Known as the city of medieval art, Bhaktapur is the third of the medieval city states located 14 km east of Kathmandu. This best-preserved medieval town bursts with temples, pagodas and ornate pools. Formerly known as ‘Bhadgaon’ or ‘Khowpa’ in Newari meaning ‘City of Devotees’, Bhaktapur is filled with monuments, carved wooden columns, palaces and temples with elaborate carvings, gilded roofs and open courtyards. The city is dotted with pagodas and religious shrines flaunting rich history and vibrant culture in every nook and cranny, making it a living heritage.
Bhaktapur has not one but three major squares full of towering temples that comprise some of the finest religious architecture in the entire country. The city carries great significance for its intriguing historic-cultural heritage, elegant art, century old temples, unique architecture, fascinating history, colorful festivals and warm people. Some of the noteworthy attractions around the city are:
- Nyatapola Temple: The 17th century Pagoda style temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Bhaktpur. With five storeys towering 30m above Taumadhi Tole, this is the tallest pagoda temple in all of Nepal. Nyatapola in Newari language means fie tires – the symbolic of five basic elements. The temple is dedicated to Siddhi Laxmi, the tantric goddess of supreme power and success.
- Bhairabnath Temple: The broad-fronted, triple-roofed Bhairabnath Temple is dedicated to Bhairab, the fearsome incarnation of Shiva, whose consort occupies the Nyatapola Temple across the square.
- The Golden Gate: The Golden gate opens to the inner courtyards of the 55 Window Palace and is known for its fabulous portal, topped by a frieze of Hindu deities, set into a bright red gatehouse surrounded by white palace walls.
- 55 Window Palace: This is the main architectural structure dominating the entire Durbar Square. This magnificent monument was built in 15th century AD. The palace comprises of 55 intricate wooden windows stretching along its upper level.
- Vatsala Devi Temple: The stone temple was built by King Jagat Prakash Malla and is believed to be Bhaktapur’s answer to the Krishna Mandir in Patan.
- Dattatreya Temple: The temple was originally built in 1427, supposedly using a timber from a single tree. The temple is dedicated to Dattatreya, a curious hybrid deity, blending elements of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
- Potter’s Square: The center of Bhaktapur’s ceramic industry, the square is full of treadle-power potter’s wheels and rows of clay pots drying in the sun.
- Taleju Temple: Built in 1553, it is one of the most sacred temples in Bhaktapur where only Hindus can enter.
- Bhaktapur’s ponds: The outskirts of Bhaktapur comprise of a series of enormous reservoirs constructed in the medieval period to store water for drinking and other purposes. The most impressive of all is the ghat-lined Siddha Pokhari. Other ponds include the nearby Bhiaya Pokhari, Guhya Pokhari and Kamal Pokhari.
- National Art Gallery: You can find an extensive collection of Tantric cloth paintings – the Hindu version of Buddhist thangkas – as well as palm-leaf manuscripts and metal, stone and wooden votive objects, some of which date to the 12th century. Woodcarving Museum and Brass & Bronze Museum in Tachupal Tole is another highlight of the gallery.
Soak up the untainted culture and architectural grandeur of this medieval city and travel back in time with Himalayan Glacier and gain an excellent insight on Bhaktapur. For further information on the tour, please click the following link: