Bhaktapur is the second most visited city after Kathmandu in Nepal. Bhaktapur city, at 13 kms east from Kathmandu, was pretty developed because it is on the old trade road with Tibet. We paid 15$ a pop, at the entrance of Bhaktapur.
Most of the structures were built in 9th century. We have seen a statue of a god at the entrance, that protects the city and kills the enemies and demons with his many arms. Many animals are being sacrificed to this god. At the other side of this statue, we saw the angry form of Shiva. Virutally she is calm, but she morphs into different forms to scare off the enemies that can potentially enter the city. There are also two pretty big lion figures with their monstrous heads at both sides of this statue.
There is a royal palace and many temples in this square too. This sacrifice temple is the replica of the one in Pashupatinath. The main reason there are this many temples in the country is the 75 different kings in 75 different areas. When a king had a temple built, the others that heard it would also had one to catch up with him. This way, many temples were built. Our guide said that, there are two temples for every building in Nepal.
In 16th century, Gorkhas had come and ended the Malla kingdom and the 75 different kings in the country, and set up their own reign. In 1768, Prithvi Narayan Shah from Shah Kingdom linage, had Patan, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur get under the same roof, as the first Gorkha king. Shah Kingdom was ruled this way for 240 years.
The Royal Palace in Bhaktapur is pretty flashy. First we went to the Golden Gate at the entrance of Royal Palace. Golden Gate is one of the most important monuments of this area. The figure on the gate represents the king. Under the king, there is Garuda. This figure is one of the best that explains Hinduism as much as possible.
After we passed the Golden Gate, we came out in the inside yard of the palace. The Royal Pool in the inside yard, was made in 16th century by Malla Kingdom. There was a cobra snake figure all around this pool. There was another cobra made out of brass, in the middle of the pool, reaching upwards. Basin of the pool was made from 7 different metals. There was cobra snake again on this fountain. There are two meanings for cobra in Hinduism; the god that provides rain, and friendship.
The royal pool being surrounded by cobra, king being protected by cobra and being friends with it, the strongest animal of the jungle, represents consequently being friends with all the animal kingdom. There is a seperate place inside the royal palace. This place was the part where religious things were being carried out. But it is forbidden to enter for anyone that is not Hindu. They sacrifice animals to their gods in different festivals here. There are poles at the entrance of the temple to tether the animals. The gate is very important. It is decorated with a wooden carving that sums up Hinduism.
One of the most important aspects of the Royal Palace were the windows. There were 55 handmade windows on the top floor of the palace. Right on the face of this 55 windowed palace, there was a statue of Bhupatindra Malla, that was facing towards the palace.
We saw the replica of the temple in Pashupatinath after we had exit the palace. The name of this temple in Pagoda style is Changunarayan Temple. There are many erotic figures on the exterior walls of this temple of Shiva, to teach people about sexuality. All of these figures form the Kamasutra book.
The most important festival that takes place around the Royal Palace is Chariot Festival. We could not see it because of the timing unfortunately. We left Bhaktapur with the idea to join the festival next time we visit.