Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Newa architecture at its best

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the plaza in front of the royal palace of the old Bhaktapur Kingdom, 1400 m above sea level. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the current town of Bhaktapur also known as Bhadgaon which is 13 km east of Kathmandu. The complex consists of four distinct squares – Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square. The whole area is informally known as bhaktapur Durbar Square.

The Durbar square is surrounded by spectacular architecture that vividly showcases the skills of the Newari artists and craftsmen, over several centuries. The royal palace was originally situated at Dattatraya square and was only later moved to the Durbar Square location.

The Mini Pashupatinath Temple in Bhaktapur Durbar square is a replica of the original one in Kathmandu. Also known as the Yaksheswara Mahadev Temple, it was built by King Yaksha Malla in either 1475 or 1482. The legend is that Lord Shiva asked the king to build the Pashupatinath Temple and so he did. The temple contains several graphic erotic carvings in the pillars and roof struts.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Vatsala Devi Temple and the Yaksheshwara Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Vatsala Devi Temple and the Yaksheshwara Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple, wood carved decorations
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple, wood carved decorations
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple, wood carved decorations
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple, wood carved decorations
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Yeaksheshwara Temple Details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Yeaksheshwara Temple Details

The Durbar Square houses the 55 window palace which was constructed by King Jitamitra Malla and was home to the royalty until 1769. It is now a national gallery. The main attraction is the golden door, the most beautiful and richly molded specimen of its kind in the entire world. Close by is the golden gate which leads into Mulchok Court which is home to the Taleju Temple. This temple like other in the main towns of Kathmandu valley is dedicated to the goddess Taleju Bhawani and includes shrines to both the Taleju Bhawani and Kumari.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square - The Golden Gate
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – The Golden Gate
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - The National Art Gallery
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – The National Art Gallery
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - The guardian figure at the entrance of the 55 window palace
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – The guardian figure at the entrance of the 55 window palace
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, worshiping the Goddess Taleju on a column in front of the Golden Gate
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, worshiping the Goddess Taleju on a column in front of the Golden Gate
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, worshiping the Goddess Taleju on a column in front of the Golden Gate
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, worshiping the Goddess Taleju on a column in front of the Golden Gate
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, worshiping the Goddess Taleju on a column in front of the Golden Gate
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, worshiping the Goddess Taleju on a column in front of the Golden Gate
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Narasimha in front of the 55 window palace
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Narasimha in front of the 55 window palace
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Another stone carving
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Another stone carving
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - An ornamental door
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – An ornamental door
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Naga Pokhari, the royal water pool
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Naga Pokhari, the royal water pool
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - The 55 window palace details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – The 55 window palace details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - The 55 window palace details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – The 55 window palace details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - The Golden Gate seen from inside
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – The Golden Gate seen from inside
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - The 55 window palace details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – The 55 window palace details

Nyatapola Temple is a five storey pagoda, built by King Phupatindra Malla in 1702 and dedicated to the Goddess Siddhi Lakshmi. 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. 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 in each level are supposed to be 10 times as strong as the one on the next lower level. The temple is the tallest temple in the Kathmandu Valley and stands 100 feet high. It was so well designed that it withstood a powerful 8.3 earthquake in 1934.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Nyatapola Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Nyatapola Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Stairs to the Nyatapola Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Stairs to the Nyatapola Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Nyatapola Temple details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Nyatapola Temple details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Nyatapola Temple, Bhagini Goddess
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Nyatapola Temple, Bhagini Goddess
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Nyatapola Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Nyatapola Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Nyatapola Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Nyatapola Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Nyatapola Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Nyatapola Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Nyatapola Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Nyatapola Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Nyatapola Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Nyatapola Temple, details

The Dattatraya Temple 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.

Bhaktapur Durbar Squar - The Dattatraya Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Squar – The Dattatraya Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Squar - The Dattatraya Temple, close up of the conch shell the symbol of Vishnu
Bhaktapur Durbar Squar – The Dattatraya Temple, close up of the conch shell the symbol of Vishnu
Bhaktapur Durbar Squar - The Dattatraya Temple, close up of Chakra, the symbol of Vishun
Bhaktapur Durbar Squar – The Dattatraya Temple, close up of Chakra, the symbol of Vishun
Bhaktapur Durbar Squar - Garuda on a column in front of Dattatraya Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Squar – Garuda on a column in front of Dattatraya Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Squar - Guardian statues in front of Dattatraya Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Squar – Guardian statues in front of Dattatraya Temple

The Siddhi Lakshmi Temple is a Sikhara style temple next to 55 Window Palace. The steps up to the temple are flanked by male and female attendants.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square - The Siddhi Lakshmi Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – The Siddhi Lakshmi Temple

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 pilgrims.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Chayslin Dega
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Chayslin Dega
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Chayslin Dega with the bronze lions in front of it
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Chayslin Dega with the bronze lions in front of it
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Chayslin Dega, the details of the bronze lion
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Chayslin Dega, the details of the bronze lion

The Vatsala Devi Temple is a small temple in right in front of the Golden Gate. This Sikhara style temple completely constructed in sandstone and is built on three stage plinth. It is dedicated to Batsala Devi, a form of Goddess Durga. The stone temple shows many intricate carvings. It is most famous for its bells.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Vatsala Devi Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Vatsala Devi Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Close up of Vatsala Devi Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Close up of Vatsala Devi Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Taleju Bell near Vatsala Devi Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Taleju Bell near Vatsala Devi Temple

The Bhairabnath Temple is dedicated to the dreadful aspect of Lord Shiva. It stands a short distance away from the Nyatapola Temple. This three storied temple was originally constructed by King Jagaj Jyoti Malla and remodelled by King Bhupatindra Malla.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Bhairabnath Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Bhairabnath Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Bhairabnath Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Bhairabnath Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Bhairabnath Temple, details
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Bhairabnath Temple, details

More views from the Bhaktapur Durbar Square…

Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Badrinatha Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Badrinatha Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Fasi Dega Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Fasi Dega Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Kedarnatha Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Kedarnatha Temple
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Lion Figures at the gate
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Lion Figures at the gate
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Detail of the lion figure
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Detail of the lion figure
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Potters Area
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Potters Area
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Potters area
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Potters area
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Potters area
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Potters area
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Potters area
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Potters area
Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Peacock Window
Bhaktapur Durbar Square – Peacock Window
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square

A major earthquake on 25 April 2015 had badly damaged many buildings in the Bhaktapur Durbar square. The mini Pashupatinath temple lost its roof, while the Vatsala Devi Temple was demolished by the earthquake.

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