Dattatraya temple; the only shrine, devoted to Dattatreya in Nepal

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Outlines

  • There is a popular anecdote about the Dattatraya temple that says the whole temple f Dattatraya was built with the timbers of a single tree alike as in the darn of Kasthamandapa. 

  • The first floor of the temple is filled with erotic carvings just like in the Pasupatinath temple of Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

  • It is mentioned that the Dattatraya temple was opened for the public onward 1486 A.D, only after the demise of King Yakshya Malla who erected this temple.

  • During Sila Charhe (Maha Shiva Ratri), devotees from across the nation (especially from India) pay their devotion to Dattatraya prior to and after visiting Pasupatinath Temple.

Dattatraya temple

Dattatraya temple is a circular styled (mandala-styled) temple that holds the prestige of being the only shrine, devoted to Dattatreya in Nepal. Though there is no such image of Dattatraya in the temple as normally, common people perceive (the image of Datttraya with three heads in one body- a combined form of Lord Shiva, Vishnu, and Bramha). 

Instead, there lies the three images of Lord Dattatraya- Som, Durbasha, and Dutt accordingly of left, middle, and right in the temple. 

This is the temple of Dattatreya yet, the symbols like garuda, conch, and chakra in front of the standing pillars of the temple show the priority of Lord Vishnu over there. In spite of that, the festivals and celebrations related to Lord Shiva seem to attract more devotees over here.

Every year, a large number of devotees from nearby districts Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Kavre throng to Dattatreya temple for the worship of Lord Shiva every Monday in the month of Shrawan and on every Wednesday in the month of Poush.
Likewise, during Teej and Sila Charhe (Maha Shiva Ratri), devotees from across the nation (especially from India) pay their devotion to Dattatraya prior to and after visiting Pasupatinath Temple.

History of Dattatraya temple

The Dattatraya temple is also considered one of the major as well as oldest temples of Bhaktapur.

King Yaksha Malla, who ruled over the entire Nepalmandal from 1428 A.D. to 1482 A.D. is supposed to be the erector of this temple. As per the book, Illustrated Biography of Lord Duttatreya And His 24 Mentors, this temple was built in Nepal Sambat 590 (1470 A.D.) and was only single-storeyed then.

However, it is mentioned that the temple was opened for the public onward 1486 A.D, only after the demise of King Yakshya Malla, of course, before the reconstruction made by King Raya Malla (the son of King Yakshya Malla). He made it more attractive by adding stories to it in Nepal Sambat 615 (1495 A.D).

Wanna know more about the contributions of Malla Kings? Then the following link must be of your interest.

Malla Kings of Bhaktapur

Furthermore, the name of King Visva Malla also took its place when we talk about the overhanging balcony of the temple that was set up by him in 1548 AD.

Besides these dates of erections, there are other dates that enrol the history related to the Dattatraya temple. It is presumed that in 1769 A.D. when King Prithivi Narayan Shah conquered both Kathamndu and Patan before Bhaktapur, the king of those kingdoms, King Jaya Prakash Malla and Narsimha Malla respectively took shelter in this temple.

However, there is no documentation found about this statement that particularly mentions whether they hide in the Dattatraya temple or in the Bhaktapur Palace Complex. But, yes, they were given shelter in Bhaktapur.

More about Dattatraya Temple

Graphically, this temple stands in the eastern part of the Dattatreya square, commonly known as the Tachupal Tole where one can witness the liveliness of the devotees, the street markets, youths with a cup of tea discussing various things, in the evening. Where also the devotees set their seats under the pedestals of the temple and make the environment so divine.

The erotic carvings

Well, this temple is not only counted as important because of its religious status but also because of the reflections of the ancient arts and architecture. Anyhow, that is knocked up in erotic ways. The first floor of the temple is filled with these kinds of carvings just like in the Pasupatinath temple of Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

If you could notice there is even an image of a man holding some guitar-like instruments among the carvings.

How could anyone explain these kinds of carvings? Could it be just the imagination or there was such a civil society back there in Nepal?

Just like that, there are numerous things to ponder around Dattatraya Square.

The statues of Jaimal and Pratap

You can also see the statues of Jaimal and Pratap (Pattu) in front of the main entrance of this temple guarding as in the Nyatapola temple. They might represent the Rao Jaimal of Rathore, ruler of Badnor, and Patta of Kelwa, 16 years old defenders of the Chittor since they are always mentioned together for their bravery.

The story behind stone pillars

In front of the Dattatraya temple, one can observe a tall pillar upon which an idol of Garuda (vehicle of Lord Vishnu) is bidding Namaste toward the temple. Visitors who are quite unfamiliar with the Hindu religion might wonder what’s so special about this statue.

Well, it is quite rare to discern this tall pillar of an idol of Garuda in entire Nepal. Also, the facial structure of the statue seems quite unique as it was first considered to have been placed with a motive to set the statue of monk Dev Narayana Giri.

But, the monograph did not let that happen, saying that the mortal should not be put higher than the God thus, it ended in a form of Garuda instead of the statue of the mentioned monk. The statue is fairly called the statue of Mahant (the monk) more than of a garuda.

The temple made out of one single tree

There is a popular anecdote about the Dattatraya temple that says the whole temple f Dattatraya was built with the timbers of a single tree alike as in the darn of Kasthamandapa. 

FAQs

The entrance fee to enter Bhaktapur along with the Bhaktapur Durbar Square varies as per the nationality. It costs, Rs.1500 for Non-SAARC nationality, Rs.500 to SAARC, and for Chinese citizens, and free for the Nepalese. for more information, you can check the following link.

Entry fee of heritage sites

No, you don’t need to pay for your infant. In fact, it is free entry to the children below 10 years of each national at Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

No, it doesn’t. It lies at Dattatraya Square which is approximately far as of 10 mins walk.

You could choose a local bus or hire a private vehicle to reach over there. If you choose to travel by the local bus then you need to walk for a min from the Chyamasingha bus stop.

You can catch a local bus from Ratna Park or from Bagbazaar if you are staying at Thamel, which directly goes to Bhaktapur. But choose the bus that continues its route via Chyamasingha.

Yes, there are restaurants and cafes on-site, convenient for all kinds of visitors.

Yes, it is. Even a single woman could travel here alone.

No, not exactly. You can make your tickets available for one more day at the time you buy it.

Well, there are a lot of things that you can do like shopping, sightseeing, eating different foods, also photography. But, capturing one corner of the square and having a sunset view would be the most satisfying thing that you would experience.

While being in Bhaktapur, you must mind few things like taking out of your shoes while entering the temple and other religious sites. Likewise, you might not be allowed to click pictures of some specific events or place. You should consider these things.

As we informed you earlier it is all safe for solo traveling which means you can travel without a guide. But we also recommend you to have a certified guide who would help you to understand the authentic Bhaktapur and the stories carved all over the monuments.

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