Bhaktapur (Nepali: भक्तपुर), literally translates to Place of devotees. Also known as Bhadgaon or Khwopa (Newar: ख्वप Khwopa), it is an ancient Newar city in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, about 13 km from the capital city, Kathmandu. It is located in Bhaktapur District in the Bagmati Zone.
Bhaktapur was the largest of the three Newar kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley, and was the capital of Nepal during the great ‘Malla Kingdom’ until the second half of the 15th century. Today it is the third largest city in the Kathmandu Valley, with a population of more than 80,000, of which the vast majority are still Newars. Historically more isolated than the other two kingdoms, Kathmandu and Patan, Bhaktapur has a distinctly different form of Nepal Bhasa language.
Bhaktapur has the best preserved palace courtyards and old city center in Nepal, and is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and stone artworks. This is supported by the restoration and preservation efforts of German-funded Bhaktapur Development Project (BDP).
The city is famous for special type of curd called "Ju Ju(king) dhau(curd). It is experienced by the curd makers that the taste of curd prepared in this location cannot be found elsewhere all over Nepal.
KHWOPA is the ancient name of Bhaktapur. The term "Bhaktapur" (Sanskrit/Nepali: भक्तपुर) refers to "The City Of Devotees". This Bhaktapur City is also known as "Khwopa" (Nepal Bhasa: ख्वप) or "Bhadgaon" (Nepali:भादगाँउ) or "Ancient Newari Town" throughout the Kathmandu Valley. "Kh0apa" actually refers to the masks which are believed to have been worn by gods and goddesses. Bhaktapur is popular for different forms of mask dances based on lives of different deities and therefore, it was named "Khwapa" which later came to become just "Khwopa," which is also near to meaning masks.
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 that is itself a world to explore for tourists.
From time immemorial it lay on the trade route between Tibet and India. This position on the main caravan route made the town rich and prosperous.
At the time of the 2001 Nepal census it had a population of 72,543. The male inhabitants of this city wear a special type of cap called the Bhadgaunle Topi Nyatapola.
LAYAKU (DURBAR SQUARE)
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and shikhara-style temples, mostly dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses grouped around a 55-window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal. The golden effigies of the kings perched on the top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in every place — struts, lintels, uprights, tympanums, gateways and windows — all seem to form a well-orchestrated symphony.
The royal palace was originally situated at Dattaraya square and was only later moved to the Durbar square location. The square in Bhaktapur was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1934 and hence appears more spacious than the ones at Kathmandu and Patan.
Nyatapola Temple is a 5-story pagoda located in Bhaktapur, Nepal. The temple was erected by Nepali King Bhupatindra Malla during a 5-month period from late 1701 into 1702. It is the temple of Siddha Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity.
BHAIRAB NATH TEMPLE
This is another pagoda temple of lord Bhairab, the dreadful aspect of Lord Shiva. It stands a short distance away from the temple of Nyatapola and was originally constructed by King Jagat Jyoti Malla on a modest scale. It was later remodelled by King Bhupatindra Malla, a zealous lover of the arts, into what it is now a three-storeyed temple.
The temple of Dattatraya is as old as the Palace of Fifty-five Windows. Consecrated by King Yakshya Malla in 1427 AD, this temple, according to popular belief, was built out of the trunk of a single tree. It was subsequently repaired and renovated by King Vishwa Malla in 1458 AD.
Just beside temple is a monastery (Math) with exquisitely carved peacock windows. These famous windows were carved during the reign of King Vishwa Malla. The monastery is full of artistic facades of latticed windows and engraved columns.
CHANGU NARAYAN TEMPLE
Changu Narayan is an ancient Hindu temple located near the village of Changunarayan in the Kathmandu Valley on top of a hill at the eastern end of the valley. It is 6 kilometres to the north of Bhakathapur and 22 kilometres from Kathmandu. The temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples of the valley, and is believed to have been constructed first in the 4th century. Changu Narayan is the name of Vishnu, and the temple is dedicated to him. A stone slab discovered in the vicinity of the temple dates to the 5th century, and is the oldest such stone inscription discovered in Nepal. It was rebuilt after the old temple was devastated. Many stone sculptures here date to the Licchavi period. Changu Narayan Temple is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The temple is a double-roofed structure where the idol of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayana is deified. The exquisitely built temple has intricate roof struts showing multi-armed Tantric deities. A kneeling image of Garuda (dated to the 5th century), the vahana or vehicle of Vishnu with a snake around its neck, faces the temple. The gilded door depicts stone lions guarding the temple. Gilded windows also flank the door. A conch and a disc, symbols of Vishnu, are carved on the two pillars at the entrance. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple.
TA PUKHA (SIDDHA POKHARI)
Ta Pukhu (Siddha Pokhari) is a big rectangular water pond near the main city gate. It was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla in the early 15th century and is associated with a number of myths. From this spot a wide range of snowy peaks are visible on clear days.
KAILASHNATH MAHADEV STATUE
Kailashnath Mahadev is the World’s Tallest Lord Shiva statue. The height of this statue is 143 feet high and is situated 20 km from Kathmandu, epal. The statues construction work was started in 2004 and was completed in 2012. The statue’s inauguration took place on the 21st of June ’12. This statue stands on the 32nd position in the list of all statues by height in the whole world. It has been made of copper, cement, zinc, and steel. To make this gigantic structure possible there were many professional workers and statue makers from India.
Bhaktapur is also known as city of festivals and celebrations. The city celebrates festivals each month starting from new year festival to the Holi puni at the end of the year.
– Bisket Jatra (New year festival)
This ancient annual festival of bhaktapur takes place at the New Year of the Bikram Sambat calendar. A few days before the New Year, usually at Chaitra 27 or Chaitra 28, if 31 days in month, the goddess ‘bhadrakali’ and the god ‘bhairab’ are enshrined in their raths, or immense chariots & pulled through the narrow streets of Bhaktapur by crowds of young men.
The chariots rest at certain time-honored places in the city and people come out to throw offerings of flower, rice, coins and red sindur powder. On the last day of the old year a towering wooden pole known as ‘ lyesing dha: or lingo’ is erected at the edge of town. Long banners hang from the pole, symbolizing snakes – Nag and nagini. On new year’s day, the erected pole is brought down symbolizing victory over evil! People enjoy New year day along with victory over evils. On baisakh 5, the chariot is again pulled to narrow street of bhaktapur and brought to its origin place, Taumadhi square marking end of Bisket Jatra.
– Kumar Khasti (Sithi Nakha)
Before modern piping system, wells and kuwas were the basis for water supply in bhaktapur. In this auspicious day, people clean wells and worship Naag favoring good fall in monsoon. They celebrate by eating delicious delicacy like bara and chatamari.
– Gathamaga charya
Gathamaga is made up of straw that symbols a devil. Locals make gathamaga in their locality and burn fire to remove devils of their locality. It is also said that mosquitos loses its one leg in this day.
– Sa: Paaru (Gai Jatra)
The celebration of Gai Jatra Bhaktapur is interesting among Kathmandu and Lalitpur. In this day, Tall bamboo poles wrapped in cloth and topped horn of straw and an umbrella is carried around the town in memory of dead. The photo of dead is hung in this pole called Ta macha.
Also a colorful procession known as Ghing tang gishi is main attraction of this festival. People enjoy and dance in beats of music and play with stick in accordance to the beat. People decorate themselves in mask, paints and even in female outfits.
Gunla is the name of 10th month of Nepal Era calendar. It is sacred month dedicated to Lord Buddha celebrated in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur.
But In Bhaktapur, last day of Gunla Panchadan is celebrated differently. The Five Buddhas are brought to Taumadhi square accompanied with Gunla Baja, a special musical instrument played only in Gunla and Buddhas are rounded around bhaktapur town.
– Pulu Kisi (Indra Jatra)
The son of Lord of heaven, is believed to have been kidnapped by a devil named Maisasur who then tied Indra’s son in a pole and killed. Indra was shocked to hear his son’s death and sent an elephant, pulukisi to find and kill Maisasur. But legend says Pulukisi couldn’t find maisur till date. This jatra is a play to that legendary story where pulu kisi is rounded the town to search for Maisasur.
– Sithi Nakha
In Bhaktapur a palanquin with an image of the hindu goddess Bhagawati is carried in colorful procession through Nyatapol square this day.
– Dhanya purnima (Yomari purnima)
In this day Farmers of Kathmandu valley worship to Annapurna, the Goddess of grains, for good rice harvest and enjoy feast after all the hard work of the season. Yomari is the chief item on the menu in this day. So is called Yomari puni.
– Maghe sankranti (Ghya-chaku sankranti) (Makar Sankranti)
This festival marks the winter solstice and Newars partake of a feast. The days special menu include butter (ghyu), molasses (chaku) and yam.
In Bhaktapur, on this auspicious day samyak Dan is performed by Buddhist. The shakyas and Bajracharya gather in a samyak ground near Napukhu pond accompanied with panchabuddhas and samyak buddhas. They are offered chaku balls and rice. Bhaktapur is the only one in valley that conducts samyak Dan once in a year.
People regard this day as propitious day for starting new enterprise. Devotee throng Devi shrine to seek blessing. In Bhaktapur, People visit Sashwo:dega in this auspicious day where the idol of Buddhist deity Mahamanjushree is kept. Hindus regard it as saraswoti and worship whereas Buddhist worship it as Manjushree.
IN POPULARE CULTURE
Portions of the movie Little Buddha starring Keanu Reeves and Bridget Fonda were filmed in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
The Magnitude 7.8 2015 Nepal earthquake that struck on 25 April 2015 damaged 116 heritages in the historic town of Bhaktapur. Of them, 67 were completely damaged while 49 suffered from partial damages. The quake has badly damaged the Durbar square, a significant heritage site included in the UNESCO world heritage list. The main premises of Taleju Temple here also witnessed damages in the disaster.
The building of the municipality office, temples of Rameshwor, Batsala, Narayan, Siddilaxmi, Biswaroopa, Siddiganesh, Sweetbhairav, Siva Mahadev, Degaina, sattal, pati and pujari mathas were damaged by the quake.
The reconstruction and new construction of the damaged heritages will cost over Rs 293 million, underlining the need of starting the renovation soon.
The Magnitude 8.4 (1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake) demolished several buildings that were never rebuilt, however they can be seen in the earlier drawings. Chyasilin Mandap has been rebuilt.
Discovered on Flickr (asienman ) for this terrifying evil building. Original date: 2013-09-25 00:18:47
Tagged: , Nepal , Bhaktapur , Bhadgaon , Newari , World Heritage Site , UNESCO , asienman-photography