The picturesque town of Bhaktapur situated 16 km from Kathmandu is called the most medieval town of Nepal. It's not just that the city was founded in the 9th century, but also that it managed to retain its medieval appearance. Bhaktapur amazes with its unique architecture, temples, statues and works of wood carving. Right at the main entrance to the Durbar Square you are greeted by two statues of 18th century - 18-armed goddess Durga and 12-armed god Bhairav that used to guard the now lost part of the royal palace. Strong earthquake of 1934 destroyed many temples in this part of the town. Nevertheless, there is much to admire.
Palace of 55 windows - the old royal residence, decorated with splendid carved windows, balconies and simple figures. In the courtyard there is the famous "Golden Gate", created in 1754. Actually the gate is not golden, but gilded. It is decorated with the figures of various deities, with Garuda, a bird-transport of Lord Vishnu, on the top.
Nowadays there is the National gallery in the palace. The entrance is guarded by the huge statues of lions, as well as figures of Hanuman, the king of monkeys, and Narsingha, the man-lion.
Opposite, on the tall column, directly in front of the temple Vatsala, King Bhupatindr sits. There is also a large bell dated 1737, so called "barking bell”. In the old days, it summoned the faithful to prayer, and sounded the alarm in case of any trouble.
There is also a temple of Pashupatinath, wooden rafters of which depict erotic scenes. Some historians believe the temple is one of the most ancient and dating 15th century. However, other experts argue that the temple was built much later, in 1682.
A little further you can see the temple of Siddhi Lakshmi, the steps to its entrance are decorated with painted figures of animals and two aristocrats with a child and a dog. Near it there is Shiva temple, on the steps of which there are huge figures of elephants, lions and bulls.
The strongest of all represented characters is goddess Siddhi Laxmi, to whom this temple is devoted. 108 painted wooden rafters of the temple depict the goddess in various forms. However, the main image is located inside and can be seen only by the servants of the temple, and only at night.
To the right there is a temple of another god - Bhairava. In contrast to the typical square buildings this temple is rectangular in shape. It’s curious that the statue of the chief deity is only 30 cm tall and is located in the niche in the center of the facade of the temple. Once a year during the celebration of the local New Year the statue is erected on the carriage and travels around the city.
A 15-minutes walk away from the Durbar Square there is the most ancient temple of Kathmandu valley. It was founded in 1427. At the entrance of the temple there are two statues of the same medieval fighters Patta and Malla. The walls of the temple are decorated with erotic scenes.
The streets of Bhaktapur are no less interesting and picturesque. Traditional buildings are decorated with wood carvings (especially captivating are the famous "peacock-windows"). People are engaged in their daily affairs: someone is taking water from the street fountain, someone sales vegetables, someone is having a quiet talk on the steps of the temple, someone is just dozing off, someone has decided to have a snack and is enjoying with piping hot dumplings - momo.
There are all sorts of beautiful traditional things on sale - masks, puppets, silver and turquoise ornaments, pottery, samples of wood carving.