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City of Bhaktapur

City of Bhaktapur
Nepal Travel Destination

The city of Bhaktapur meaning the city of devotees was founded in the 12th century, is located about 12 kilometers away from the Kathmandu city, and this distance is noticeable. The streets seem to be a little quieter and when you venture into the courtyards of the palaces you feel like you are right back in the times when the Kings ruled and people would all gather in these common areas. Bhaktapur can be described as a museum of medieval architecture with stupendous pagoda temples dedicated to many gods and goddesses and fine art of sculptures and the very noticeable woodcarvings. Pottery and weaving are some of the major industries produced in the area, you can find many of these craftsmen in their daily work routines making new pots. If you are friendly, they might even let you take a picture of this creation of art in action.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a harmonious medley of shikhara and pagoda styled temples, artwork, and ancient architectural jewels. Golden images of past kings, gods and goddesses observing their visitors and the endless examples of detailed gateways, windows, woodcarvings (and more) create an even more impact-full memory of the history and culture of Nepal.

The Golden Gate
The entrance to the Palace of Fifty Five Windows is just as desirable of a destination as the actual palace itself. The Golden Gate is said to be the most beautiful and richly formed specimen of artwork of its kind found in the whole world. Besides the heavenly nymphs attending the entrance, the doorway has a figure of the Goddess Kali and the mythical man-bird, Garuda. There are other ornate mythical creatures adding to its mystery and beauty of this jewel.

The Palace of Fifty Five Windows
This glorious palace was originally built in the 15th century by King Yakshya Malla and was later remodeled in the 17th century by King Bhupatindra Malla. With the two additions to the palace its balcony with fifty five windows is considered one of the most unique woodcarving masterpieces found in Nepal.

Nyatapola Temple
This grand five story pagoda style temple has a unique display of power on its steps. There are large steps leading up to the massive temple with two figures on each step on either side of the path. First there are two famous wrestlers, then two elephants, two lions, two griffins, and Baghini and Singhini – the tiger and lion Goddesses. Each figure from bottom to top is considered ten times stronger than the ones below. The two strong men on the lowest steps were of Jaya Malla and Phatta Malla who had the reputations of being ten times stronger than any other man.

Batssala Temple
The Batsala Devi is a stone temple with detail oriented wooden carvings. It is most known for its bronze bell that has been here since the 18th century when it used to sound the nightly curfew. Nowadays it is still utilized but instead of a nightly warning it is happily rung in the morning for worship of the Goddess Taleju (the goddess inhabiting the Living Goddess Kumari).

Dattatraya Temple
Built at the same time as the Palace of Fifty Five Windows the temple of Dattatraya is rumored to have been built out of the trunk of a singe tree. It was originally built in 1427 and was later renovated and repaired in 1458. One of the most lovely icons at the nearby monastery is the peacock window made of carved wood. The monastery is full of latticed windows and engraved columns.

Pashupatinath Temple
Here in Bhaktapur there is a small replica of the Pashupatinath Temple that straddles the Bagmati River. This one, however is not known as one of “the most famous” or sacred places for Hindus, but is more known for its erotic carvings. (For more information on Pashupatinath Temple see our Kathmandu Valley page.)

Picture Gallery
The Picture Gallery is a safe place for the ancient paintings of Hindu and Buddhist traditions from many different periods most with a description.

Please visit our Kathmandu Valley page for more information about the history of Bhaktapur and its Durbar Square.

To view pre-designed Nepal travel packages, see our programs page or the encyclopedia for more Nepal Travel items.