NATURALLY NEPAL "once is not enough"

Saturday, March 12, 2011


King Anand Dev established the town in the year 889 AD, and it is therefore steeped in tradition, culture and a rich history. The Mallas ruled Bhaktapur for many years. Most of the statues, temples and sanctuaries seen today were constructed during their rule. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is home to some of the most beautiful and breathtaking of these creations, complete with wooden carvings, gateways and idols.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is unique as it is one of the few sights in Nepal that hosts a great variety of attractions at the same location. One of these attractions is the Lion Gate. This spectacular gate was constructed in the 17th century, in approximately the year 1696, by King Bhupatendra Malla. The reason visitors are attracted to this gate, is the two massive and beautifully crafted statues of lions that guard the gate. Next to the lions are the images of goddess Ugrachandi and Lord Shiva carved from stone. As visitors start moving toward the center attraction of the Durbar Square in Bhaktapur, the Fifty-Five Window Palace, they will be greeted by the Golden Gate or Sun Dhoka. As the main entrance to the palace courtyard, King Ranjit Malla spared no expense with the gate's construction in the 7th century. It is known as the most exquisite of its kind in the world and is beautifully decorated. The doors of the Golden Gate are adorned with Garuda (mythical half-man half bird) and goddess Kali, both being cared for by heavenly creatures. The Palace of Fifty-Five Windows was constructed in the year 1427 by King Yakshay Malla and renovated in the 17th century by King Bhupatindra Malla. It is considered an architectural masterpiece, constructed from wood and brick. Its most significant feature is the balcony that is home to the famous Fifty-Five windows. This is a woodcarving feat that leaves visitors awestruck.

Ranking amongst the noteworthy sights in Nepal, the Durbar Square in Bhaktapur has much more to offer than just a palace and two gates. Visitors will also be able to visit the 17th century Vatsala Temple and the Pashupati Temple. The pagoda temple, the temple of Nyatapola, was constructed in the year 1702. Standing five-storeys in height, it is the tallest pagoda in Nepal. The figurines on each floor are spectacular and each storey is individually connected to the elements of sky, wind, water, fire and earth. The art gallery displays various religious art pieces and the looming statue of King Bhupatindra Malla pays tribute to a king that was not only a ruler, but a creative mind and artist. Visitors can also look forward to viewing the Stone Temple of Batsala Devi, the Bhairavnath Temple, Dattatraya Temple and the Changu Narayan Temple. Visiting the Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a unique and rare opportunity to relive history and touch the past.

Fast Facts:
Location
Kathmandu Valley
Significance
UNESCO World Heritage Site
UNESCO Category
Cultural
UNESCO Listed
1979
Major Attraction
The Golden Gate, Fifty Five Window Palace, Nyatapola, Datatri Square and Pottery Square
  
Places To Visit :
The Lion Gate
The massive gate that dates back to 1696 AD is guarded by two huge statues of lions at the either sides. The dreadful stone image of Lord Shiva and the fearful image of Ugrachandi attract the tourists from far off.

The Golden Gate (Sun Dhoka):
The Golden gate is said to be the most beautiful and richly moulded specimen of its kind in the entire world. The door is a embellished with monsters and mythical creatures of marvellous intricacy. The Golden Gate was erected by King Ranjit Malla and is the entrance to the main courtyard of the Palace of fifty-five windows.

The Palace of Fifty Five Windows:
Keshav Narayan Chowk is the Northern-most part of the Patan Darbar palace complex, with the dominating Degutale temple next to it. This magnificent palace was built during the reign of King Yakshay Malla in AD 1427 and was subsequently remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony with fifty-five Windows, considered a unique masterpiece of woodcarving.

The Art Gallery:
The Art Gallery contains ancient paintings belonging to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various periods and descriptions. The gallery is particularly famous among researchers on Hinduism and Buddhism.

The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla:
This statue depicts King Bhupendra Malla in the act of worship and is located on a column facing the palace. This is considered the most magnificent statue among the many statues in the squares.

Nyatapola:
This is the most famous pagoda of Nepal, which was built in 1702 A.D by Bhupatendra Mala. This temple was dedicated to Siddhilaxmi, the tantric mother goddess of supreme power. Nyatapola in Newari means a five tiered symbolizing five basic elements - water, earth, fire, wind and sky.

Pashupati Temple:
According to a folklore, a Bhaktapur native who was a great devotee of Lord Pashupati, had a dream in which lord Shiva told him to build a temple for him so that he could move into it. He obeyed this command and thus the temple came into existence.

Vatsala Temple:
This 17th century stone temple, dedicated to a mother goddess, is full of intricate works on stone.

Article : NEPAL.COM, SAARC TOURISM, Photos: Madan Prasain

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