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Dattatraya Square

Dattatraya Temple

At the east end or just standing opposite to the Bhimsen Temple and across the square, the broad-roofed Dattatraya Temple ranks among the Valley’s oldest shrines, dating back to 1427 A.D. Built by King Yaksja Malla, the last king to rule the Valley from Bhaktapur, and his son Raja Malla, this is the only temple in Nepal that is dedicated to the god Dattatraya. Dattatraya means the combined incarnation of the supreme Gods of Hinduism: Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwor (Shiva).

According to the legend, an influential and high-respected Indian “Yogi”, returning from his pilgrimage, died here. Nepalese have the culture of considering visitors as Gods and treating them likewise. Especially “Yogis” are highly respected as learned ones. So, the shrine was built in his memory by the then rulers as a tribute. It is believed that the Kasthamandap of Kathmandu, which it resembles, it was allegedly built using timber from a single tree but the front portico was probably added later. The main beauty of the temple is its unique architectural design and wood carvings artistically decorated all over the structure.

The additional attractions of the shrine are displayed at and around the front. There is a stone pillar with a metal conch (Sankha)on the top, towards the right of the entrance and left pillars support Vishnu’s Disc (Chakra). The entrance to the temple is guarded by two large stone sculptures of the Jaiput wrestlers Jaya Malla and Patha Malla, as found in the Nyatapola Temple. A beautiful gold gilded metal statue of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu, is positioned at the front of the temple on top of another stone column. One might also be interested in the wood carved erotic panels around the building. The temple is still used for sheltering yogis and pilgrims and is frequently crowded by Hindu and Newars, and musicians gather to play their instruments during the evening.

 

Bhisin Dega (Bhimsen Temple)

At the western end of Dattatraya Temple stands a double storied rectangular pagoda styled temple dedicated to Lord Bhimsen, the patron saint of Newar merchant, whose territory is in Tachupal. This temple is squat, rectangular and was built in 165 A.D.Lord Bhimsen is the 2nd eldest of the five Pandava brothers from the Mahabharata Epic. Bhimsen is considered to be as strong as thousand elephants, and is very popular among traders in his role as the patron of Merchants. In the old days, when there was no modern transportation facility, one had to trek to Tibet and India for trade and therefore, had to be strong. In order to gain strength people used prayed to Lord Bhimsen in the old days, but the practice seems to be ongoing even at present times as a tradition. As usual for the Bhimsen Temple, the ground floor is open and the shrine is kept upstairs. The ground floor of the Bhimsen Temple serves as a meeting place. Behind the temple, there is the deeply sunken and is and it is rather known as Bhimsen Hiti.

 

Pujari Math

Behind and to the right of the Dattatraya Temple stands the sumptuous Pujari Math. The Dattatraya Square is surrounded by seven Maths, most of which have been transformed into museums or shops. Pujari Math is the best preserved among the entireMaths and has the most richly architecture. This is the largest and most famous religious institution in Bhaktapur in the 16thcentury. It was built by King Yaksha Malla in the 15th century and was used for the storage of donations and contributions until late 20th century. Until a few years back, an annual caravan of Tibetan Lamas used to bring tributes to the monastery. The Mathgot reconstructed during Vishwa Malla’s reign in the mid 16th century. During those days, it was known for the production of herbal medicine and people travelled from far and wide to receive instruction in the art of medicine. Then, after being destroyed by the earthquake in 1934 A.D., the German government gave financial and technical support to renovate it and presented it to the Crown Prince Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev on the occasion of his wedding in 1979 A.D.

Now, the top floor of the Math is a home to the Wood Carving Museum, as the Math itself is a beautiful combination of fine masterpieces of wood carvings in the forms of doors and windows. The building itself is famous for the virtuously carved peacock window down the narrow side alley and a courtyard decorated with cavorting wild boars, monkey and Makara.

 

The Wood Carving Museum

The Wood Carving Museum was created in 19th century and is popularly known as the Pujari Math, specially built for the priests of that period. The Math itself is elegant in its architecture with innumerable intricately carved wooden windows and doors including the famous Peacock Window. This museum is situated at Dattatraya Square and displays an array of wooden objects which also portray the changing social outlook of Bhaktapur. It has a splendid amount of antique carvings. A set of 14 roof struts, image of Vasundhara (1st century) etc are just a few to mention here.

Entry fees

Foreigners:              Rs. 20

SAARC Nationals:   Rs. 10

Opens daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Closed on Sundays, Mondays and Holidays

Contact: 6610005

 

The Bronze and Brass Museum

Right opposite to the Wood Carving Museum is the Bronze and Brass Museum, displaying ceremonial and household metal ware. The collection of objects, such as ritual lamps, hanging lamps, ceremonial jars, water vessels, cooking pots, oil pots, ink pots etc., which were used in the ancient and medieval periods.

Entry fees

Foreigners:              Rs. 20

SAARC Nationals:   Rs. 10

Opens daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Closed on Sundays, Mondays and Holidays

Contact: 6610448

 

Salan Ganesh

At the northern side of the Dattatraya Square is another small open area with the small Salan Ganesh Temple, dating back to 1654 A.D. The image in this temple is just a rock with only the vaguest elephant-head shape which is ornately decorated. At the one side of the temple is the Ganesh Pokhari.

 

Nava Durga Temple

North of the Tachupal, the Nava Durga Dyochhen, which lies in Kwathando, is built in Nepalese style looks like a haunted house. It is a Tantric temple, said to be the site for strange sacrificial rites. This temple only opens to initiate, it honors the nine manifestions of Durga, who are especially feared and respected in Bhaktapur. Nava Durga is also the combination of the nine protective Mother Goddesses of the city. It is famous for its elaborately carved windows and doors. The golden door is surmounted by golden windows and is guarded by two metal lions. One can see huge crowds of devotees during Mohani (in October), the great festival of Hindus for the Nepalese. This temple is famous for the Chariot Window placed in the southern wall.

 

Wakupati Narayan Temple

East along the main road from the Dattatraya Square, a lovely specimen in metal work, the Wakupati Narayan Temple is enclosed with a stone paved courtyard. The ornate golden temple is of two-storied pagoda style, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and dates back to 1667 A.D. Nowhere else than here would one see four Garudas, the bird vehicle of Lord Vishnu, at a single place in a row.

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