“The city of Bhaktapur can be neatly divided into nine sectors corresponding to the Eight Mother Goddesses plus a ninth, central goddess, that are situated at Power-Places amount its perimeter.” CNAS Journal, Vol 32, No.2 (Pickett,2005:247)
Built by Ananda Malla the younger son of Abhaya Malla, Bhaktapur originally called Bhatgaon is a city protected by the Navadurga and is a symbol of prime Malla architecture.
Inception of the Kingdom of Bhaktapur
“This younger brother (Ananda Malla,) being very generous and wise, gave up the sovereingty over the two cities, and having invoked Annapurna Devi from Kasi founded a city of 12,000 houses which he named Bhaktapur(Bhatgaon) and included sixty small village in his territory.After this, the Raja having obtained the favour and directions of Chanfeswari, founded seven towns; viz. Banepur(Banepa) near Chandeswari Pitha, Panavati(Panauti), near the Pragaga TIrtha of Nepal, celebrated in the Shastras on the site where Panchala-des formely stood, Nala, near Nala Bhagavati, Dhaukhle near Narayana; Khapu near Dhaneswaril Chaukot near the residence of Chankora Rishi; Sanga near Nasika Pitha.”
Wright 1877: 163
Establishment of Bhaktapur Durbar Square
“ He established his court at Bhaktapur, where he built a Durbar; and having one night seen and received instructions from the Navadurga, he set up their images in proper places, to ensure the security and protection of the town both internally and externally.”
Wright 1877: 163
Bhaktapur Durbar Square Today
The Durbar square is as magnificent it was when it was incepted. The squares are always bustling with tourists admiring the architecture and heritage along with locals busy in their daily essentials. The gullies are filled with souvenir stores selling diverse range from Thanka art, metal statues and sculptures, merchandise and traditional and international cuisine.
The 2015 Earthquake and its impact on Bhaktapur Durbar Square
During the 2015 earthquake, the city of Bhaktapur faced severe damage in terms of monuments and houses. The traditional houses have stood in their original archtitcure for more than 40 year, but not anymore. The Vatsal Devi Temple was turned to rubble allong with many other temples. Many heritages such as the temple of Rameshwor, Batsala, Narayan, Siddi Lakshmi, Biswaroopa,Siddi Ganesh, Swetbhairav, Sij Mahadev, Degaina, Satall were damaged along with premises of Taleju Chowk and the 55 windowed palace. 4 out of 11 heritages have been restored and the others are in the process of restoration. The events of the earthquake of 2015 left allot of the inhabitants without a home and had to live in temporary shelters and MRE’s. But slowly but steadily till today, life moved on as the people of Bhaktapur persevered what was lost cannot be regained but lessons can be learnt and heritages can be rebuilt.