Nyatapola: the tallest pagoda style temple of Nepal

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Nyatapola is a five-storeyed ancient temple that makes each Bhaktapurians feel so proud. People may have very little knowledge about Bhaktapur city. But, within that tatter of knowledge, they put a page where the mysterious stories of Nyatapola always breathe.

Nyatapola is like an ambiguous subject, which has, of course, mystery, religious beliefs, and facts. Plus, this might be the only monument that has more historical evidence than any other monuments do.

But still, it became a baffling puzzle when it comes to explaining its accessories.

Yes, no one knows why there are 5 Ganesha, 5 tiers, 5 plinths, 33 steps, 108 struts, and  360 battens used in the temple. Whereas, all these numbers have a significant role in tantrism. Besides, it dubiously shows the tantric influence of that time.

Who erected Nyatapola?

Whenever we talk about the Malla kings’ of Bhaktapur, the very first name that strikes our mind is King Bhupatindra Malla. Right? Perhaps, because of the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla that pleasantly postured in front of the Golden Gate of the Durbar Square.

Despite that, we remember him as an ideal King of Bhaktapur. Of course, he contributed a lot to the art and architecture of this tiny burgh. There, Nyatapola comes among them. 

Statues and struts

guardians-nyatapola

guardians-nyatapola

Statues of Guardians

Whenever you pass through those stone steps of Nyatapola. Once in a time, a thought arises in mind that, why these stone images are here, and what are they?

Symphonically, there are five plinths in Nyatapola, where each plinth has a pair of stone images.

It is said that they are the guardians of the Goddess Shiddhi Laxmi. From the bottom to the end of the plinth, there is a stone image of wrestlers, elephants, lions, Griffins, and two Goddesses named Sighini and Baghini respectively.

They all are placed according to their strengths. The first two wrestlers named Jai and Pratap are said to be 10 times stronger than a normal man. Along with that, the elephants, who are considered as 10 times stronger species than those wrestlers are placed above them.

With such a ratio, the guardians are placed.

Statue of Shiddhi Laxmi

The foremost deity of the Nyatapola temple is the Goddess Shiddhi Laxmi. Since it is a powerful tantric deity. No ordinary people are allowed to enter this temple. So, no one knows how the deity looks besides the priests. But, we can imagine her in our thoughts.

The studies about Nyatapola says that the statue of Shiddhi Laxmi is 9 feet tall, carved in black stone. That statue has 9 heads but in three rows. The very first row has 5 heads and is called Chandi Bhadra kali. Similarly, the second row with three heads is called Pratysngira.

At last, but not least, the top acne is called shiddhi Laxmi. This immense and bold statue had nine pairs of hands. Also, there are two figures of Mahakal Bhairav and Masan Bhairav on either side of the statue.

Drighu Ganesh

With those stone guardians, you may have noticed the four Ganesh temples in four corners of the Nyatapola. They are the temple of Drighu Ganesh. They were established over there for the protection of the temple. Two out of the four temple faces the south. And the rest of the two to the north.

Although there are only four temples, there are actually five Ganesha whom people do worship. The very southwestern temple is also called the temple of Jor Ganesha, which means a pair of Ganesha. Counting those two Ganesha in one temple and another three of the remaining temples makes a total of five Ganesha.

The stone tap

Right behind the temple, a north-facing stone tap unknowingly adds beauty to this structure.  The first plinth of the temple holds this tap.

The struts

Just like the stone images, the strut images are also magnificent. Probably, they are the best show of woodcarving. The very first and the second floor’s struts have wooden images of Astamatrika. That means the images of Bramayani, Maheshwari, Kumari, Vaishnavi, Barahi, Indrayani, Mahakali, and Mahalaxmi.

Continuously, the struts of the third tier have an image of Lokeshwor. In the same way, the images of Mahalaxmi and Shiva-Shakti are carved in the fourth and fifth tier’s struts respectively. Therefore, this eye-glancing structure is also filled with the most artistic woodcarvings.

Nyatapola Temple

Nyatapola Temple
PC: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some interesting facts about the Nyatapola temple

  • The temple is not associated with any jatras or the Guthi. That sounds quite unusual cause almost all of the important temples are associated with the jatras as well as with the guthis and bhajans. Especially in Bhaktapur.
  • Because of its five stories, it is locally denominated as a panch tale mandir. Where, those five stories indicate the earth, water, fire, air, and the sky from down to up respectively.
  • Similarly, Nyatapola the name itself means the five-stroyed, where Nyata means five, and Pola means the tiers in Newa bhasa. 
  • Also, this grand temple stands as the tallest Nepalese roofing-styled temple of Bhaktapur. As well as Nepal with a height of 33meters.
  • The whole structure of Nyatapola was raised within 214 days. During that era, meanwhile, there was no advanced construction equipment at all.
  • It is said that the wind bells hanged around the tiers of Nyatapola were in several 529. But placing them in the number of 48, 80, 104, 128, and 168, from top to bottom respectively, outlasts a wind bell. That was then, considered as the unfortunate one wind bell. And, the fact is that till today no one knows about it, whether where it was placed. Or, what did happen to it?

Nyatapola, at present

Considering the minor damages of the newest quake, the Bhaktapur Municipality did consider renovating it. Along with the other historical sites. The renovation of Nyatapola was completed with half of its estimated budget.

Nonetheless, that became possible through the support of the residents of Bhaktapur. Therefore, the Nyatapola is now completely restored. In the year, 2020 A.D.

FAQs

King Bhupatindra Malla is credited for the erection of the Nyatapola temple.

No, it isn’t. The Nyatapola temple lies in Taumadhi Square which is only a minute far from Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

Yes, you can click the images of the temple.

No, you can’t. Even the local residents are not allowed to enter the temple.

It would be a pleasure to sneak around Taumadhi Square. It doesn’t matter when you will visit there. It feels always fascinating whenever you step up onto its stairs.

From architectural matter, yes, it is the tallest temple in entire Nepal, not only in Bhaktapur which is made in typical Nepalese roofing style.

You could choose a local bus or hire a private vehicle to reach over there.

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

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.

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 places. 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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Outlines

  • Nyatapola is the tallest temple of Nepal, erected in Nepalese Roofing Architecture.

  • Located in Taumadhi Square, Bhaktapur.

  • The ultimate height of the temple is 33 meters.

  • The most popular adage about Nyatapola, 'Nyatapola chata maru, Bhaila: Dyo patta maru"

  • Taumadhi Square, Bhaktapur Municipality, Bhaktapur District, Nepal.

  • 27.670682, 85.429311
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Other places around Taumadhi Square

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