Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Museum of Medieval Art and Architecture
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a medieval art and architecture museum with woodcarving and pagoda temples dedicated to various gods and goddesses.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square comes together with historical temples, buildings, and ancient monuments that visualize the medieval period. Also called Khwopa or Bhadgaon by the Newar community, embodies both Pagoda-styled and Shikhar-styled temples. In 1979 AD, UNESCO enlisted it as a World Heritage Sites from Kathmandu.
This Durbar Square of Kathmandu Valley is famous for the Taleju Temple and the Big Bell. There are also monuments like Nyatapola Temple, 55 Jhyale durbar, Bhairavnath Temple, Golden Gate, and The National Art Museum which carry incredible significance. The monuments in this Durbar Square were built using bricks, woods, and stones.
One of the unique and major attractions of Bhaktapur Durbar Square is 55 Jhyale durbar. It means the palace with 55 windows. It is also famous for the pottery and weaving industry.
As for Bhaktapur, the very first thing that people hear is to try out the infamous ‘Juju Dhau’ that literally translates to ‘King Curd’. Roaming around this medieval place with the sweet and notably famous curd adds authenticity to the experience.
Location from Kathmandu
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is 15 km to the east of Kathmandu Valley. In public transportation, the destination is reachable in 45 mins to an hour from the Ratna Park bus stop. The durbar square is a walking distance from Bhaktapur bus stop.
The best time to visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square would be in the morning if it is just a regular day. On the day of ‘Gai Jatra’ which falls in Late August or early September, the durbar square is worth visiting. It's one of the biggest festivals in Bhaktapur, people dress up as artificial cows or walk in a parade. Seeing the liveliness walk through Durbar Square is a sight to see on this day.
History of Bhaktapur Durbar Square
With little evidence, it is said that King Yakshya Malla built Bhaktapur Durbar Square in 1427 AD. To save Bhaktapur from being invaded, he cleverly constructed Bhaktapur Durbar Square alongside the city. Since he was a religious man, he built many temples out of which the Yakshesvara temple also resembles the Pashupatinath temple of Kathmandu.
But it was after the reign of King Bhupatindra Malla that the architecture of Bhaktapur Durbar Square became its finest. That is why, even if King Yakshya Malla is believed to have built Durbar Square, the credit of its prosperity is given to King Bhupatindra Malla.
Things to do in Bhaktapur Durbar Square
This incredible powerhouse of the architectural structure holding the art and beauty of Newari history cannot be passed without doing these things on the way. These activities are a must do activities at Bhaktapur Durbar Square;
- Taste Juju Dhau
- Explore the Pottery Square to see handmade pottery live
- Witness the Taleju Temple
- Visit National Art Museum
- Observe the Peacock Window
Taste Juju Dhau
Tasting Juju Dhau is an absolute must for those who visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square. People visit from all over to taste this curd and it is so famous that it is exported to Kathmandu and sold too.
Explore the Pottery Square to see handmade pottery live
Being one of the two major traditional industries of Bhaktapur, the handmade pottery left to air dry is out in the open. Witnessing the live making of the pots and claywares portrays itself under the sun literally. This would be direct eye contact with the Newari traditional occupation handed down from generations. This would be as close of a possible look, so one should definitely explore the Pottery Square. It is located on the south of Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
Witness the Taleju Temple
Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple, but anyone can witness the Taleju temple only from the outside. The carvings on the outer parts of the temple entrance are so intricate and eye-catching that one can imagine how incredible the actual temple could be within. Since the temple is one of the major attractions of Bhaktapur Durbar Square, it is worth a visit even if it is up to its golden gate.
Visit the National Art Museum
The National Art Museum collectively has three museums within its horizon- Art Museum, Wood Carving Museum, Brass, and Bronze Museum. With one ticket at the main entrance, one can visit all the three museums. It has the old manuscripts, Thangka paintings, detailed carvings on the building windows, doors, pillars, and the historical variety of handmade pots on display.
Observe the Peacock Window
Considered the “Mona Lisa” of Nepal, the ‘Peacock Window’ showcases the marvelous Nepalese woodcraft work. The Peacock Window is crafted with a large peacock in the center with its spread feathers forming a window with spaces left to see outside. It is surrounded by little carved birds as well.