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Nyatapola Temple

Abhishek Subedi June 5, 2020

Nyatapola Temple is the Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Siddhi Laxmi and Durga. Nyatapola is the Newari language in which the Nyata means 5 storeys and Pola means roof. Thus, meaning the 5 storied roof temple. This temple is one of the main tourist destinations of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Many tourists are fascinated by its arts and architecture. This beautifully sculptured building is considered one of the tallest pagodas in the country. The temple stood tall and proud in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square area.  Nyatapola temple is the example of true art and architecture of the Nepali culture. The temple not only has the architectural value but also the traditional and cultural values. The visitors from all round the country as well as International tourists visit this place.

Nyatapola Temple

Location of Nyatapola Temple

Nyatapola Temple is the five storeys pagoda style temple located in the Bhaktapur district of Nepal. The temple is in front of the Bhairab Temple. It rests on the base of the five levels with four Ganesh shrines in each corner of the temple. This five storeys temple with a five tier roof that stands just over thirty metres high can be reached by walking a few steps that will lead you to the top of the platform.

History of Nyatapola Temple

Nyatapola Temple was built in 1702 AD under the rule of King Bhupatindra Malla. The story and legend surrounds this beautiful temple. According to the legend, during 1701 AD, the Hindu God of destruction, Lord Bhairav was causing catastrophe in the society. At that time Bhairav temple stood in Taumadhi Square of the Bhaktapur. The king was worried about this catastrophe so he decided to call the goddess Parvati. The goddess Parvati took the form of the Siddhi Laxmi and then carried Lord Bhairav in her hand and stopped the society from further destruction. The king then constructed the more powerful temple of the Siddhi Laxmi in front of the Bhairav Temple. To make the brick and wood of the temple more strong and powerful , King Bhupatindra Malla ordered guardians to place in each pair of the base leading to the temple.

The image of the Siddhi Laxmi is locked within the main shrine of the temple. The priests are only allowed to and worship the goddess Siddhi Laxmi of the temple. This is the only temple in the whole valley that is named after the dimension of architecture rather than from the name of the deity residing inside the temple. The temple was built within the short period of time for about five months from its time of construction. In the present context of work schedule, planning and programming, it is very difficult to believe that the temple was erected within that short period of time.

 To construct the temple king took the help from the neighbouring communities like Challenge, Jitpur, Bagshowari, Shakhu, Jhaukhel, Changu, Gokarna and Panauti. At that time King Bhupatindra Malla had a rivalry with the western neighbours Kirtipur and Kantipur. It is also believed that he built this temple to show his true power to these two enemy states. It is stated that this temple was built in a time where Taj Mahal was under construction. He built his own 7 brick factories and brought all the raw materials in advance. The biggest challenge while building this temple was to bring huge stones from the Challenge. After the completion of the temple, King arranged a big feast in which about 23000 people came, four times the population of the Bhaktaur.  This temple was so well designed and constructed that it withstand the Nepal-Bihar Earthquake of 1934 AD and another earthquake of Nepal in 2015 AD.

The many interesting details and stories were found while going through the manuscript of Siddhagiri Kotyahuti Devala Pratista. According to the manuscript it took about only eighty eight days to dig the foundation and complete the roofing of the temple. The excavation work for the foundation lasted for about seven days. The construction of six plinths was done in the thirty one days. After all these completion of work, they immediately started  erection of the superstructure. The superstructure was completed within the mere thirty four days. As soon as this work was completed, roofing work was started from the top to the lowest roof of the temple. In sixteen days all the five roofs were completed and were paved with the mini tiles known as jhingati.

The builders have to wait for the auspicious day to erect the icons in the sanctum sanctorum and fix the pinnacle on the top of the temple. They waited for about 38 days to store the pinnacle on the top of the temple. In the meantime, the auspicious fire-sacrifice (Siddhagiri Kotyahuti Yajna)was going on. This manuscript is preserved in the National archives of Nepal. It is readily available for the readers as well in microfilm which can be read in the office or could be purchased in photocopy paying a certain amount of money.

Design Of The Temple

Nyatapola temple is the tallest temple in the whole country and stands about 30 metres high. On the first level of the base there is the statue of the strongest man of the Bhaktapur, Jaya Mal Pata, a famous wrestler at that time. Moving forward there is the statue of the two huge elephants on each side, followed by the two lions, two griffins and finally the ”Bhagini” and ”Singhini”, the tiger and lion Goddesses. This was done to make the temple more powerful and stronger than the Bhairav Temple just in front of the temple. 

The image of the goddess that is contained inside the temple is maintained strictly by the priests only. The idol of the goddess is so fearsome that’s why it is kept hidden from the devotees. But less brutal incarnations of the goddess appear on the torana above the door, beneath a canopy of braided snakes and also on the temple’s 180 carved roof struts. In a classic piece of religious crossover, the Buddhist eight lucky signs are carved beside the temple doorways. The temple is mostly crowded with the devotees during the first ten days of the Vijaya Dashami. Nyatapola was one of several temples built in the states of Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, and Kathmandu during the 18th century. Today, all three former states comprise the Kathmandu Valley, also known as the Valley of the Temples.

Best Time to Visit Nyatapola Temple

The weather around the temple is warm and cosy all round the year. So the visitors can visit any time of the year. But the temple is mostly crowded during the month of September or October or during the main festival of Nepal Vijaya Dashami.

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