Bhaktapur (Nepal)

Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon) is one of the three ancient cities that were once the capitals of principalities in the Kathmandu valley. Its name literally means “city of the faithful, believers.” Bhaktapur is located at an altitude of 1410 m above sea level, 14 km southeast of Kathmandu. Now it is a small cozy town, not filled with crowds of tourists, but in the XIV-XVIII centuries it was the capital of the principality of one of the branches of the Malla dynasty, so there is something to see here. The traditional and most popular crafts in Bhaktapur are weaving and pottery.

As in other former metropolitan cities of Nepal, the main one in Bhaktapur is the Durbar Square. (palace). The main temples and architectural monuments are concentrated on it and in the district. The most famous attractions located on the Durbar Square are the Lion Gate, the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, the art gallery, the Golden Gate, the 55 Windows Palace, Batsala Temple and the Barking Dogs Bell. The Lion Gate is guarded on each side by two stone lions, in addition, they are decorated with stone images of Bhairava and Ugrachandi, that is, Shiva and his companion in their terrifying incarnations.

Golden Gate, richly decorated with gilded carvings of mythical creatures, open the entrance to the main courtyard of the 55 Okon Palace. Above the passage are carved bas-reliefs of the goddess Kali and the bird-man Garuda, accompanied by two beautiful nymphs. According to some historians and art historians, the Golden Gate is the best example of such creativity not only in Nepal, but throughout the world. The gate was built during the reign of King Ranjit Malla. The palace itself has 55 windows was built during the reign of King Yaksha Malla in the first half of the 15th century. It underwent a significant restructuring later at the end of the 17th century, when the indefatigable Bhapatindra Malla ruled. In addition to the usual architecture for that time, the palace, built of red brick, is famous for its unique balcony with 55 windows covered with carved wooden shutters, which are considered a unique masterpiece of Nepalese craftsmen. Opposite the palace is an impressive statue on a high column, depicting the same king Bhapatindra during prayer. It is believed that this statue makes the greatest impression of all the statues of numerous Nepalese rulers.

In the art gallery you can see the masterpieces of Buddhist and Hindu fine arts from different periods. Batsala Devi stone temple, also located in Durbar Square, is decorated with intricate carvings. On the terrace of the temple there is a bronze bell, also known as the “bells of barking dogs”. When he calls, all the dogs in the area burst into barking. This bell, made under Ranjit Malla, was used for evening chimes during his reign. Now it is called every morning in honor of the Goddess Taleju.

According to Areacodesexplorer, the Niatapola Temple was built in 1702 by King Bhupatinra and became known as one of the most massive and tall temples. Five-story pagoda, only one of three in the Kathmandu Valley stands on a five-tier base. On each tier there are two stone figures: at the very bottom, famous wrestlers, then elephants, lions, griffins, and at the very top of the goddess Baghini and Singhini in the form of a lioness and a tigress. The Nepalese believe that each figure located a tier higher is 10 times stronger than the previous one, and the famous wrestlers Jaya and Phatta Malla were 10 times stronger than ordinary people, that is, the temple is thus reliably protected. Despite the massive construction, the temple of Niatapol is distinguished by its fine decoration. It is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.

Bhairavnath temple was originally built as a one-story pagoda dedicated to Bhairav, the terrifying form of Shiva, during the reign of King Jagat Jyoti Malla. Subsequently, King Bhupatindra Malla, a passionate connoisseur of art, rebuilt it into a three-story building in 1718, famous for its beauty.

Dattatraya Temple, built in 1427 by King Yaksha Malaya, is located on the square of the same name. In 1458 it was restored by King Vishwa Malla. There is a belief that the temple was made from the trunk of a single tree. The temple is dedicated to the three-headed form of the three main Hindu gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Dattatraya Square is the place where the old way of life of Bhaktapur has been preserved.. The tangle of narrow streets leading up to the square is lined with old houses, and the adjacent Pujari Math monastery is famous for its carvings. Immediately on the square is the national museum of woodcarving, and across the street from it is the museum of bronze and copper products. The Museum of Bronze and Copper is located in a 15th-century monastery. Its exposition includes ancient copper and bronze inkwells, ritual accessories, lamps, and much more.

Literally a stone’s throw from Durbar Square is another remarkable square, Bolachkhen, also known as the Potters’ Square. And today, many masters of pottery put their creations on the square to dry. This spectacle leaves an interesting impression. On the square is the temple of Jeth Ganesh, dedicated to the elephant-headed Ganesh, including the patron saint of potters. Surya Vinayak is an altar of Ganesh, the god with the head of an elephant, located in the picturesque surroundings of Bhaktapur, decorated with stone, meets the first rays of the sun. From here you have a good view of Bhaktapur and the snowy peaks surrounding the Kathmandu valley. Surya Vinayak is a famous Hindu pilgrimage site, but also great for picnics and nature outings.

On the road from Kathmandu to Bhaktapur, there is a small village Thimi, famous for its handicrafts and unique temples and pagodas. The villagers are best known for masks, clay pots left to dry right on the streets, and clothes made from homespun cotton. Nagarkot is 32 km from Kathmandu on the outskirts of the valley at an altitude of more than 2000 m above sea level. From here you can see the highest Himalayan peaks of eastern Nepal, including Sagarmatha (Everest). Also visible are Manaslu (8463m), Ganesh Himal (7111m), Langtang (7246m), Chhoba Bhamre (6016m), Gaurishanker (7134m) and Numbur (6957m). Many tourists head here to meet the dawn, admiring the ethereal scenery, so Nagarkot has become a popular tourist town.

From Bhaktapur you can get to the Changu Narayan monastery, which is considered the oldest in the valley. It is located on a spur of mountains descending into the valley, and therefore is 150 m higher above the Kathmandu valley. and there is a beautiful view from here. The temple is dedicated to the creator god Vishnu and witnessed more than 16 centuries of Nepalese history. In the monastery you can find masterpieces of stone carving, wood carving and metal casting. There is also a statue of Vishnu, especially revered by the Nepalese.

Bhaktapur (Nepal)