was recently renovated by the Bhaktapur Municipality and Department of Archaeology, is one of the main parts of the palace complex. Although there was a palace on this site as long as 1427 A.D., it was remodeled by King Jitamitra Malla and his son Bhupatindra Malla in the late 17th century. The palace once sprawled far beyond here, but the 1934 earthquake has left only an enormous empty plaza to the east, littered with the bases of Giant temples. The series of intricately carved windows on the second floor is the specialties of the structure. The whole of these windows have been pulled by more than two feet present level during reconstruction after the earthquake of 1934 A.D.

King Bhupatindra Malla’s Column

A gilded statue of King Bhupatindra Malla on a pillar with his hands folded in Prayer posture, legs folded and a serpent supporting the capital is in front of the Golden Gate. A small bird sits on top of the serpent’s head. King Bhupatindra Malla is the most famous of the Malla kings of Bhaktapur and had a great influence on the art and architecture of the town. Like the similar column in Patan Durbar Square, this one was a copy of the original in Kathmandu.

Lu Dhwaka (Golden Gate)

Bhaktapur Durbar SquareThe Golden Gate is in front of the column of King Bhupatindra Malla in the magnificent gate, locally known as Lu Dhwak. It is the entrance to the 55 window palace. The Golden Gate is generally agreed to be the single most important piece of art in the whole valley. This magnificent gilt gateway and palace was built by King Jaya Ranjit Malla in 1754 A.D. The remarkable craftsmanship is considered by many to be the finest example of metal work in Nepal.

The tympanum features the image of four-headed goddess Taleju Bhawani having ten arms and two attendants at her side named Ganga and Jamuna. Taleju Bhawani is the family deity of the Malla dynasty and there are temples dedicated to her in the Royal palaces in the valley. A Garuda (half man and half eagle), the vehicle of lord Vishnu, is shown above the gate, disposing of a number of serpents, dragons and reptiles.

The Golden Gate leads into the Sadashiva Bhairab Chowk of the Bhaktapur Palace. This is the only courtyard easily accessible for visitors. Passing through the Golden Gate, the next gate is home to huge drums covered with elephant skin. The Sadashiva Bhairab Chowk leads to the Nag Phuku (Nag Pokhari) and to the Mul Chowk and Taleju, the two guardian figures by the doorways. A few paces away from the pond is the entrance to the Mul Chowk courtyard, which houses the Taleju Temple and which is only accessible to Hindus. The Mul Chowk was established in the 14th century and is the oldest part of the palace.

Tagogan (Big Bell)

Huge Taleju bells are found in all three Durbar Squares of Kathmandu Valley. They had multiple uses in ancient times when they functioned as alarm bells during times of distress, as a means to notify the population of important events or discussions and to pay homage to the fearsome goddess Taleju. This large bell was erected by King Jaya Ranjit Malla in 1737 A.D. to call the faithful to prayer at the Taleju Temple.

Vatsala Devi Temple

Directly in front of the palace and beside the king’s statue and next to the Taleju Bell is the stone built Vatsala Devi Temple. This Shikhara style temple is completely constructed in sandstone and is built upon a three stage plinth, and has similarities to theKrishna temple of Patan. It is dedicated to Vatsala Devi, a form of the goddess Durga. The temple was originally built by King Jitamitra Malla in 1696 A.D. The structure that can be seen today, however, is reconstructed by King Bhupatindra Malla and dates back to the late 17th or early 18th century. Behind the temple is a water source called Dhunge Dhara and next to it stands the Chayslin Mandap.

Chayslin Dega

Beside the Tago Gan (Big Bell) and in front of the 55 windows palace is the Chayslin Dega. This octagonal temple was originally a viewing point for noble writers, observing festivals and rituals. It was built during the 17th century by King Jitamitra Malla and was used as a rest house by the travelers and pilgrims. It has an open hall at the lower level. The Chayslin Dega was totally destroyed by the 1934 earthquake, but recently reconstructed with assistance from Germany.

Chayslin Dega

On the left just before the entrance way to the square is a hiti (water tank). A few steps before that, but on the other side of the road, just 100m before the entrance way, is a tiny double roofed Shiva-Parvati temple with some erotic carvings on its struts. One of these shows a pair of corpulating elephants, in the missionary position. It’s Kisi (elephant) Kamasutra.

Ugrachandi and Ugrabhairab

Near the main gate at the west end, one can admire a pair of multiple-armed statues of the terrible god Ugrabhairab and his counterpart Ugrachandi, the fearsome manifestation of Shiva’s consort Parvati . The statue dates back to 1701 A.D. and it is said that the unfortunate sculptor had his hands cut off afterwards, to prevent him from duplicating his masterpieces. Ugrachandi has eighteen arms holding various weapons and she is in the position of casually killing a (buffalo) demon. Bhairab has twelve arms and both god and goddess are garlanded with necklaces of human heads.

Char Dham

Rameshwor Temple

The first temple one notices on the right as he enters the gate is Rameshwor temple, in front of Gopi Nath Temple which is a Gum Baja style. It is an open shrine with four pillars and it is dedicated to Shiva. The name Rameshwor comes from that it was Ram as an incarnation of Vishnu who had the original temple of Mahadev built at Rameshwar Temple in South India.

Badrinath Temple

A small temple west of the Gopi Nath Temple locally known as Badri Narayan which is dedicated to Vishnu and Narayan.

Gopi Nath Temple

Two roofed pagoda style is the Gopi Nath Temple, attached to Rameshwar Temple that houses the three deities Balaram, Subhadra and Krishna. It is difficult to see the deities as the door remains mostly closed. The temple is also known as Jagannath, which is another from taken by Vishnu. Dwarika also known as the Krishna Temple, houses three deities, left to right, respectively:Satyabhama, Krishna and Radha. Their images are carved in stone. In the month of Mangsir (November/December), the deities are placed in a palanquin and taken around the city.

Kedarnath Temple

The terracotta made Shikara style temple is the Kedarnath (Shiva) Temple.

Hanuman Statue

The entrance to the National Art Gallery is flanked by figure of Hanuman, the monkey god, who appears in Tantric form as the four armed Hanuman Bhairab. Hanuman is worshipped for strength and the devotion.

Narsingha Statue

Narsingha, the lion headed god, incarnation of lord Vishnu, posing killing Hiranyakashyapu, who was a power booned person.Shiva had graced him through a boon for almost immortal live. Accordingly, he would have none of his breathing last neither on earth, nor in the sky, nor in the air. Strategically Vishnu made him breathe last placing him in the former’s lap. This statue dates back to 1698 A.D.

National Art Gallery (Malati Chowk)

The Malati Chowk was built by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1707 A.D. This is the western end of the palace and has been converted into the National Art Gallery, which now contains numerous paintings, manuscripts and stone sculptures. The entrance to the Gallery is flanked by figures of Hanuman, the monkey god, and Vishnu as Narsingha. This national Art Gallery was established by the Government of Nepal, Department of Archaeology in 1960 A.D. at Singha Dhoka building complex of Bhaktapur Royal Palace.
The Gallery has magnificent collection of ancient Paubha painting and various classic and medieval masterpieces in wood, stone and metal. Being actually housed in the ancient palaces one can also get the chance to marvel the original masterpiece of wall paintings on the walls of the Malla palace. It is housed in a renovated old wing and displays over 200 exquisite paintings from the 13th century on including palm leaf manuscripts, Thangkas and restored frescoes decorating the wall of King Bhupatindra Malla’s private quarter. The gallery is a place not to be missed while in Bhaktapur.

Khicha Kho Gan

This smaller bell stands in the Vatsala Devi Temple’s lower plinth and is popularly known as the Khicha Kho Gan which means dog barking bell. It was erected by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1721 A.D. supposedly to counteract a vision he had in a dream, and to this day dogs are said to bark and start howling when the bell rings. Unfortunately it is broken.

Yaksheswor Mahadev

On the left of the Vatsala Devi temple is the Yaksheswor Mahadev Temple which was built by King Yaksha Malla in the 15thcentury and is a replica of the Pashupatinath of Kathmandu with erotic carvings in the roof struts.
This is one of the most eye-catching on the Durbar Square. It is also the oldest surviving temple in the square. Legend has it thatShiva in his from as Pashupatinath, protector of animals, appeared in Pashupatinath. The lay-out and style of the temple in Bhaktapur resembles the original. The central shrine also houses a large Chaturmukhi Lingam resembling the one located atPashupatinath. The roof struts are carved with exotic scenes.

Siddhi Laxmi Temple

This temple can easily be distinguished by the use of stone and their Indian style. The style is called Shikhara in reference to its tapering shape. Although the style developed in India during the late 6th century, it only appeared in Nepal during the lateLicchavi period, 9th century. It is located at the the south eastern corner of the 55 windows palace and is also known as Lohan Dega. The steps up to the temple are flanked by male and female attendants each leading a rather reluctant child and a rather eager-looking dog. On successive levels the stairs are flanked by horses, rhinos, man-lions and camels. This 17th century temple marks the dividing line between the main Durbar Square and its secondary square.

Vatsala Temples

Behind the Siddhi Laxmi Temple is another one storied Vatsala Temple, which is always closed, while to one side of it are two rather lost looking large stone lions, standing themselves out in the middle of the square.

Fasi Dega (Tahacho Dega)

The bizarre-looking Fasi Dega is another odd remnant of the post-earthquake initiatives. The large, white Fasi Dega Temple is dedicated to Shiva and it is one of the tallest temples in the second part of Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The temple sits on six stage plinth with elephant guardians at the bottom steps, lions and bulls above them. The bull is Shiva’s vehicle. Today, the whitewashed dome structure is nothing more than a house for the deity, but it is clearly out of scale compared to the preserved temple base. Changu Narayam temple is direct north to this temple.

Tadhunchen Bahal

A rare Buddhist remnant in predominantly Hindu Bhaktapur, the well-preserved Tadhunchen Bahal, east of the square, is gathering place for neighborhood metal smiths in the evening; one might also hear religious music performed on harmonium and table. It is also known as Chatur Varna Mahavihara, an ancient looking monastery. Near the Tadhunchen Bahal, there is a small temple of Dattatraya.

Leave a Reply