Large parts of the following description are from the Wikipedia entry for Bhaktapur.

Bhakta means Devotee in Sanskrit, and pur means city, so Bhaktapur is the city of devotees.

It is located on the trade route between Tibet and India. This position on the main caravan route made the town rich and prosperous.

Bhaktapur is part of the Kathmandu Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and stone artwork. Different kings built different temples and palaces over the years. Bhaktapur was strongly affected by the large earthquake of 1934, which destroyed numerous temples and palaces.

The main attraction is Bhaktapur Durbar Square with its many temples and palaces. But there are other interesting temples scattered throughout Bhaktapur.

Just like in the other towns in the Kathmandu Valley, the town wells are all dry. Too many people have been using the water, so the water level has dropped so much that the wells are all dried out.

One interesting part of the architecture around Bhaktapur are the temples with erotic statues. There were two that I visited in Bhaktapur.

Here is a map of Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

Nepal Bhaktapur durbar
Map from PlanetWare.com

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Bhaktapur

This section has some pictures of the town of Bhaktapur.

View Bhaktapur Nyatapola
View of Bhaktapur with the Nyatapola Temple in the center. (678k)
House Bhaktapur
House in Bhaktapur. (760k)
House Bhaktapur
House in Bhaktapur. (745k)
Small Street Bhaktapur
Small street in Bhaktapur. (790k)
Small Temple Bhaktapur
Small temple in Bhaktapur. (769k)
Shrine Praying Woman
Shrine with praying woman in Bhaktapur. (829k)
Balakhu Ganesha Shrine
Balakhu Ganesha (shrine dedicated to Ganesha). (813k)
Shrine Dedicated Ganesha
Shrine dedicated to Ganesha. (860k)
Shrine Bhaktapur
Shrine in Bhaktapur. (840k)
Close View Shrine
Close view of a shrine in Bhaktapur. (981k)
Ganesha Newer House
Ganesha on a newer house. (748k)
Buddhist Monastery Bhaktapur
Buddhist monastery in Bhaktapur. (801k)
Dry Town Well
Dry town well. (915k)
Large Wooden Wheels
Large wooden wheels. They are used for moving festival displays. (801k)
Wood Carved Decorations
Wood carved decorations. (767k)
Wood Carved Peacock
Wood carved Peacock window. These famous windows were carved during the reign of King Vishva Malla in the 16th century. (759k)

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and Sikhara style temples grouped around a 55 Window Palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal. The golden effigies of the kings perched on the top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in every place . struts, lintels, uprights, tympanums, gateways and windows. all seem to form a well-orchestrated symphony.

The Lion Gate dates as far back as 1696, it is guarded on either side by two huge statues of lions. Alongside there are two stone images of Bhairab (the dreadful aspect of Shiva) and Durga (the consort of Shiva in her fearful manifestation).

Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (622k)
Secondary Durbar Square
Secondary Durbar Square. (732k)
Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple. (758k)
Fasi Dega Temple
Fasi Dega Temple. (704k)
Lion Statues Secondary
Lion statues in the secondary Durbar Square. (812k)
Close-up Lion Statue
Close-up of the lion statue in the secondary Durbar Square. (710k)
Building Secondary Durbar
Building in the secondary Durbar Square. (722k)
Kedamatha Temple Dedicated
Kedamatha Temple, dedicated to Shiva. (603k)
Shiva Lingam Kedamatha
Shiva Lingam in the Kedamatha Temple. (821k)
Lion Figure Front
Lion figure in front of the Lion Gate. (815k)
Stone Carved Figure
Stone carved figure of Durga, slayer of the Buffalo Demon, at the Lion Gate. (950k)
Stone Carved Figure
Stone carved figure of Bhairab, an incarnation of Shiva, at the Lion Gate. (970k)
Hindu Worshiper Statue
Hindu worshiper at a statue of Bhairab, an incarnation of Shiva. (859k)

Vatsala Devi Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square

The Vatsala Devi Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a small temple right in front of the Golden Gate to the king's palace. This Sikhara style temple is completely constructed in sandstone and is built on a three stage plinth. It has similarities to the Krishna temple of Patan. It is dedicated to Batsala Devi, a form of the Goddess Durga. The temple was originally built by King Jitamitra Malla in 1696. 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. The stone temple shows many intricate carvings. It is most famous for its bells. The large bell was hung by King Ranajit Malla in 1737, dedicated to the Goddess Taleju. It was used for festivals and for emergencies. The smaller bell (still quite large) is known to local residents as "Dog Barking Bell". When it is rung, dogs in the vicinity begin barking and howling. It was used to sound the daily curfew.

Vatsala Devi Temple
Vatsala Devi Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (727k)
Stone Figure Durga
Stone figure of Durga, the Buffalo Demon slayer on the Vatsala Devi Temple. (733k)
Stone Carved Figure
Stone carved figure on the Vatsala Devi Temple. (846k)
Bell Vatsala Devi
Bell on the Vatsala Devi Temple. (747k)
Tagosan Large Taleju
Tagosan, The large Taleju Bell at the Vatsala Devi Temple. It was used for emergencies and festivals only. (856k)
Khichako Gan "dog
Khichako Gan, the "Dog Barking Bell". It was rung daily for curfew. The dogs in the area would start barking when it is rung. (920k)

Chayslin Dega Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Next to the Vatsala Devi Temple, in front of the 55 Windows Palace is the Chayslin Dega. This octagonal temple was originally a viewing point for noble writers, observing festivals and rituals. It was built during the 17th century by King Jitamitra Malla and was used as a rest house by the travelers and pilgrims. It has an open hall at the lower level. The Chayslin Dega was totally destroyed by the 1934 earthquake, but recently reconstructed with assistance from Germany.

Chayslin Dega Temple
Chayslin Dega Temple with the 55 Window Palace behind it. (757k)
Bronze Lion Statue
Bronze lion statue at the Chayslin Dega Temple. (773k)
Wood Carved Column
Wood carved column at the Chayslin Dega Temple. (890k)
Detail Wood Carved
Detail of a wood carved column at the Chayslin Dega Temple. (911k)
Stone Slab Inscription
Stone slab with inscription at the Chayslin Dega Temple. (916k)

Siddhi Lakshmi Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square

This Sikhara style temple is next to the 55 Windows Palace. The steps up to the temple are flanked by male and female attendants each leading a rather reluctant child and a rather eager-looking dog. On successive levels the stairs are flanked by horses, rhinos, man-lions and camels. This 17th century temple marks the dividing line between the main Durbar Square and its secondary square.

Siddhi Lakshmi Temple
Siddhi Lakshmi Temple. (802k)
Small Shrine Part
Small shrine, part of the Siddhi Lakshmi Temple. (732k)
Stone Figures Flanking
Stone figures flanking the steps to the Siddhi Lakshmi Temple. (863k)
Stone Figures Flanking
Stone figures flanking the steps to the Siddhi Lakshmi Temple. (861k)
Close-up Stone Figures
Close-up of the stone figures flanking the steps to the Siddhi Lakshmi Temple. (807k)

Badrinatha Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square

A small temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square, dedicated to Vishnu.

Badrinatha Temple Bhaktapur
Badrinatha Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (692k)
Column Stone Garuda
Column with stone Garuda in front of the Badrinatha Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (700k)
Close-up Garuda Badrinatha
Close-up of the Garuda at the Badrinatha Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (613k)

Yaksheshvara Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square

The Yaksheshvara Temple is a replica of the famous temple by the Bagmati river in Kathmandu and is widely noted for the erotic carvings on its struts. It was built by King Jayayakshya Malla in the 15th century. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Yaksheshvara Temple Bhaktapur
Yaksheshvara Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. (785k)
Roof Decoration Yaksheshvara
Roof decoration on the Yaksheshvara Temple, showing Shiva's Trishula, the trident. (495k)
Wood Carved Window
Wood carved window decorations on the Yaksheshvara Temple. (812k)
Nandi Bull Shiva's
Nandi, the bull, Shiva's mount, in front of the Yaksheshvara Temple. (828k)
Wood Carved Roof
Wood carved roof support on the Yaksheshvara Temple. (914k)
Erotic Carvings Yaksheshvara
Erotic carvings on the Yaksheshvara Temple. (910k)
Erotic Carvings Yaksheshvara
Erotic carvings on the Yaksheshvara Temple. (979k)
Erotic Carvings Yaksheshvara
Erotic carvings on the Yaksheshvara Temple. (900k)
Erotic Carvings Yaksheshvara
Erotic carvings on the Yaksheshvara Temple. (894k)

55 Windows Palace in Bhaktapur Durbar Square

The 55 Windows Palace was built during the reign of King Jayayakshya Malla in 1427. and was remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century. Among the brick walls, with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony of 55 windows, considered to be a unique masterpiece of woodcarving.

Lu Dhowka (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 Goddess Kali with many arms and attended by two heavenly nymphs. It is embellished with monsters and other mythical creatures of marvelous intricacy. In the words of Percy Brown, an eminent English art critic and historian, the Golden Gate is "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 Ranajit Malla and is the entrance to the main courtyard of 55 Windows Palace.

The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla in the act of worship can be seen on a column facing the palace. Of the square's many statues, this is considered to be the most magnificent. The king is worshiping the Goddess Taleju (the Nepalese name for Durga, an incarnation of Parvati), who is the patron Goddess of the palace.

55 Window Palace
The 55 Window Palace behind the Chayslin Dega Temple. (829k)
Statue King Bhupatindra
Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, worshiping the Goddess Taleju on a column in front of the Lu Dhowka (Golden Gate). (574k)
Lu Dhowka Golden
The Lu Dhowka (Golden Gate). (920k)
Close-up Lu Dhowka
Close-up of the Lu Dhowka (Golden Gate). With the Goddess Kali (another incarnation of Parvati) in the center, flanked by two nymphs. (1046k)
Guardian Figures Front
Guardian figures in front of the 55 Window Palace. (881k)
Narasimha Lion-headed God
Narasimha (Lion-headed God, an incarnation of Vishnu) in front of the 55 Window Palace. It dates from 1698. (935k)
Wood Carved Door
Wood carved door in the 55 Window Palace. (945k)
Wood Carved Window
Wood carved window in the 55 Window Palace. (1105k)
Door Taleju Temple
Door to the Taleju Temple in the 55 Window Palace. The Taleju Temple is only open during festivals. (915k)
View Into Taleju
View into the Taleju Temple in the 55 Window Palace. There is no access for non-Hindu. (715k)
Statue Goddess Taleju
Statue of the Goddess Taleju. (926k)
Ceremonial Bell 55
Ceremonial bell in the 55 Window Palace. (821k)
Naga Pokhari Royal
Naga Pokhari: The royal water pool used by the Goddess Taleju. (920k)
Close-up Naga Pokhari
Close-up of Naga Pokhari: The royal water pool. (936k)

Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur

Nyatapola Temple is a five-story pagoda (Nyatapola means five-storied in the local Newari language). It was built by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1702 and dedicated to the Goddess Siddhi Lakshmi, providing the Nepalese with a place to worship her. Like so many of the other temples the image of the Goddess that is contained within the temple of Nyatapola is viewed only by the priests. The temple rests on a base of five levels with four Ganesha shrines in each of the corners. Legend tells of the days when the angry God Bhairab was causing havoc in society. Bhairab's temple stood in Taumadhi Square. To counteract his destructive behavior the king decided to build a more powerful temple right in front of the Bhairab Temple. It was built in five months in 1701/1702. To make the brick and wood temple strong and powerful, King Bhupatindra Malla ordered guardians be placed in pairs on each level of the base leading up to the Nyatapola Temple. On the first level is a pair of likenesses of Bhaktapur's strongest men, Jaya Malla and Phatta Malla. He is said to have been 10 times as strong as normal men. On the next tier are two elephants, followed by two lions, two griffins, and finally 'Baghini' and 'Singhini', the tiger and lion Goddesses. The entities on each level are supposed to be 10 times as strong as the one on the next lower level. After subduing Bhairab, peace prevailed in the city. The Temple is the tallest temple in the Kathmandu Valley and stands 30 m (100 ft) high. It was so well designed that it withstood a powerful 8.3 earthquake in 1934.

Nyatapola Temple Bhaktapur
Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur. (616k)
Nyatapola Temple Bhaktapur
Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur. (716k)
Stairs Nyatapola Temple
Stairs to the Nyatapola Temple, flanked by guardian figures. (836k)
Guardian Figures Stairs
Guardian figures on the stairs to the Nyatapola Temple. (802k)
Strongman Jaya Mal
Strongman Jaya mal Pata, 10x as strong as a man. (871k)
Elephant 10x Strong
Elephant, 10x as strong as Jaya mal Pata. (914k)
Lion 10x Strong
Lion, 10x as strong as the elephant. (821k)
Griffin 10x Strong
Griffin, 10x as strong as the lion. (874k)
Baghini Goddess 10x
Baghini Goddess, 10x as strong as the griffin. (874k)

Bhairab Nath Temple in Bhaktapur

A temple dedicated to Lord Bhairab, the dreadful aspect of Shiva. It stands a short distance away from the temple of Nyatapola. It was originally constructed by King Jagaj Jyoti Malla on a modest scale in the early 17th century. It was later remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla, a zealous lover of the arts, into what it is now a three-storied temple.

View Taumadhi Square
View of Taumadhi Square with the Bhairab Nath Temple in the background. (768k)
Bhairab Nath Temple
Bhairab Nath Temple in Bhaktapur. (744k)
Worshiping Bhairab Nath
Worshiping at the Bhairab Nath Temple. (862k)
Front Bhairab Nath
Front of the Bhairab Nath Temple. (1010k)
Shrine Bhairab Nath
Shrine at the Bhairab Nath Temple. (914k)
Lion Statue Front
Lion statue in front of the Bhairab Nath Temple. (989k)
Ceremonial Bell Nepalese
Ceremonial bell and Nepalese flag in bronze in front the Bhairab Nath Temple. (913k)

Dattatraya Temple in Bhaktapur

The temple of Dattatraya is as old as the 55 Windows Palace. Consecrated by King Jayayakshya Malla in 1427, this temple, according to popular belief, was built out of the trunk of a single tree. It was subsequently repaired and renovated by King Vishva Malla in the mid-16th century. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva and shows symbols of both Gods.

Dattatraya Temple Bhaktapur
Dattatraya Temple in Bhaktapur. (712k)
Front Dattatraya Temple
Front of Dattatraya Temple in Bhaktapur. (772k)
Guardian Statue Front
Guardian statue in front of the Dattatraya Temple. (799k)
Column Conch Shell
Column with the conch shell, symbol of Vishnu. (882k)
Close-up Conch Shell
Close-up of the conch shell, symbol of Vishnu. (771k)
Column Disk Vishnu
Column with the disk of Vishnu. (882k)
Close-up Disk Vishnu
Close-up of the disk of Vishnu. (750k)
Trishula Shiva's Trident
The Trishula, Shiva's trident. (612k)
Garuda Column Front
Garuda on a column in front of the Dattatraya Temple. (538k)
Six-pointed Star Symbol
Six-pointed star, symbol of Knowledge and Power. (501k)
Erotic Carving Dattatraya
Erotic carving on the Dattatraya Temple. (782k)
Erotic Carving Dattatraya
Erotic carving on the Dattatraya Temple. (854k)
Erotic Carving Dattatraya
Erotic carving on the Dattatraya Temple. (797k)
Erotic Carving Dattatraya
Erotic carving on the Dattatraya Temple. (644k)

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Page last updated on Tue Sep 24 18:19:03 2019 (Mountain Standard Time)


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