Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is another great beautiful city within Kathmandu valley, after Kathmandu and Patan / Lalitpur cities. Located east of Kathmandu city suburb at a distance of 15 km or 9 miles, less than an hour’s drive.
Bhaktapur is one the most magnificent city after its adjoining cities of Kathmandu and Patan. At one time, it was the capital of Kathmandu valley during the Malla kingdom of the 12th Century till the 15th Century. Bhaktapur’s greatest monuments were built during the time of the Malla kingdom period, where visitors can enjoy its old-time glories of religious, cultural, and historical heritage.
The city’s old name Bhadgaon later changed to Bhaktapur, which means city of devotees. But for the local Newar native, the indigenous tribe of Kathmandu valley, calls Khwopa. A marvelous place to visit and explore the fine ancient arts of religious values and fabulous cultural traditions. Its architectural masterpieces and ancient sculptures, where one feels the city as an open live museum.
It is famous as the city of gods, with every alley and street lined with shrines and idols of Hindu gods and goddesses.
Entering Bhaktapur Durbar Square takes you back into a medieval period era of bygone times. UNESCO has listed it as one of the most beautiful World Heritage Sites, which you can experience on a tour of Bhaktapur.
Besides its amazing and beautiful Royal Courtyard and masterpiece monuments, Bhaktapur is famous for the special quality of yogurt or curd. It is called ‘Juju Dhau,’ also known as ‘King of Curds,’ processed from fresh buffalo milk, which is served in a small clay pot, one of the favorites among Nepalese, as well for visitors.
Other products are handicrafts from clays and loom as well as wooden and metal carvings that can be bought from nearby shops. Bhaktapur, although developing into a metropolitan city like its neighboring Kathmandu and Patan cities, retains its old-time glories where visitors can walk around nooks and corners and alleys lined with old brick-paved roads.
The heritage and culture are vivid, which is one of the must-visit cities while visiting Nepal.
Places to visit in Bhaktapur:
The Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
One of the best world heritage sites of Nepal, it reflects the city’s rich culture, art, and architectural design. It is also the central setting of the city for architectural monuments and arts with pagoda-roofed buildings. One of the original architecture that Nepal has provided to the world flourished around South East Asia and China.
The main entrance is the golden gate to the main courtyard of the old building of 55 windows palace. The Golden Gate is regarded as the world’s most beautiful and richly carved specimen of its kind.
Bhaktapur Nytapola Temple:
Just a few minutes from the Golden Gate and 55 windows palace stands the Nytapola Temple, which is 30 meters tall. The tallest temple around the Kathmandu valley was built by King Bhupindra Malla in 1708 AD.
A magnificent monument of a temple, each of its five terraces holds a pair of stone figures. Starting from the bottom are wrestlers, elephants, lions, griffins, and goddesses on both sides of the steps to the temple’s main shrine.
An exciting place to experience the local activities and devotees moving from one place to another.
The Bhaktapur National Art Gallery:
Located within the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Observe the rare paintings and ancient manuscripts with painted covers and illustrations, the finest treasures of Bhaktapur and Nepal. Inside the art gallery, which is a small museum, contains brass, bronze, stone, and wooden images. The gallery is explored by tourists for the medieval art tradition of Nepal, closed on Thursdays and public holidays.
Bhairavnath Temple of Bhaktapur:
Built as a one-story pagoda during the reign of King Jagat Jyoti Malla.
Later on, changed into a three-story temple in 1718 A.D. by King Bhupindra Malla.
This temple now stands for its artistic grandeur. The Bhairavnath temple is dedicated to Lord Bhairab, the god of Terror.
Dattatreya Temple, built in 1427 AD, the temple is said to have been built from the wood of a single tree. A Monastery having exquisitely carved peacock windows is located near the temple square.
Pottery square and market:
Around Bhaktapur, two main pottery areas exist. The first pottery square is at Suryamadhi, east of the Dattarya Temple Square.
The oldest pottery place, another pottery place, leads south from the Nytapola square at Talako’s Potter’s Square. Visitors can observe the craftsman on wheels shaping the clay in a finely tuned system of human pottery rotation. The craft from the past centuries of old traditional heritage and tradition continues in Bhaktapur.
Extension tour beyond Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
After a wonderful time sightseeing tour of Bhaktapur city and Durbar Square, from the main heritage sites, the next exciting tour leads with a short drive to the old town of Changu-Narayan and its ancient Temple.
Old Changu-Narayan Temple:
The oldest and ancient temple of Nepal, the Changu Narayan, is located on a high hilltop, also called Changu or Dolagiri. The temple area is surrounded by a forest of champak trees and a small Changu village which is north of Bhaktapur.
Changu Narayan Temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Vishnu; this temple is considered the oldest one in Nepal. The pagoda-style temple has several masterpieces of the 5th to 12th century of the excellent Nepalese art.
According to legends, Changu Narayan temple existed as early as 325 A.D. in the time of King Lichavi King Hari Datta Verma, and it is one of Nepal’s richest structures historically as well as artistically. On the grounds, there is a stone pillar inscription of great importance recording the military exploits of King Man Deva, who reigned from 496 A.D. to 524 A.D. The first epigraphic evidence of Nepalese history was found in the temple premises during the reign of the Lichavi King Manadeva, dating back to 464 A.D.
Proving that the temple was already established as a sacred site in the 3rd century A.D. It is the earliest inscription known in Nepal.
Enjoy a fabulous time around Bhaktapur within the city area as well as on the outskirt, then end the day with a drive back to Kathmandu.
After a most fascinating and memorable visit to Bhaktapur City and Durbar Square.