Nyatapola: the tallest Nepalese temple of Nepal

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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"

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, the mystery, religious believes, and the 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 4 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.

Why is it always closed?

This temple is staunch to the goddess Siddhi Laxmi. But most people have no idea about how she looks like. Only the priest who got the chance to enter the temple knows about her appearance.

However, the shreds of evidence say that she certainly has an extreme face. That black-shaded statue of her has 9 heads and 18 hands. Foremost, she is said to be accompanied by the Masan Bhairava and Mahakal Bhairava.  The statue was all set as per the extreme tantric procession.

Perhaps, that’s why she is not available for common people. But, one can admire the image carved on the struts of the temple as less brutal incarnations of the idle deity.

Nonetheless, the doors of the temple are opened for the priest during Dashain and Pancha prachar puja. Besides, a Nitya puja and Aarati is done for the temple by a priest of a Karmacharya caste from Taleju.  

Wait, the non-opening doors here, don’t make sense on that, that it is a restricted area. Rather than that, it is an open temple which is open for twenty-four hours a day.

You can go there whenever you want. You can have a sit on its pedestals, click photographs, take a circumrotation of its, and have a decent view of the Bhaktapur from the top plinth of its.

Some interesting facts about the 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 of 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 winds 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?

Know more about the Nyatapola

Photo credit: David Pirmann on Visual Hunt / CC BY

Alike the five stories, it also has five plinths. Of which, each plinth has a pair of guardians, ten times stronger than the ones underneath it.

The first guardians are called J’ai mal and Pattu, who is believed as the powerful wrestler of Bhaktapur.

Supposedly, they are regarded as essentially ten times stronger than any common man.

Above them, there is a placement of a pair of an elephant, lions, Griffins, and the minor deities named Simhini and Vyagini. 

Nyatapola, on one hand, is the most beautiful fabrication of King Bhupatindra Malla. He erected it in 1702 A.D. And fortunately, it still stands in front of us welcoming to sit on its pedestals.

That, despite getting through the worst earthquakes of 1934 and 2015 AD. Besides that, it still matters as the pride of Bhaktapur.

Whence, this temple deniably sounds like a marvelous monument. 

Earthquakes and the Renovations

Nepal is such a place where the possibility of occurring earthquakes is so high. That the Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, thus is counted among those top 10 cities of the world which have a high risk of damage via earthquake.

On that occurrence, the erection, plus the survival of Nyatapola through all these years, make everyone astonish. Well, there are no records found before the earthquake of 1835 A.D (1891 B.S.). But there is the series of afterward occurrences that are illustrated below.

  • Starting with the earthquake of 1835 A.D (1891 B.S.), it didn’t affect Nyatapola that much either at that time. Indeed the Nyatapola was 131 years old, then.
  • Then, the earthquake of 1934 A.D. (1990 B.S.) took place. That assuredly damaged the uppermost tier of the temple. But, the nearest temple of Nyatapola i.e. Bhairavnath temple was razed to its roots by that earthquake. Based on that incident, a very popular adage was raised then, which was like “Nyatapola chata maru, Bhaila: Dyo patta maru“. And, this term exactly means the then situation of Nyatapola and Bhairavanath temple. This means, “Nyatapola has not it’s one tier but Bhairavnath temple, it is disappeared”.
  • The temple was then 230 years old. That occasionally was renovated by King Tribhuvan.
  • Afterward, the earthquake of 1989 A.D (2045 B.S) have had happened. That brought some minor damages to the temple which were negligible.
  • In 1997 A.D, a renovation was held by Bhaktapur Municipality which approximately took 9 months of the period. Yes, where they utilize some portion of the old materials as well, like the timbers and Jhingati.
  • Unfortunately, the year of 2015 A.D. (2072 B.S.) was not left behind by the devastating earthquakes. Although it didn’t affect that much to the Nyatapola but was surely a  deadly one.

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.

 

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

  • 27.670682, 85.429311
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