Bhaktapur district, a part of Bagmati zone, is one of
the seventy-five districts of Nepal. The district, with Bhaktapur as its
district headquarters, covers an area of 119 km² and has a population
(2001) of 225,461.
Baktapur also Bhadgaon or Khwopa is an ancient Newar
town in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. It is located in
Bhaktapur District in the Bagmati Zone. It is the third largest city in
Kathmandu valley and was once the capital of Nepal during the great Malla
Kingdom until the second half of the 15th century.
It is the home of traditional art and architecture,
historical monuments and craft works, magnificent windows, pottery and
weaving industries, excellent temples, beautiful ponds, rich local
customs, culture, religion, festivals, musical mystic and so on. Bhaktapur
is still an untouched as well as preserved ancient city, which in fact, is
itself a world to explore for tourist.
From time immemorial it lay on the trade route between Tibet/China and
India. This position on the main caravan route made the town rich and
prosperous: each autumn the traders from Tibet came with sheep ("changra"),
fitting nicely with the main Hindu holidays, 'Mohni' (Parbatiya: Dashain;
Hindi: Dussehra), when nearly everyone in Nepal sacrificed male animals to
the goddess Durga. On the return trek the traders brought back to Tibet
grains, sugar or Buddhist scriptures.
This prosperity fueled the cultural life: ie. the temple builders
developed a Pagoda-style, spreading it through Tibet all the way to Japan.
Finest of all is the five-tiered, heaven piercing Nyatapole.
The rivalry between the 3 kingdoms of the Kathmandu valley extended to
include arts and architecture. Some of the fabulous pieces of work can be
found in the Durbar square area which is surrounded by temples and
palaces. Most of the buildings were constructed during the 15th century.
Bhaktapur is a popular day-trip destination for tourists visiting
Kathmandu. Lately, with more air-pollution in Kathmandu, more and more
tourists are staying in Bhaktapur for a few days, before arrangements for
trekking are finished. For foreign tourists the entry fee is NPR 750/$10;
for nationals of SAARC-countries and China the fee is NPR 50.
In addition, although Mount Everest (i.e. Sagarmatha) is breathtaking and
the landscape of Lord Buddha (i.e. Founder of Peace) mysterious, tourists
visiting Nepal still don't feel their sojourn complete unless they have
experienced Bhaktapur, Nepal's ancient "City of Culture".
Pottery is one of the main tourist attractions in Bhaktapur besides the
Attraction of Bhaktapur City
Five Squares - Darbar Square(World Heritage Site), Taumadhi Square,
Dattatreya Square, Pottery Square First, Pottery Square Second
Popular Places - Changu Narayan(World Heritage Site), Nagarkot, Surya
Vinayak, Kamal Vinayak, Siddha Pokhari, Chonga Ganesh etc.
Devine Miracolus Vision - Largest Shiva lingum, Golden Spout and Gate,
Magnificent windows etc.
Bhaktapur's main square, Durbar Square, houses the 55-window Palace which
was constructed by King Bhupatindra Malla and was home to royalty until
1769. It is now a National Gallery. Close by is the Golden Gate which
leads into Mulchok Court which is home to the Taleju Temple. This temple,
like others in the main towns of the Kathmandu Valley, is dedicated to the
goddess Taleju Bhawani and includes shrines to both the Taleju Bhawani and
Kumari. Entrance to the temple is restricted to Hindus and the living
goddess strictly cannot be photographed.
The Durbar square is surrounded by spectacular architecture and vividly
showcases the skills of the Newari artists and craftsmen over several
centuries. The royal palace was originally situated at Dattaraya square
and was only later moved to the Durbar sqaure location.
The Durbar square at Bhaktapur was severely damaged by an earthquake in
1934 and hence appears very spacious than the other ones located at
Kathmandu and Pathan.