It is said that there used to be gates in all eight corners of Bhaktapur which were believed to be built along with the temples of Astabhairava, back in the time of the establishment of the Bhaktapur Kingdom.
But, unfortunately, we now see only a few of them standing in the order. Besides these surviving gates, we probably do not know where other gates used to stand. Or, there were only these gates or more of them. There are very little things written about the gates of Bhaktapur.
The cases of these lost gates make us feel like we barely know anything about our historical city, Bhaktapur. As per some historical evidence and studies, these gates of Bhaktapur were built along with a bordered wall to ensure and secure the border of Bhaktapur.
But, unfortunately, we don’t know much about these gates since most of them have totally shattered.
However, being shattered doesn’t change the fact that all of them were not in existence.
Even so, the existing ones do not have their original look and architecture. After all, these gates have survived the wars and earthquakes, and are being renovated as well as rebuilt.
Thus, change was a kind of need at that time and was an obvious thing. Moreover, we have tried to collect some possible information regarding those lost gates. So that, we could at least know that there were some spectacular gates in our history.
There are no ruins available of the gate. However, the research shows that there was a gate at the northern hill of the Mahshwori temple. Behind the statue of Lord Budhha at Inacho tole of Bhaktapur.
Kumari gate is the other vanished gate of Bhaktapur. It is said that it was right behind the Kumari temple on the top part of the area. Most of the gates at that time were built on the height, perhaps for better observations, and safety measures and to analyze the chances of getting attacked in advance.
There used to be a gate near the Mahakali shrine of Bhaktapur. And unfortunately, like most other gates, it is not in shape on this day. There exist some speculated remains, but we have no idea what it used to look like in that time period.
It is guessed that it was on the southeastern part of the temple, at the entrance to the Bhaktapur Nagar.
Bhadrakali Dhoka/ Bhelukhya: Dhwaka
Each year, at least for once we all reach Bhelukhel, often known as Lyosinkhel to witness the biggest festival of the year, Biska Jatra. On the same premises, there resides one of the Astamatrika named Bhadrakali.
Since she is one of the Astamatrika that we worship, it is assumed that one of the main entrance gates of then was there. The studies and inscriptions also determined that the Chariots of Lord Bhairava and Goddess Bhadrakali used to pass under the gate during Biska Jatra.
But, today, we are bound to study it as one of the vanished gates of Bhaktapur.
As for the Mahalaxmisthan Gate, there are actually no traces of the gate. There are some guesses made out of some facts stating it should either be at Bholachhen or Thaalachhen. There is even a possibility of the gate being in the Bekhal area since it depicts the essential evidence of having a gate over there.
*There seems to be a pattern of making such large gates. Like, if such gates should be made, then there should be a pati (resthouse), a stone conduit, or a well (for drinking water) and a pond if possible.
Mul Dhoka, as the name suggests, might be the main gate to enter Bhaktapur. Or, it was named so because it leads to the Wane Layaku, the prior palace and Taleju temple of Bhaktapur. But this important gate has also vanished from our sight.
The vanished gate of Chanigal (Chasukhel) was counted as one of the most important gates of Bhaktapur. It is said that it was built on the slope of the Chasukhel, making the Chandeswori temple lie within the Nagara premises.
As per the fact, it was one of the main entrance gates of Bhaktapur that used to directly head towards the then Tripur Rajkul.
Sukuldhoka is now famous for its massive marketplace but it once was kinda border to the Tripur Rajkul. Sukuldhoka then called Sugaldhwoka was mainly built to safeguard the then palace.
Layaku Dhoka/ Lasku Dhwoka
It is said that the Lasku Dhwoka was mispronounced from Lasakusa. Lasakusa literally means welcome in the Newari language. That’s why it was known as the welcome gate rather than any bordered or guarding gates.
There is still a tradition of welcoming Taleju Bhawani and Nawadurga Bhawani from this gate although there is no physical appearance of it. However, as evidence, there is a statue of a warrior and a lion near the remains of the gate.
Note: All the names mentioned of gates might not be their original names. The names are used to indicate their existence and their relation with the mentioned place. Also, this content does not mention the existing gates of Bhaktapur and references are taken from the article written by Om Dhaubhadel.