Bhaktapur Durbar Square or Palace Dubar in Bhaktapur is a historic square with a large number of monuments listed as World Heritage by Unesco. Unmissable site of the Kathmandu Valley, this large square formed of four small squares (Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square, and Pottery Square) is a real open-air museum.
Capital of the Kingdom of Grand Malla until the 15th century AD, Bhaktapur was founded in the 12th century by King Ananda Malla, but it was not until the early 18th century that the city took its current form. It was during this period that many of its most prestigious monuments were built by the leaders of the Malla Dynasty.
Bhaktapur square and all its vestiges were strongly affected during the major earthquake of 1934. The recent earthquake of 2015 weakened the structure of some of the last monuments still standing, so much that unfortunately some of the major historical vestiges of Bhaktapur Durbar Square collapsed, destroying with it hundreds of years of history.
The entire Bhaktapur Durbar Square complex is a fabulous combination of ancient arts, cultural traditions, religious values, and prestigious architectural works. The square reveals all the identity of the city and marks the spirits by the profusion of historical vestiges. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is registered in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. It is, therefore, no surprise that Durbar Square occupies the top of the ranking of the main tourist sites in the Kathmandu Valley.
To better understand the attractiveness of this open-air museum, you have to look at the different palaces and temples that surround it. Information on some of the most important places within the square can be found below.
The 55 Windows Palace is perhaps the most emblematic in the square. Built-in the 15th century and renovated in the 17th century, the palace stands out with its balcony and its 55 windows perfectly carved in wood. Its main gate, known as the Golden Gate, is no stranger to the profound reputation the palace holds.
Considered one of the most beautiful doors of its kind in the whole world, the Golden Gate, surmounted by a statue of the Hindu goddesses Kali and Garuda, reveals other mythical Hindu creatures, all made in great complexity.
A very imposing and robust temple, the Nyatapola Temple has managed to resist the many earthquakes which occurred in Nepal. You cannot miss it since it is the highest temple in Nepal. Located on Taumadhi Square, it overlooks all the other buildings. You can climb the steps at its base to gain height and appreciate the overall view of the magnificent complex. Entrance into the temple is only reserved for the faithful throughout the Hindu religion.
This temple made of stones displays a plethora of fine sculptures perfectly crafted. The temple is especially famous for its silver bell called by the inhabitants “ the bell of the barking of dogs “, which is explained by the reaction of the dogs of the neighborhood which started to howl and bark, whenever the bell chimes every morning, afternoon and in the evenings.
From Kathmandu, it is possible to link Bhaktapur with public transport. You can also hire a taxi or a rickshaw.
To access Bhaktapur Durbar Square, one must pay an entry fee of 1,500 NPR. The entrance ticket gives you access to all the sites inside.