Bhaktapur Sightseeing Tour in Nepal is the most charming valley with wide-open spaces that are off-limits to vehicular traffic. Bhaktapur, locally known as Khwopa is world-renowned for its elegant art, fabulous culture and indigenous lifestyle. Bhaktapur valley sightseeing tour is famous for woodcarving and the Bhadgaolen topi or cap. It is also renowned for its myriad wonders of cultural and artistic achievements. It is known for its majestic monuments, colorful festivals, and the native Newars best known for their generations-old craftsmanship. The ancient city is also popularly known as the “city of culture”, “the living heritage” and “Nepal’s cultural capital”. The main interest items of Bhaktapur Durbar Square are Lion Gate, Golden Gate and the statues of kings on stone monoliths.
Bhaktapur is located at 14 km east of Kathmandu and is the third-largest city in the Kathmandu valley. Once, Bhaktapur was the capital of Nepal from the 12th century to the 15th century during the Malla Kingdom. Bhaktapur is home of the traditional art and attractive architecture, pottery, and weaving industries. It is rich for local customs and culture. Throughout the city, there are glorious examples of temples and pagodas dedicated to gods and goddesses. Nepal’s Malla dynasty’s achievements in arts and crafts are reflected throughout the Bhaktapur city tour. The Bhaktapur Durbar Square area has a large open brick-paved area and it is surrounded by temples arranged in a harmonious layout.
Places to see in Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
Bhaktapur durbar square is one of the seven UNESCO world heritage sites located in the valley. The spectacular square, the capital of the Malla Kingdom until 1769, is an open museum in itself. Victorian illustrations show that it was once packed with monasteries, temples and artistic buildings, almost one-third of which were destroyed by the disastrous earthquake of 1934 and some parts were destroyed by the earthquake of 2015. The sightseeing of Bhaktapur Durbar Square however still holds mesmerizing palaces, pagodas, shikhara-style temples as well as Buddhist monasteries exclusively architecture Some temples, pagodas are reconstructing now in same shape and design.
It is an accumulation of pagoda and Shikhar style temples grouped around a fifty-five wood window palace. The square is one of the most attractive architectural showpieces of Bhaktapur as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal. The golden effigies of kings perched on the top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in every place-stratum, lintels, uprights, tympanums, gateways, and windows, all seem to form a well-orchestrated symphony. The square holds many temples and other architectural monuments like the Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, Lion Gate, the Picture Gallery, the Golden Gate, the palace 55 windows, the Batsala temple and the Bell of Barking dogs, etc.
The Palace of 55 Windows:
It was built in the seventeenth century by King Bhupatindra Malla. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony of 55 windows. This balcony is a masterpiece of wood carving.
The Stone Temple of Batsala Devi: which is also located in the Durbar square is full of intricate carvings. This temple also sets a beautiful example of the Shikhara style of architecture in Nepal. There is a bronze bell on the terrace of the temple which is also known as the “bell of barking dogs”. This colossal bell, placed in 1737 A.D. was used to sound curfew during that time.
The Golden Gate:
It is the entrance to the main courtyard of the Palace of 55 windows. Built King Ranjit Malla, the Gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters of marvelous intricacy.
Taumadhi Square, just a half minute walk from the Durbar square is the square that divides the ancient town into the upper and lowers halves. The biggest festival of the town – Bisket Jatra, scheduled every year in April – starts from this very square. The square is dominated by many mesmerizing temples and other medieval architecture such as:
The Nyatapola temple most dominantly lying in the south face of the square, named after its physical structure (five tiers of the roof), is the tallest temple in the valley and certainly one of Nepal ‘s most stupendous monuments. The temple founded by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1702 A.D. is dedicated to Goddess Siddhi Laxmi – the most powerful female force.
On each of the terraces of this temple squat a pair 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 subtle workmanship
The huge pagoda style temple erected at the east side of the square is dedicated to Bhairav – the ferocious form of Lord Shiva, built by Jagat Jyoti Malla in 1614 AD. This temple was first built as a one-story pagoda but later changed into a three-story temple in 1718 A.D. by King Bhupatindra Malla. Bhairav – the central image of the temple is ahead without the 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.
Teel Mahadev Narayan Temple:
South from Nyatapola, across the Taumadhi square, an alley beneath a house leads to the Lord Vishnu’s ancient shrine of Teel Mahadev Narayan. Although the place was in use since 1080 A.D. the icons were believed to place inside the temple only in 1170 A.D. A disc, lotus, conch shell, and a mace – four emblems of Lord Vishnu are placed on pillars to the sides of the entrance.
Like the other Squares, Dattatraya Square is another open museum that contains innumerable monumental masterpieces of woodcarvings. The square originally known as “Tachupal” verbally meaning the ‘grand rest house’ – alone consists of seven ‘math’s, among a dozen existing in Bhaktapur. The major attractions of the Square are as follows:
Built-in 1427 A.D. by King Yakshya Malla and his son Raja Malla is the only temple in Nepal that is dedicated to the God Dattatraya – the combined incarnation of the three supreme Gods of Hinduism; Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock windows.
Pujari Math (Wood Carving Museum):
It is the best and the richest architecture among all the maths. It was built by King Yakshya Malla in the 15th century and was used for the storage of donations and contributions until late 20th century. Until a few years back an annual caravan of Tibetan Lamas used to bring tributes to the monastery. It has a splendid collection of antique carvings. A set of 14 roof struts, the image of Vasundhara (1st century), tantric images of Vishnu Vishwarupa with 30 arms and 17 faces and a mouth in its Bhairav (17th century), Puja Devi (15th century) etc. are a few to mention here.
To the west to the Dattatreya temple, across the square stands a double storied rectangular pagoda styled temple dedicated to Lord Bhimsen built-in 1605 A.D. Lord Bhimsen is considered to be as strong as thousand elephants.
Bhaktapur has two famous pottery squares, one is located at Talaco towards the Durbar Square and another one located at Suryamadhi, to the east of the Dattatraya square. Many potters can be seen working on their traditional wheels and thousands of finished and semi-finished clay products lie about in beautiful rows under the sun.
Situated in a beautiful surrounding of Bhadgaon, the temple of Ganesh is placed in a Sylvan setting to catch the first rays of the rising sun. It is a good picnic spot flanked by many attractive landscapes.
Narayan, or Vishnu, is the preserver of creation to Hindus. His temple near Changu village is often described as the most ancient temple in the Kathmandu Valley. A fifth-century stone inscription, the oldest discovered in Nepal, is located in the temple compound and it tells of the victorious King Mandev. The temple now covers sixteen hundred years of Nepalese art history. The temple, built around the third century, is decorated by some of the best samples of stone, wood, and metal craft in the Valley. Vishnu as Narsingha disemboweling a demon is particularly stunning. The western bronze doors sparkle in the evening sunlight, dragons decorate the bells and handsome devas stare from the walls. Garuda, half-man, and half-bird is the steed of Vishnu, and his life-sized statue kneels before the temple. The favorite of many tourists is the statue of Vishnu sitting astride his steed.
Museums in Bhaktapur:
The major specialized museums in Bhaktapur are as follows:
The National Art Gallery:
This gallery located at Durbar Square has a magnificent collection of ancient Thanka paintings and various classic and medieval masterpieces belonging to Hindu and Buddhist schools depicting Tantrism of various periods and descriptions in wood, stone, and metal.
The Wood Carving Museum:
The Wood Carving museum is housed in a 19th-century building, known as the Pujari Math specially built for the priests of those periods. The ‘Math’ itself is elegant in its architecture with enumerable intricately carved wooden doors and windows including the famous Peacock window.
The Bronze & Brass Museum:
Right opposite to the Wood Carving Museum, in specifying name ‘Math’ the Bronze & Brass Museum displays heterogeneous ceremonial and household metalware. The collection of objects such as jars, water vessels, cooking pots, oil pots etc which are used in the ancient and medieval periods.