Dattatreya Square or also known as the Tachapal Tole is one of the oldest squares of the Bhaktapur. The square is located to the east of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Taumadhi Square. It is often regarded as the market area of Bhaktapur . The area still has some old market stalls that are now corner stores. The Dattatreya square is named after the main temple of the square. The square has an open central area with two main temples along with a smaller one. There are also two museums in which the visitors can enjoy the arts and architecture of the Malla period. The square also has the quiet side streets leading off to markets, monuments and yet more temples.
Dattatreya Square is known to be the oldest squares of the valley. The Square is believed to be constructed much before the 15th century. It is likely that it was the first square used by the royal families of Nepal. This square was the major attraction for the other kings during that time. There is little indication why Bhaktapur Durbar Square took over other than due to its additional size would have been more suitable for an expanding kingdom and its territory.
There are many beautiful and stunning heritages to look around the Dattatreya Square. It is less crowded and quiet than the main area of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. While going here visitors can witness the many shops and stalls that sell the traditional arts and architectures handicrafts of Nepal. They can also foresee the beautiful and amazing paintings of places of Nepal and sketches depicting the religion and culture of the people. The square area has many temples and museums from which visitors can take the opportunity to learn about the Malla arts and architecture of Nepal.
Dattatreya temple is one of the main attractions of the square. The temple is situated at the east end of the square with the eye catching arts and handicrafts. It is believed that the temple was originally built in 1428 AD making it the oldest temple of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Standing proudly on the premises of the Dattatreya Square in Bhaktapur, the temple is believed to be constructed by the timber of the single stem during the reign of the King Yaksha Malla. However some renovations and alterations to the temple were done during the year 1458 AD. The slightly mismatched front porch of the temple was added later. The temple is dedicated to the Dattatreya, a curious hybrid deity, blending elements of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Judging from the Garuda statue and the conch and chakra disc mounted on pillars supported by stone turtles in front of the temple, Vishnu seems to have come out on top. The temple is built in a pagoda style, has three tiers and there are two huge stone statues of two popular wrestlers of that time, Jaya Malla and Patta at the steps of the temple. There is the statue of Garuda in kneeling position in front of the temple.
The temple is made up of exquisitely carved wood which is dark brown in colour and has a terracotta base. A huge tree stands behind the idol of the Dattatreya. On the third tier of the temple, there is a statue of Anasuya Mata and it depicts the story of Mata turning Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva into children when, at the request of their wives, they went to test her power of chastity.
The temple has great significance in Nepal’s religious and cultural heritage. This temple is considered as a testament to the history and has also survived various calamities throughout the time including the earthquake in 1934 and 2015 that destroyed dozens of other ancient monuments and buildings in Kathmandu. He is also known as the teacher of the Pashupatinath Temple. This temple also has high religious significance to Shaivites, Vaishnavites and Buddhists. Its sides are carved with erotic scenes and it is also one of the popular temples of Nepal containing erotic themes carved on their studs and pillars. The temple is mostly crowded with the devotees during the Monday of month Shrawan and Wednesday of Month Poush according to the lunar calendar.
Bhimsen temple is the two storied rectangular temple. The temple was believed to be constructed in the year 1605 AD. The centre of the temple has the main shrine where the clay image of Bhimsen, the god of trade and commerce is located. The god is portrayed with a red face, angry eyes and a thick black mustache. Visitors can walk through the open gloun floor to the back of the temple where there’s a very old deep hiti known as Bhimsen pokhari. Back at the platform in front of the Bhimsen Temple there is a column with the Naga at the top. The temple was damaged by the earthquake of the 2015. The reconstruction work was completed by the end of 2018.
Laxmi Narayan Temple is the small two storied temple dedicated to the Goddess Laxmi- goddess of wealth and Lord Vishnu- god of the curator. The temple is usually locked and its area and steps are used as meeting points in the evening for the older generations. The shrine contains an ornate gilded statue of Laxmi and Narayan.
These are the two museums just behind the temple of Dattatreya. This building was built in 1763 and now is the museum of the square area. The museum has some great examples of Bhaktapur’s wood carvings on display over the three floors. There’s an inner courtyard with some of the finest examples of window carvings in the valley.
Bass and Bronze museum lies side by side to the pujar mathh. There are three galleries of the Bhaktapur’s finest metal craftsmanship. Most of the displays are of domestic or ritual objects.
Peacock Window is located down the side lane beside the woodcarving museum is a window carving of a peacock set high in a wall. The window is said to be made in the 15th century. It’s sometimes referred to as the ”Mona Lisa” of Nepal. It is the most treasured item of the country. The earthquake of 2015 damaged the surrounding of the wall badly. However there was no damage to the window itself. The walls of the windows were repaired in the year 2017 and the visitors can still enjoy this magnificent Window of the square.
Dattatreya Square is an example of true art and beauty. The visitors can enjoy the majestic arts and architectures of the Malla period with some local delicacies.
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