Discover Bhaktapur’s Top Attractions
Located in the eastern corner of Nepal’s spectacular Kathmandu Valley, the Newari town of Bhaktapur is a veritable treasure trove of culture and history, having been the capital of the county until the late 15th century under the Malla Dynasty. In recognition of its historical and cultural significance, Bhaktapur is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and is well worth visiting when exploring this picturesque region of Nepal.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is considered by many to be the top attraction in the town. With the renowned Palace of Fifty-Five Windows as its centerpiece, the square features ancient craftsmanship at its best. The palace was built in 1427 during the reign of King Yaksha Malla and was renovated in the 17th century by King Bhupatindra Malla. As the name suggests, the beautifully carved windows are the main distinguishing feature of this historic architectural masterpiece.
As the entrance to the main courtyard of the Palace of Fifty-Five Windows, the majestic Golden Gate (Lu Dhowka) is intricately embellished with mythical creatures. Carved figures of the goddess Kali, along with the mythical man-bird Garuda and heavenly nymphs adorn the area above the gate. Flanked by two huge lion statues, the Lion Gate dates back to 1696 and features manifestations of Shiva and his consort. Dozens of statues are found in Bhaktapur Durbar Square, among which is a statue of King Bhupatindra Malla on a column facing toward the palace. Depicting the king engaged in an act of worship, the statue is considered to be one of the square’s most outstanding.
In addition to the temples located on Bhaktapur Durbar Square, there are a number of significant temples in the town. One of these is the five-terraced pagoda-style Nyatapola Temple. On each of the temple’s five terraces are pairs of figures, with the figures of the tiger and lion goddesses Baghini and Singhini being at the top and considered to be the most powerful. Descending on the terraces below them are two griffins, two lions, two elephants and two wrestlers – Jaya Malla and Phatta Malla.
Standing at a height of 143 feet on the outskirts of the town is the world’s tallest Lord Shiva statue. Made out of steel, zinc, cement and copper, its construction work started in 2004, with the statue being inaugurated in June 2012. Lord Shiva is honored as the lord of the Hindu gods, and the statue has become a top attraction not to be missed when visiting Bhaktapur.