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Bhaktapur Sightseeing

Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon, was the capital of Kathmandu Valley once during medieval times. Today it is a treasured home of medieval art and architecture. According to a legend, this city was founded in 889 AD by the late King Anand Deb who belonged to the famed Lichhabi dynasty. The entire city is built in the shape of a ‘Khat-Kon’ or six-sided Star of David. Bhaktapur is the embodiment of the “City of Devotees”, with Hindus making up the majority of the population.

The urban sector covers an area of 4 square miles. Pottery and weaving make up its traditional industries. It is claimed that the best yogurt in the kingdom is made there, thus the city is also known as ‘juju dhou’ or ‘king curd’. Nowadays numerous cottage factories produce masks and wooden handicrafts as well. Bhaktapur is 13 kilometers due east of Kathmandu and is accessible by public transport such as buses, mini-buses, trolley-buses, cabs and auto-rickshaws.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square (World Heritage Site)
The city of Bhaktapur lies 14 km to the east of Kathmandu. Its Durbar Square is a symphony of art and architecture. The centerpiece is the 55-window palace overlooking the square, which is paved over with brick. The history of the palace dates back to the 12th century.

Datta-Traya Square
Further to the north-east of Toumadhi Square is another interesting locality called Datta-Traya Square. In fact, this is the second most important urban spot in Bhaktapur. The Datta-Traya Temple, also built by the late King Bhupetindra Malla in the 17th century, is a actually a pagoda. It has an amusing history. It is a wooden temple facing west and it is believed that the timber used for its construction was sawn out of a single tree. Thus, a fertile imagination is necessary to picture the actual size of the forest giant! The square has been named after the deity itself. The three-storied temple is dedicated to the three-headed deity of the orthodox Hindus. It symbolizes the divine triad, a spiritual combination of Brahma (the Creator), Bishnu (the Preserver) and Maheshwor (the Destroyer). The square as a whole can be regarded as a gallery of intricate wood carvings. In the mystical ambience of the square one can actually get whiffs of the aromas of bygone medieval eras. In the periphery of the temple, are monasteries, the Bhimsen Temple and a platform. There are a couple of handicraft quarters too where watching the skills of the carvers is a sheer joy. In the Pujari-Math Temple is the renowned Peacock Window facing east. A pure wooden structure, it is a masterpiece indeed. Apart from these, there exist two special museums – the Metal Craft Museum and the Wood Craft Museum.

Changu Narayan
The temple of Changu Narayan is situated on a ridge to the north of Bhaktapur. It was built in the 3rd century and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is a very ancient specimen of a Pagoda-roofed shrine – one of the earliest in the valley. It is decorated with some of the finest stone, metal and woodcraft. Most of the architectural wealth was put together during the reign of the Malla kings who ruled the Kathmandu valley from the 13th to the 18th centuries. The temple, which is thought to have been built by Bishnu Gupta and later extended by Hari Dutta Verma in 323 AD, is virtually a living museum.

The views of the surrounds are splendid. It is 8 miles due east of Kathmandu. Himalayan peaks like Manaslu (8156m), Ganesh Himal (7111m), Langtang (7246m), Choba Bhamre (6016m), Gaurishankar (7134m) and Numbur (6957m) can be clearly seen from Nagarkot. A motorable road links Nagarkot with Bhaktapur.

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