Bhaktapur Durbar Square had taken me back to Nepal’s medieval period, during the reign of the Malla Kingdom. The complex is a spectacle of temples, pagodas, and monuments built from bricks and wood. It highlights the country’s ancient arts through its building architectures, sculptures and wood carvings. It also reflects the people’s cultural traditions, religious beliefs and rituals. Though the earthquake in 2015 had caused serious damage to some temples in the complex, other structures have managed to remain intact while some are supported by poles to prevent from crumbling down. Bhaktapur Durbar Square never failed tourists to get a taste of Nepal’s cultural heritage despite the ongoing reconstruction of ruined structures and rebuilding of collapsed temples that are of historical significance.
4 SQUARES WITHIN BHAKTAPUR HISTORICAL SITE
This is the main square of the complex where the 55 WINDOW PALACE takes a center stage with its intricately carved window frames and doors. Facing the Royal Palace is the statue of the King BHUPATINDRA MALLA that sits atop a column. The entrance of the palace is a beautiful piece of artwork with great religious and architectural value called the “GOLDEN GATE.” It is embellished with Hindu mythical creatures and mysterious monsters sculpted in a piece of metal. The gate gives access to the inner courtyards and temples of the royal palace, including Taleju Temple where entry is only allowed for Hindus. However, non-Hindus are permitted to take a look of the ROYAL BATH (Naga Pokhari) and take photos of the stone-carved snakes that surround the pool.
In front of the Royal Palace, a replica of the main Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu can be found. According to folklore, a MINI PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE was constructed after a certain Bhadgaon (another name of Bhaktapur) King dreamed of Shiva asking him to build it. It is the oldest temple in the square that holds the attention of tourists because of the erotic wooden carvings on its pillars.
The main Durbar square encloses several temples in different styles dedicated to different Hindu gods and goddesses. This includes Rameshwar, Badrinath, Kedarnath, and Gopi Nath Temples. Several temples were destroyed during the Gorkha earthquake that are now undergoing restoration such as the stone temple beside the King’s statue called Vatsala Durga Temple.
This square houses two colossal temples: BHAIRAVNATH and NYATAPOLA. Bhairavnath is a three-storey temple in typical pagoda style dedicated to Bhairava, an incarnation of fierce Shiva. Beside it is the five-storeys roofed Nyatapola Temple which is the tallest temple not only in Kathmandu but in the whole of Nepal. In going up, one should climb the staircase lined with paired enormous sculptures guarding the temple: at the base are the two popular Nepali wrestlers topped with two elephants, and then on the next level are two lions with two griffins behind them, finally at the top spot are two goddesses namely Baghini and Singhini.
This part of the complex is where you could see a collection of pottery works sold in small shops or dried up in the open. Here, visitors could get the chance to witness the whole process of traditional pottery making. The clay pots are made according to their purpose with varying sizes and designs.
It is wonderful to see how people have preserved the craft for centuries and how the techniques have passed on from one generation to the other.
The name of the square must have been lifted from the temple that is contained inside its perimeters, the Dattatreya Temple. It is a three-roofed temple believed to have been constructed from the timber of just a single tree.