Idea #756 – Visiting the Palace of the Malla Rajas in Bhaktapur, Nepal
The city of Bhaktapur, Nepal was founded by King Ananda Deva Malla in the 12th century. Initially, it would have been built according to a plan in the shape of a conch. Known as Khwopa, it became the capital of the Malla râjas, who succeeded the Thâkurî dynasty. In another urbanistic vision, the plan of the city would in fact resemble that of a mandala, the city being part of a “magic triangle” formed by three temples of Ganesh outside the city. This triangle would be likely to have a power of symbolic protection, in the face of adversity, and possible dangers.
Until the 16th century, Bhaktapur politically and economically dominated all of Nepal. The city maintained this position until the Gorkha conquest in 1769. Since that time, Bhaktapur has always constituted a specific universe, economically autarkic and culturally independent.
Notable sites are concentrated in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, the former royal palace complex. I was home to the Malla kings of Nepal from the 14th to 15th centuries and the kings of Bhaktapur kingdom from the 15th to the end of the 18th century. Today this place is recognized by UNESCO jointly managed by the Archaeological Department of Nepal and the Municipality of Bhaktapuret is under heavy restoration due to the damage caused by the earthquake of 1934 and the recent earthquake of 2015 .
The Durbar Square is divided into three parts: the Kvathū Lyākū, “lower part of the royal palace”, the ruins of Basantapūra and Chaukota palaces and a replica of the Char Dham of India. Noteworthy constructions also include the Nge Nyapa Jhya Laaykoo, i.e. the 55-window palace, built during the reign of King Malla Bhupetindra Malla, who ruled from 1696 to 1722. Vatsala Devi Temple and Temple from Pasupatinath, located right in front of the palace and next to the King’s Statue and next to the Taleju Bell. It was most famous for its 18th-century silver bell, known to local residents as “the bell of the barking dogs”, because when it rang, the surrounding dogs would bark and howl. The statue of Bhupatindra Malla, King Malla, placed on a column facing the palace. Of the many statues in the square, this one is considered the most remarkable.
Nyatapola Temple, the largest and tallest pagoda in Nepal ever built, is dedicated to Goddess Shiddhilaxmi. These statues lined up on both sides of the staircase are built as guardians of the temple and the resident goddess. The Lun Dhwākhā or Golden Gate, the “golden door”, is surmounted by figures of the Hindu Goddess Kali, assisted by two celestial nymphs, and various monsters. Percy Brown, an eminent English art critic and historian, described the Golden Gate as “the finest work of art in the whole Kingdom; it is set like a jewel, showing innumerable facets in the magnificent setting of its environment”. Despite the multiple destruction due to earthquakes, this remarkable place has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Where is it ?
Durbar Square, Bhaktapur, Nepal