Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is one of the royal palaces of Nepal enlisted in the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Durbar Square was listed in 1979. Bhaktapur is the ancient city of Nepal popular by the name Khwopa or Bhadgaon.

Highlights on Temples of Bhaktapur:

  • The ancient city of Bhaktapur, also known as “Bhadgaon,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal.
  • Bhaktapur is renowned for its stunning architecture, with centuries-old temples and palaces that are adorned with intricate carvings and paintings.
  • Some of the most famous temples in Bhaktapur include the Nyatapola Temple, the Bhairava Nath Temple, and the Dattatreya Temple.
  • Visitors can also explore the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, a royal palace complex that features a stunning array of temples, shrines, and courtyards.
  • In addition to its cultural and historical significance, Bhaktapur is also a hub of traditional Nepali handicrafts and artisanal products, making it a great place to shop for souvenirs.

The palace lies above 1,400 meters or 4,600 ft above sea level. In addition, the durbar lies in the east of Kathmandu and is 13 km from Kathmandu. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is one of the popular sightseeing destinations. The durbar significantly represents the traditional culture, fine arts, and delicacies of the medieval age. 

History of Bhaktapur Durbar Square

The durbar comprises four main durbars: Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square, and Pottery Square. The construction of Bhaktapur durbar square took place in the era of Malla Kings.

The main Durbar square is the 55-window Palace which was constructed by King Jitamitra Malla. The Durbar is a mixture of pagoda and shikhara-style. The Durbar temple is dedicated to Vatsala Devi.

The square is Taumadhi Square which is dedicated to Siddhi Lakshmi and was built around 1702. Another square such as Dattatreya Square was constructed by King Yaksha Malla in 1428. The pottery square was built by a potter which was later donated to the square. It was built in 1646.

walk around Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Layout & Chowks

As for all the durbars, the main durbar golden gates are followed by the court named Mul Chok meaning the main entrance. Though the court is not open to the public the 55 window palace is open as a national gallery/ museum.

The durbar has two temples which are dedicated to Taleju Bhawani; the royal deity of Malla Kings and the living goddess Kumari.

Restoration & Refurbishing

The major restoration of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square took place only after the earthquake in 1934. During that time 99 courtyards were destroyed and it remained to 6 only.

There was another major challenge in 2015 when the earthquake hit durbar square impacting its roof. This turned out to damage the Vatsala Devi temple. 

Present Condition – Bhaktapur Durbar Square

The Durbar Square is open to the public and is named a national gallery. In addition, you can get a view of the medieval period of Newar culture, including delicacies and the environment.

Some of the squares such as Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square, and Pottery Square have now been converted into temples.

walk around Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Before & After Earthquake 2015

Major Attraction of Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Nge Nyapa Jhya Laaykoo (55 window palace)

The 55-window palace was built by Malla King Bhupendra Malla. The palace was completed within 58 years. 55 window palace reflects the Malla era wood carvings, art, culture, and craft.

As its name describes it has 55 windows in the palace. Also, the royal palace has a golden gate at the entrance. In addition, the palace was not open to the public until it was affected and renovated after the earthquake. Now, admirers can visit one of the iconic royal palaces of Nepal.

Bisket Jatra

Though this is more of a jatras than of a historical monument; the bisket jatra reflects the overall view of Malla culture back then in Bhaktapur. The jatra was initiated by King Jagajyoti Malla.

The 9-day jatra is worth attending as you can get insights into some unique cultures in Nepal. In addition, the jatra represents the Newari new year as per the solar calendar. Generally, people pierce their tongues and ears with a pointed thick needle. 

Along with it, the chariot of God Bhairav and Bhadrakali are made and pulled across the city commencing from the Bhairab temple of Taumadhi Tole in Bhaktapur. 

Vatsala Temple

The temple is dedicated to Durga; established as Sri Yantra and is popularly known as Vatsala Durga or Vatsala Devi. The temple lies between the royal palace and the Pashupatinath temple.

The temple was started by King Jagat Prakash Malla, later followed by other Malla Kings to complete and improve them. Vatsala Devi is made in a Shikhar style architecture followed by intense wood cravings in its nine pinnacles. This temple somehow resembles the Krishna temple of Patan Durbar.

Statue of Bhupatindra Malla

The late King Bhupatindra Malla statue is erected right in front of Vatsala Durga. The statue is made up of bronze with the king facing the temple with his hands in prayer position.

Taumadhi Square

The square is located on the premises of durbar square and is one of the durbars in Bhaktapur. Tamaudi Square was made in 1702 and has courtyards that locals use as a trade center these days. 

Dattatreya Square

Dattatreya Square has been converted to Dattatrayea Temple dedicated to the three creators of this universe Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Originally, the square was constructed started in 1427 by King Yaksha Malla. The temple however is made from only one timber.

Pottery Square: The ground of clay arts

As the pottery square was gifted by a rich potter; the arts of pottery still exist today. Pottery Square lies to the east of Tamaudi Square. Within the sideways, you can see a lot of potters ready to sell their pots, vessels, and many more.

Source: bhaktapur.com

Nyatapola Temple

Nyatapola Temple is one of the popular Hindu temples having 5 stories in it. The pagoda-style Nyatapola is a Newari name indicating 5 stories temple.

Source: bhaktapur.com

The temple is dedicated to the goddess Siddhilaxmi. One of the interesting facts is that the temple stands still today surviving four earthquakes. Also, it took 3 generations to complete the temple. 

Bhairava Nath Temple

The temple is dedicated to Lord Bhairav and lies in between Tamaudi square. Bhairav is also a form of Lord Shiva which is fierce and quite dangerous. You can visit the temple right after you visit Nyatapola as they are almost together.

Lun Dhwākhā (Golden Gate)

The golden gate is the main entrance of the 55 window palace. The gate is followed by a courtyard that serves as a pathway in-between.

The Lun Dhwākhā is the Newari name for the golden gate. Furthermore, the golden gate was constructed by King 

Lion’s Gate

The lion’s gate is the entrance of the Simhadhwaka Durbar. The Durbar was built by King Bhupatindra Malla during the 17th century. Hence, the name of the durbar and gate was named after the lion that is in its entry path.

Mini Pashupati Temple

The mini Pashupatinath is a replica of the original Pashupati temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple was built by one of the Bhadgaun kings as the king dreamed of Pashupatinath.

Traditional Crafts

As you hover around Bhaktapur you can see arts, crafts, pottery, and many more sideways. All of the traders provide you the crafts that are crafted in traditional ways. These crafting techniques have been passed from generation to generation still keeping them alive.

Fasi Dega

Fasi Dega Temple is one of the ancient temples located in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. 

Moreover, the temple collapsed during an earthquake in 1934 which left the temple on its base only. Later, the temple was constructed in a dome-shaped. The temple faced a breakdown in an earthquake of 2015 which collapse the entire temple.

Image for:https://rubinmuseum.org/page/then-and-now-bhaktapur-durbar-square 

Related:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Bhaktapur Durbar a historical place?

The Bhaktapur Durbar Square represents the medieval period arts, crafts, and culture. In addition, it is one of the durbar squares that exist today.

When was Bhaktapur Durbar Square listed as a World Heritage Site?

Bhaktapur Durbar Square was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1979.

When was Bhaktapur Durbar Square built?

The Bhaktapur Durbar Square was built in 1969 by King Jitamitra Malla.

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