Once a stopping point on a major caravan route between India and Tibet, Bhaktapur was the capital of Nepal from the 12th to the 15th centuries. Today, it is the third-largest city in the Kathmandu Valley, a thriving, prosperous town home to 75,000 people. Through the centuries, Bhaktapur has managed to preserve its extensive architecture; the town is a winding labyrinth of narrow streets, friendly locals, historic buildings - all of which are framed by the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas in the distance. Along with the city of Kathmandu itself and Patan, Bhaktapur is the third small city that comprises the collective UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kathmandu Valley.


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Bhaktapur Durbar Square

The plaza immediately preceding the old royal palace, Bhaktapur Durbar Square features temples and pagodas arranged around a palace of wood and brick. From an architectural standpoint, this is one of the most charming little places in all of Nepal, with golden statues of kings, stone monoliths, guardian deities, and wood carvings. While the Durbar Square was damaged by a severe earthquake in 1934, the city has long since recovered and rebuilt.

Changu Narayan

Located about 4 miles (6 kilometers) north of Bhaktapur, the Changu Narayan complex is one of the oldest Hindu temples in all of Nepal. An excellent example of Nepalese architecture, Changu Narayan features red brick walls, roof supports adorned with carved figurines from Hindu lore, and tiled roofs. Within the courtyard are various stone figurines, including several elephants and a small chorten, or stupa.

Kailashnath Mahadev

The tallest statue of Shiva on Earth, the Kailashnath Mahadev measures 143 feet (44 meters); it is also among the top fifty tallest statues in the world. A recent construction, the Kailashnath Mahadev was built from copper, zinc, cement, and steel.

Lion Gate

Built in 1696, the Lion Gate is flanked by two magnificent statues of lions, as well as two stone images of Shiva and his consort in two of their myriad incarnations.

Palace of the Fifty-Five Windows and the Golden Gate

Constructed under the auspices of King Jitamitra Malla, the Palace of Fifty-five Windows was home to royalty until 1769. Today, the palace is a National Gallery, and houses a wealth of ancient and contemporary art.

The Sun Dhowka, or the Golden Gate, is arguably the most significant structure in the Kathmandu Valley. An golden doorway topped with intricate, detailed carvings from Hindu mythology, the Golden Gate leads to the inner courtyards of the Palace of Fifty-five Windows.

Ta Pukhu (Siddha Pokhari)

A tranquil, rectangular lake near the main gate, the Ta Pukhu was built in the early 1400s. From this vantage point, weather permitting, visitors can take in the panoramic views of the nearby, snow-capped peaks.

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