Bhaktapur is a beautiful and culturally rich city of Nepal which is at a distance of 15 km from Kathmandu city. Bhaktapur city used to be the capital city of Nepal during Malla reign. Bhaktapur is one of the major tourist destinations in Nepal. There are lots of temples, idols, palaces, historical monuments, traditional houses, ancient architectures in Bhaktapur and many of them are enlisted in UNESCO world heritage sites. People of Bhaktapur have still preserved the ancient traditional culture and rituals which can be seen in their daily life activities mainly in the local Newar community of Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is also known for its various festivals that people of diverse group celebrate with harmony and integrity. Every festival has a certain story, myths, message, value and importance behind it that makes the festival popular and extreme need to preserve it. Among numerous places in Bhaktapur, there are certain places that you won’t want to miss. Here’s mentioned 10 amazing places in Bhaktapur you must visit and know about it.
55 Windowed Palace
The most attractive palace, archaeologically and artistically, is the 55 Windowed Palace situated in Bhaktapur. The palace has 55 windows that’s why the name 55 windowed palace. King Bhupendra Malla built this palace in the 17th century which stands still till now. The 3-story palace is carved with stunning arts and various sculptures.
Tallest Lord Shiva statue in Sanga
The world’s tallest statue of Lord Shiva is located in Sanga, Bhaktapur. It is 108 ft. tall and covers a land of 72 ropanies. On the foot of the statue is a park and beautiful garden where people can come to hang out. This place is one of the popular tourist destinations in Nepal.
Nyatapola temple is a five-storied temple of goddess Siddhilaxmi. The temple is built in Pagoda style by King Bhupatindra Malla during the 17th century. It is said that the construction of this temple completed within few months. This architecturally rich temple is considered to be the tallest temple and one of the tallest pagodas to be existing since many years in Nepal. People are allowed to go to the top of the temple through a series of stairs but people are strictly prohibited to view the idol of Goddess Siddhi Laxmi.
Taleju Bhawani Temple
There are three Taleju Bhawani Temple in Nepal, one being in Bhaktapur and other two in Kathmandu and Lalitpur. It’s the temple of sacred deity Taleju Bhawani, a goddess with four heads and ten arms. It is one of the ancient temples of Nepal built during Malla dynasty. Only the kings used to worship Taleju Bhawani but now the temple is open for all the Hindus. The golden gate is the entrance to the Taleju Bhawani Temple. The gate is artistically attractive and is made of gold. The temple is three-storied and is built in Pagoda style. Ancient artistic sculptures can be seen on the wooden window and archways. There are many myths and stories related to Taleju Bhawani and Malla kings in the history.
Changu Narayan Temple
Changu Narayan Temple, the temple of Lord Vishnu is one of the most ancient temples of Nepal built during Lichhavi dynasty around 3000 years ago. The two-storied temple is embellished with the artistic sculpture of ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The temple has four doors in every four directions and each door is guarded by a pair of stone lions. A huge statue of ‘Garuda’, the vehicle mount of Lord Vishnu kneels at the west facing the temple. The history of Nepal is engraved on the stone at Changu Narayan Temple.
The Dattatreya Temple was built by the Malla King Yakshya Malla in the 15th century. The god Dattatreya is believed to be the merged form of three lords: Bhrahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwar. This three-storied temple is built in Pagoda style and is believed to be constructed by the wood of a single tree. The peacock carved window of Dattatreya is a masterpiece and is cited as the ‘Mona Lisa of Nepal’. The Dattatreya Temple is crowded with female devotees on the occasion of ‘Teej’ festival in the month of Shrawan and Bhadra.
Constructed in the early 15th century by King Yakshya Malla, Siddha Pokhari is also known as ‘Indra Daha’. On the next day of Indra Jatra, an assemblage of the devotees can be seen. They take the holy dip in the Siddhi Pokhari and offer oil lamps to the goddess Indrayani. Other time, the place is really quiet and peaceful and mountain view is also visible from here. People come here to hang out as well. You can feed the fish in the pond too. There are small shops selling fish food.
Doleshwor Mahadev Temple
In the southeastern part of Bhaktapur, you can find the temple of Doleshwor Mahadev. It is believed the Doleshwor Mahadev is the head part of the holy Kedarnath which located in Uttarakhand, India. There’s an ancient story behind it. Pandavs after winning the Kurukshetra war, sorrowed the loss of innocent lives in the war so, they went to Kedarnath to seek forgiveness but Lord Shiva refused to forgive them. He disguised as a bull to escape from there but the Pandavas realized the bull to be Lord Shiva and pulled the tail of the bull in order to stop it from running. But suddenly, the head of the bull got separated from its torso and is said to land in Bhaktapur. It is believed that the visit to Kedarnath is unfruitful without visiting Doleshwor Mahadev and belongs to one of the ‘Char Dham’.
Besides the 55 windowed temple lies the Bhairavnath temple where the idol of the head of the Bhairav is worshipped. According to the historical records, God Bhairav of Kashi, India used to visit Bhaktapur in the disguise of a man to observe the Lingo festival. The then King on learning that commanded his army to seize him. While Bhairav tried to escape, he was beheaded. His torso managed to escape which is worshipped in Kashi, India and the head is worshipped in Bhaktapur. The Lingo festival is still celebrated with full of rejoicing by pulling the chariot of Bhairav every year in the month of Chaitra.
In the midst of westernizing, the old and traditional way of pottery is still surviving. Bhaktapur is known for its preserved traditional culture and art of living, and making clay pots is one of them. People at Bhaktapur can still be seen making clay pots and drying them at Potter’s square. There are numerous shops at Bhaktapur selling these earthen pots and many more structures made up of clay. You can see local people of Bhaktapur making the clay pot, drying them in the sunlight, painting them with red mud, and then roasting them in the fire. The resulted product is then sold to the customers. The Pottery Square is filled with such daily life activity of local people and it’s really fascinating to watch the process.