Bahktapur is the third important sister city of the valley located 14kms.to the east of Kathmandu. The local people call it Bhadgaon. This city is named Bhaktapur, which means the place (pur) of devotees (Bhakta). Bhaktapur is a very sanskritised name which is difficult to pronounce. Therefore, the inhabitants of this place, for their convenience, changed it to Bhadgaon, where ‘gaon’ means ‘village’ and ‘Bhad’ could be the simplified form of ‘Bhakta’. Bhaktapur was once the ancient capital of Nepal during the Malla kingdom. The city was built in the 9th century (889 A.D.) during the period of King Ananda Deve. The city was built in the shape of a sacred conch shell, which is associated with Lord Vishnu, the Lord Protector. This huge city Bhatapur is decorated by temples, smooth wooden art, stone carving, amazing festival etc. the ancient city Bhaktapur is also commonly known as the “city of culture”,” the living heritage” and “culture capital of Nepal”.
Places to See in Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur Durbar Square (World Heritage Site):
One of the Seven UNESCO world heritage site Bhaktapur durbar square is located in Kathmandu valley. Its Durbar square is a masterpiece of art and architecture. The center piece is the 55- window palace overlooking the square which is smooth over with piece. The palace was built in the 12th century. The fantastic 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, temple and artistic buildings, almost one third of which were destroyed by the terrible earthquake of 1934. The square however still holds thrilling palaces, pagodas, temples as well as Buddhist monasteries completely architecture. The square is one of the most attractive architectural showpieces of the valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal. 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.
These two majestic and magnificent stone lions give one the feeling that they might be guarding a very important person of the palace. It might have been true in the 17th century, but now it is not so. Also you can see the two most glorious stone carvings of Bairava and Durga, the Mahisha mardini (killer of the Buffalo Demon).
The 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 amazing monuments. The temple was found 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 couple 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 structure and fine workmanship
This massive pagoda style temple erected at the eastside of the square is dedicated to Bhairav – the violent form of lord Shiva, it was 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 middle 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 (festival).
This is a gallery of great significance. You can find here displayed very old paintings belonging to Hindu as well as Buddhist tantric schools of various periods. The building used to be the official residence of the Malla kings up to the 18th century when it was taken over by king Prithvi Narayan Shah, the king of historical place Gorkha. The ground floor of the gallery contains some of the very important Hindu as well as Buddhist stone, sculptures and Thanka paintings. The first portion of the floor contains the pictures, mounted in frames, of the Shah Kings. The second portion contains some pictures showing Lord Vishnu’s incarnations and the reasons for those incarnations (to kill or subdue evil and to protect the good). The third section is quite wide, it has wooden floor, and it was used as dancing hall by the Malla kings. This hall contains some of the rare manuscripts and some of the most excellent Thanka art (scroll paintings) collection.
55 windows palace:
This historical palace is amazing for its carved balcony with 55 windows. The building was built in the fifteenth century (1427 A.D.) by King Yaksha Malla but it was greatly inflated and enlarged bye king Bhupindra Malla in the late 17th century. It is constructed of bricks, highly carved and decorated with wooded window frames and doorways.
This temple is one of the oldest of Bhaktapur’s many religious shrines; it has long been the site of religious activity and community gatherings. The temple was built by King Yaksha Malla and reconstructed by Bishwa Malla in 1458 A.D. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple prides itself in not worthy features. Carvings in the eastern side represent sexual scenes among the oldest surviving carved erotic in all of Nepal. On the northern side, rooms are built from traveling ascetics. Inside the temple is an image of Dttatraya, the god considered a collective incarnation of three main Hindu deities: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. The face seen in the second floor window is of the son of Indra, another important Hindu god.
A few minute walk south of durbar square brings you to Bolachhen, also known as potter’s square because of the potters mouding wet clay into different kind of earthen ware. It has a display of fresh ceramic left out to dry in the open square. This place can be approached from Taumadhi square also. The elephant – headed Lord Ganesh is the potters, thus the Jeth Ganesh temple in the square.
A pond was built in Lichhavi period, is well known as Ta- pukhu, meaning big pond. Though located near from durbar square, it provides a peaceful atmosphere with its sashaying fish and the stone images of different Hindu and Buddhist gods all around it. This historic pond was built by King Bhupatendra Malla. A beautiful Himalayan ranges can be seen from here in clear days.
Sightseeing around Bhaktapur
Chagu Narayan (World Heritage Site):
Chagu Narayan temple is located on a peninsular ridge to the north of Bhaktapur. The temple was built in the third century and is dedicated to lord Vishnu. The temple of Chagu Narayan is the most ancient specimen of pagoda – roofed shrine in the valley. The temple is decorated with some of the finest stone, metal and woodcrafts. Most of the architectural wealth was set together during the period of the Malla king who ruled the Kathmandu valley from the 13th to the 18th centuries. The temple was thinking to have been built by Vishnu Gupta, and was later added to by Hari Datta verma in 323 A.D. the surrounding views are fabulous and the temple is a living museum. It is located eight miles in the eastern direction from Kathmandu.
This place is dedicated to the elephant god, adorns a wooded hillside located south of Bhaktapur. King Vishnu Deva Verma who must have had an eye for commanding locals built. Surya Vinayak catches the first rays of the rising sun. You can also see from here the huddled roofs of Bhaktapur towered over by snow peaks silhouetting above in the horizon. This place is also a very nice and famous for picnic spot.
There are a choice of places around the edge of the Kathmandu valley which offer wonderful mountain views, but the resort village of Nagarkot is usually held to be the best mountain watchers make their way up to the village, stay overnight in Nagarkot than rise at dawn to see the sun appear over the Himalaya. Nagarkot is popular tourist resort of Nepal. It is located 32 kilometers east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2175m above the sea level. The panoramic view of the peaks of eastern Nepal Himalayas including Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) can be seen from here. Himalaya peaks like Manaslu (8463m), Ganesh Himal (7111m), Langtang (7246m), Choba Bhamre (6016m), Gaurishankar (7134m) and Numbur (6957m) are also clearly seen from Nagarkot. We can ride a car from Kathmandu through the Bhaktapur.