Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square, locally known as Khwopa Lyaku (Nepal Bhasa: Devanagari : ख्वप लायकू, Prachalit Nepal alphabet:𑐏𑑂𑐰𑐥 𑐮𑐵𑐫𑐎𑐹) is the royal palace of the old Bhaktapur Kingdom, 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) above sea level. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is located in the current town of Bhaktapur, also known as Khwopa, which lies 13 km east of Kathmandu. While the complex consists of at least four distinct squares (Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square), the whole area is informally known as the Bhaktapur Durbar Square and is a highly visited site in the Kathmandu Valley
Detailed information and pictures can be found in : https://www.bhaktapur.com/
Nge Nyapa Jhya Laaykoo (55 window palace)
The major attraction of this place are:
'The Palace of Fifty-five Windows (Nge Nyapa Jhya Laaykoo, Devanagari: ङेङापा झ्यः लायकू, Prachalit ) was built during the reign of the Malla King Bhupetindra Malla who ruled from 1696 to 1722 AD and was not complete until 1754 AD during the reign of his son Ranajit Malla.
Directly in front of the palace and beside the king’s statue and next to the Taleju Bell is the Vatsala Devi Temple. This Shikhara style temple is completely constructed in sandstone and is built upon a three-stage plinth, and has similarities to the Krishna temple of Patan. It is dedicated to Vatsala Devi, a form of the goddess Durga. The temple was originally built by King Jitamitra Malla in 1696 A.D. The structure that can be seen today, however, is reconstructed by King Bhupatindra Malla and dates back to the late 17th or early 18th century. Behind the temple is a water source called dhunge dhara and next to it stands the Chayslin Mandap. It was most famous for its silver bell, known to local residents as "the bell of barking dogs" as when it was rung, dogs in the vicinity barked and howled. The colossal bell was hung by King Ranjit Malla in 1737 AD and was used to sound the daily curfew. It was rung every morning when goddess Taleju was worshiped. Despite the Temple being completely demolished by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake, the bell remains intact.
Statue of Bhupatindra Malla
Siddhi Lakshmi Temple
This Sikhara style temple dedicated to the tantric Goddess Siddhi Lakshmi was built in the 17th century. Statues of various creatures like camels, rhinos, horses and some mythical creatures guard the entrace to this temple.
Nyatapola in Newari language means five stories - the symbolic of five basic elements. This is the biggest and highest pagoda of Nepal ever built with such architectural perfection and artistic beauty. The temple's foundation is said to be made wider than its base. The temple is open for the public once a year - during Dashain. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Shiddhilaxmi. Those statues lined up on the 2 sides of the staircase are built as guardians of the temple and the residing goddess, which we can see in five layers from the base of temple. It is said that it took three generations to complete that temple.
Bhairava Nath Temple
Lun Dhwākhā (Golden Gate)
"Lun Dhwākhā", Devanagari:लुँ ध्वाखा, Prachalit: 𑐮𑐸𑑃 𑐢𑑂𑐰𑐵𑐏𑐵, (The Golden Gate)" is said to be the most beautiful and richly molded specimen of its kind in the entire world. The door is surmounted by a figure of the Hindu goddess Kali and Garuda (mythical griffin) and attended by two heavenly nymphs. It is embellished with monsters and other Hindu mythical creatures of marvelous intricacy. Percy Brown, an eminent English art critic and historian, described the Golden Gate as "the most lovely piece of art in the whole Kingdom; it is placed like a jewel, flashing innumerable facets in the handsome setting of its surroundings." The gate was erected by King Ranjit Malla and is the entrance to the main courtyard of the palace of fifty-five windows.
The magnificent and beautiful gate was built by artisans whose hands were said to have been severed upon completion by the envious Bhadgaun king so that no more of such masterpieces could be reproduced.
Mini Pashupati Temple
This palace bulit by King Bhupatindra Malla in the 17th century houses the National Art Museum which is a great collection of Medieval and Licchvai arts. This palace was named after the statues of a pair of lions guarding its entrance. There are also two large statues of the Hindu god Narsimha.
Erotic elephants temple — On the left just before the entrance way to the square is a hiti (water fountain). A few steps before that but on the other side of the road, just 100m before the entrance way, is a tiny double-roofed Shiva-Parvati Temple with some erotic carvings on its struts. One of these shows a pair of copulating elephants, in the missionary position: Kisi (elephant) Kamasutra.
Ugrachandi and Ugrabhairab — Near the main gate at the west end, one can admire a pair of multiple-armed statues of the terrible god Ugrabhairab and his counterpart Ugrachandi, the fearsome manifestation of Shiva’s consort Parvati. The statues date back to 1701 A.D. and it is said that the unfortunate sculptor had his hands cut off afterward, to prevent him from duplicating his masterpieces. Ugrachandi has eighteen arms holding weapons, and she is in the position of casually killing a (Buffalo) demon. Bhairab has twelve arms and both god and goddess are garlanded with necklaces of human heads.
Rameshwar Temple — The first temple one notices on the right of the gate is Rameshwar, in front of Gopi Nath Temple which is a Gum Baja style. It is an open shrine with four pillars and it is dedicated to Shiva. The name Rameshwar comes from that it was Ram as an incarnation of Vishnu who had the original temple of Mahadev built at Rameshwar Temple in South India.
Badrinath Temple — A small temple west of the Gopi Nath Temple locally known as Badri Narayan is dedicated to Vishnu and Narayan.
Gopi Nath Temple — Two roofed pagoda style is the Gopi Nath Temple, attached to Rameshwar Temple that houses the three deities Balaram, Subhadra and Krishna. It is difficult to see the deities as the door remains mostly closed. The temple is also known as Jagannath, which is another form taken by Vishnu. Dwarka, also known as the Krishna Temple, houses three deities, left to right: Satyabhama, Krishna, and Radha. Their images are carved in stone. In the month of Mangsir (November/December), the deities are placed in a palanquin and taken around the city.
Kedarnath Temple — The terracotta made Shikara style temple is the Kedarnath (Shiva) Temple.
Hanuman Statue — The entrance to the National Art Gallery is flanked by the figure of Hanuman, the monkey god, who appears in Tantric form as the four armed Hanuman Bhairab. Hanuman is worshiped for strength and the devotion.
The Durbar Square proper houses the 55-window Palace which was constructed by King Jitamitra Malla and was home to royalty until 1769. It is now a national gallery. Close by is the Golden Gate which leads into Mulchok Court which is home to the Taleju Temple. This temple, like others in the main towns of the Kathmandu Valley, is dedicated to the goddess Taleju Bhawani and includes shrines to both the Taleju Bhawani and Kumari. Entrance to the temple is restricted and the living goddess strictly cannot be photographed.
The Durbar square is surrounded by spectacular architecture and vividly showcases the skills of the Newari artists and craftsmen over several countries. The royal palace was originally situated at Dattaraya square and was only later moved to the Durbar Square location.
Impact of earthquakes
Originally, there were 99 courtyards attached to this place, but now only 6 remain. Before the 1934 earthquake, there were 3 separate groups of temples. Currently, the square is surrounded by buildings that survived the quake.
On 25 April 2015, another major earthquake damaged many buildings in the square. The main temple in Bhaktapur's square lost its roof, while the Vatsala Devi temple, famous for its sandstone walls and gold-topped pagodas, was also demolished.
Landscape view of main area
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- Bhaktapur Durbar Square Archived 2015-11-19 at the Wayback Machine, btdc.com.np. Retrieved 27 October 2015
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- "Nepal's Kathmandu Valley landmarks flattened by quake". BBC News. 26 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
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