Bhaktapur, a City of Devotee :Bhaktapur Durbar Square is one of the former royal palaces in the history of Nepal. It was founded on the 12th century with its own glorious history. This is one of the seven monumental zones as the world heritage sites listed by UNESCO. The Durbar Squares are the historical cores of three towns within Kathmandu. The meaning of Durbar is palace and squares were developed around the palace along with a series of important temples and shrines. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is known as the ‘City of Devotees’ as an open museum. This city is full of masterpieces of wood works, stone carvings, terra-cotta images and metal works. This is very popular as the city of 55 window palace which is a complete example of classical masterpiece of wood carving. This city is proud to have the tallest temple of Nepal. The name of the temple is Nyathapola. It is unique with its 5 roofs and certainly one of the most astonishing Hindu temples lying in the south face of the square. In fact, this area is tightly woven into daily life, rituals and most importantly this place is famous for the carnival that is called Bisket Jatra. On the other hand Bhaktapur is famous for its traditional pottery. The aged old craft has survived the calls for modernization and today it enhances Bhaktapur’s value as a city of heritage. This area is located in a slopping open space to the south west of five storied temple of Nyathapola. The street is lined with small shops selling countless items made in baked clay and pave metals are filled with black clay items drying those in sunlight. The popular item of pottery square is piggy bank that is very popular among children. On the other hand, Bhaktapur is familiar for curd that is called ‘Juju Dhau’ in local dialect.
Agriculture has played a vital role in the daily life of farmers. As the cycle of season changes, the golden heaps of rice and vivid red chilies can be seen in the farmlands of Bhaktapur. People, working with clay pots arrest the visitors at every turn in Bhaktapur city. Most of the people in this town are farmers. More than 60% of the total population spends their time close to nature and her whims. They are engaged in subsistence farming with a possible second income from crafts and construction works during off season. These farmers have a long tradition of experience of getting the best out of it. The soil is so fertile and therefore their crops are said to be five times bigger than the crops in the hills of Nepal.
It is generally acknowledged that the main objective of meditation is to achieve salvation. It implies that with the help meditation, one can form a wonderful mindset for the attainment of freedom from the entire stages of physical existence. Indeed, when you unleash yourself from the hullabaloo of the physical world and happen to enter this township of Bhaktapur, you will start to feel saintly and simple liveliness foregrounding the scenes. Though displaced politically in terms of its centrality, Bhaktapur has been established as the capital of culture and tantric system of reverence of God. They were and still are the centre of public life in the cities. Bhaktapur is literally popular as ‘the city of devotees’ for its elegant art, fabulous culture, colorful festivals, traditional dance and typical Newari life style. Tourists visiting Nepal feel their visit incomplete unless they get a mesmerizing glimpse of this ancient city known as the ‘city of culture.’ Bhaktapur is purely a Hindu town than the other two cities of Kathmandu. Of all the cities in Kathmandu valley, this is the most original one in the sense that its old look is well preserved. With its wealth of carved wooden frames and doors, most of the places in this town are beautiful. Bhaktapur is the least affected town by the passing of time. It is about half an hour drive from Kathmandu through the highway that links Tibet. While going on by coach, the views of Himalayan peaks to the northern side attract the visitors. The view of the snow mountain will remind of a Tibetan painting with field in the foreground with the low green lustrous mountains providing the frame in which some of the snow capped mountains seem to be mounted in. By the 17th century, Bhaktapur Durbar Square became one of the three palaces of the Mall royal family. This city contains innumerable temples and other architectural show pieces along with stone carvings, terra-cotta images, metal works etc.
The Durbar Square of Bhaktapur is smaller than those of Patan and Kathmandu. The square however still holds the mesmerizing palaces, pagodas, shikhara style temples and Buddhist monasteries with exclusive architecture. Approaching durbar square through the huge white gate, one can notice a pair of lion statues on the left at the entrance guarding the former royal complex. Between them, there are two master pieces of stone sculpture of Bhairav and his consort, an angry manifestation of lord Shiva and Parbati. It has been told that the unfortunate sculptor had his hand cut off afterwards to prevent him from duplicating this master piece. There is a group of temples on the right side of the entrance that represent the four holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites Kedarnath, Gopinath, Rameshwor and Badrinath. There are so many innumerable temples and other architectural show pieces. Some of them are Golden Gate, Picture Gallery, 55 Window Palace, Erotic Temple etc. The golden gate is the main entrance of royal palace. The golden gate is generally agreed to be the single most important piece of art in the whole Kathmandu valley. This magnificent gilt gate way and palace was built in the middle of 18th century. The remarkable craftsmanship is considered by many to be finest example of metal work in Nepal. After entering the gate, you will see the Taleju temple and royal bath. Taleju Bhawani is the family deity of the Malla dynasty. Just next to the Golden Gate stands a palace with 55 windows. As the name suggests, the palace was made with 55 curved windows. This was the main palace of the dynasty when it was a separate kingdom. The carved windows of the 2nd floor are considered the finest examples of wood carving produced during the reign of the prodigious king. Above each window are wooden tympanums depicting gods and goddesses. There is the most eye catching temple in the square which is known as Yaksheswor Mahadev. This temple was built in the 15th century with erotic carving on the roof struts. Taumadi Square is the next place of interest after the main square. Tamaudi is dominated by two temples of unusual grandeur. This place is tightly woven into daily life and rituals. The square is dominated by many mesmerizing temples and the other medieval architecture such as Nyathapola Temple. This is the tallest temple of Nepal. This five storied temple is certainly one of Nepal’s most stupendous monuments. This is the best example of Newari temple architecture. The temple was founded in the 18th century by King Bhupatindra Malla, a great builder who commissioned an impressive number of structures. Its design is elegant construction was so well done that even the earthquake of 1934 couldn’t demolish it. Bhaktapur is famous for its traditional pottery industry. The age old craft has survived the calls for modernization and today it enhances Bhaktapur’s value as a city of heritage. The most promising destination in this area is Pottery Square. It is in sloping space with small shops selling innumerable items produced in baked clay and the pavements are filled with black clay items drying in the strong sunlight. Like potters all over Nepal, the men of Bhaktapur use primitive techniques. Nowadays, those heavy old wooden wheels have been replaced by weighted truck tires that spin faster. A fifteen minute casual walk to the north east of pottery square is a fascinating place called Dattatraya Square. It is a fantastic walk through the brick paved road with tiny shops selling Newari sweets, brass and toys. The route passes various ancient water tanks and temples. Dattatraya square is used not only for religious purpose but it is also used by local farmers to dry their agricultural products like paddy, chilly and wheat. Dattatraya is full of monumental master pieces of wood carvings. It is very popular for ornate monasteries known as Math. It is like another large square that marks the old centre town. More notably, this square conceals Nepal’s most celebrated master piece of wood carving museum. It is linked by richly decorated Math. This Pujari Math is known as the house of priest. The Pujari Math was built in the 15th century which is famed for its peacock window. Until the 20th century, the caravans from Tibet used to bring lots of tributes along with donations. In addition, on the other side of the lane, one can view green garlic, corns and other types of vegetables hanging from the window of peasants for drying. Bhaktapur is a well preserved city. It seems like a big village than a small city. Every corner of Bhaktapur is full of new wonder with narrow alley, a sudden vibrant courtyard is suitable for wandering alone to feel the real village life of this smaller city.