Bhaktapur meaning the city of devotees was founded by King Ananda Dev in 1197 AD according to the Gopala Raj Vamsabli even though the existence of the city could be traced back to the Lichhavi period (185- 750AD). There are many monuments including pagodas, palaces, shikhara style monuments, courtyards and Buddists shrines and monasteries. The Durbar Square was the seat of the Malla Kings and the present structures away from Kathmandu city.
The lion Gate: -
The two lions symbolizes the elements of power and protection and was installed on its either sides during the reign of King Bhupatindra Malla in 1696 AD. This gate has beautiful stone statues of Bhairv-the fierce form of Shiva Durga the fierce-some manifestation of Shakti-the female power.
Golden Gate: -
The Golden Gate was built by King Ranajit Malla in 1754 AD which serves as an entrance to the Taleju complex.
Four Pilgrimage sites: -
You can also observe the four dhams(pilgrimage sites) of Jaganath, Kedarnath, Rameshwor and Badrinath just at the entrance. It is a replication of holy sites revered in India.
Stone column: -
King Bhupatindra Malla seated atop on a stone column in an attitude of prayer to Taleju Bhavani. He was a great builder, a scholar and an artist.
55 Windows Palace: -
This is the supreme wooden architectural structure dominating the entire Bhadga on Durbar Square. This magnificent edifice was originally built by Yakshya Malla in 1427 AD and embellished later by Bhupatindar Malla in 17th century.
Vastala Temple: -
It was built on Shikhara style completely on stones by Jaya Ranajit Malla in the 17th century AD. The temple is dedicated to a mother goddess Durga. On the lower flank the temple there is a small bell known as ‘barking bell’ because dogs bark and whine at the sound of the bell. In those days the bell was used as an alarm to alert the people during the period of emergency.
Yakcheswor Mahadev: -
This temple is a replication of Pashupatinath Temple of Kathmandu. It was built by King Yakshya Malla in 1480 AD. It shows the importance of Pashupati Temple in the spiritual life of the people of Bhaktapur and it was built so that people from Bhaktapur may avoid the difficulty of going to main Pashupatinath in Kathmandu for offering prayers.
Folklore mentions that once king from Bhaktapur who was a great devotee of lord Pashupati dreamt the lord who told him to build a temple for Him so that He could move into it. He obeyed the divine command and thus the temple was built.
The temple was founded by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1702AD. Nyatapola in Newari means five-tiered temple symbolizing the five basic elements of Nature. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Siddhi Laxmi- a Tantric deity representing the most powerful female force. Legend goes that the temple was built by the King on the advice of the astrologers to pacify god Bhairav and maintain a harmonious balance of male and female principle. Nyatopola and Bhairav temples signify the co-existence of male and female energy pervading the earth.
The temple stands above the five plinth and rises 30 m above the top plinth. Pairs of animals and robust men flank the stairway. It is believed that every pair of guardian is ten times more powerful than the pair immediately below. This is the most famous pagoda of Nepal.
Bhairav Natth Temple: -
This temple of Bhairav-the ferocious form of Shiva-was originally built by Jagat Joti Malla as a one storeyed temple and later King Bhupatindra Malla added two more stories to it in 1718 AD. According to a legend Vishwanath, a manifestation of Shiva once visited Bhaktapur to observe Bisket Jatra. When the locals recognize him they beheaded him in order to retain him permanently in the temple. It is because of this reason the central images of Bhairav temple has the head of Bhairav without the body and is taken on a chariot once during the Bisket Jatra which is the biggest festival of the town held in April.
Teel Mahadev Nayayan Temple: -
South form Nyatapola lies this temple dedicated to lord Vishnu built in 12th century AD. A disc, lotus, conch shell and mace-four emblems of lord Vishnu are placed on pillars to the sides of the entrance.
Dattareya Temple: -
Dattatreya Temple, originally built by Yakshya Malla in 1427AD and renovated by his son Vishwa Malla in 1458 AD, is the only temple in Nepal that is dedicated to God Dattatreya-the combined incarnation of the three supreme gods-Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The entrance of the temple is guarded the messenger of Vishnu is also erected on a stone column.
Bhimsen Temple: -
To the west of the Dattatreya temple is the Bhimsen temple built in 1605AD. Lod Bhimsen is the second eldest of the five Pandavas of the Mahabharat epic. In the olden days people has to walk to Tibet or India for trade and pilgrimages, so one had to be naturally strong to embark on an ardrous journey. In order to gain strength people prayed to Lord Bhimsen and the tradition continues till today. The area also has two Bronze and Wood carving museums and the famous window peacock-an original masterpiece of Nepali wood work.
Pujari Math: -
The Pujari Math literally translated as the Priets’s house now houses the wood carving museum. The Math built by King Yaksha malla in the 15th century was used for storing donations and contributions. The world famous peacock window of the 15th century is situated on the eastern face of this house. One can observe intricately carved images of gods and goddesses on the struts of this religious monument.