Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Historical city: Bhaktapur – Part II

By Sabin Chakradhar

As stated in my earlier blog ‘Bhaktapur Part I’, I am going to provide you with some more information about the marvelous city Bhaktapur. The new byelaws (as mentioned earlier) has not only helped to conserve the historic fabric of the city but also helped promote tourism. Currently, Bhaktapur city collects highest revenues from tourism among other cities in Nepal. So, in this blog I want to discuss on some of the main attractions of the city.  
Pachpanna jhyaale durbar (55 Windowed Palace) is the Royal palace, built in 1427 AD during the reign of King Yakshya Malla, reflecting the rich culture and lifestyles of the Newars. The palace, built with brick and wooden structure, consist of a wooden balcony with 55 windows which is considered to be the unique masterpiece of wood carving. You can see the intricate details of art work in every piece of wood used as the structural element, doors, windows, struts etc. Currently, the building is used as the national gallery.
Durbar Square is the huge plaza in front of the 55 Windowed Palace surrounded by number of temples, statue of king Bhupatindra Malla, Patis, and huge entrance gate. Besides Durbar Square, there are few other squares (plazas): Taumadi, Dattatraya etc. These plazas serve as the interaction spaces for the local people. They function as the marketplace in the morning, big stage to perform dance or roll the chariots of god during the festivals and a pleasant public place throughout the year. 
Bisket Jatra is one of the biggest festivals in the city. It last for few days and during the event you can see that almost every person from the city is celebrating the festival in one way or another: by coloring each other, getting drunk, dancing on the streets etc. one of the exciting events of the festival is when they have tug of war between the eastern and western sides of city, a huge chariot carrying images of the god Bhairab is dragged by number of people from each side of the city. The event can get violent sometimes when two sides of the city start to fight each other.
Nyatapola is the five storied pagoda styled temple dating back to 1702 AD and is the tallest temple of the country. It is believed to be built in 5 months and using very primitive techniques such as bamboo scaffolding etc. Temple stands on the 5 plinth level which can be approached by climbing the huge steps and at each plinth levels the steps is guarded by two giant stone figures on each side. On the first level there are two stone statues of Jaya mal Pata (strongest man), a famous wrestler, on second level there are two elephants followed by two lions, two griffins and finally “Baghini” and “Singhini”, the tiger and lion goddesses respectively. Like every other temples in Bhaktapur, you can see the magnificent artwork in the wooden structures, struts, gates, windows etc.
Besides these famous components, there is still so much more in Bhaktapur that you can explore. Bhairabnath temple, Dattatreya Square, different pagoda and shikhara styled temples, the peacock window etc. are some of the other attractions that you would not wanna miss when you visit Bhaktapur. City is so rich in culture that, no matter what season you visit you get to see one or two cultural festivals going on. One of my favorite festival is Gaijatra where you get to dance among the crowd with two wooden bars as a prop (known as Ghintang ghisi twak). So, for an architect or just as a simple tourist looking for some adventure, Bhaktapur city is definitely one of the best choice.

 01. Bhaktapur Durbar Square
02. Nyatapola Temple
03. Idol in front of Nyatapola Temple

04. Peacock window

05. 55-Windowed Palace

No comments:

Post a Comment