Why Nyatapola isn’t the Best Temple in Nepal

Why I love going to Kathmandu? Yes, She’s from Kathmandu. But she’s not the only one that so much appeals me to visit Kathmandu. Ancient ornate temples and  monuments are also there dwelling the valley!

Nyatapola, the five storied temple in ancient city of Bhaktapur of deity Siddhi Laxmi from the Malla period, is  often regarded the most magnificent and beautiful temple in Nepal. Bhaktapur Municipality has its logo made entirely of silhouetted Nyatapola. Most profoundly, this five tiered temple graces the front of 100 rupees bill, the most used bill. Besides these, Nyatapola has been depicted/honoured in many other occasions and places.

But I didn’t find it as much appealing as it had been depicted, well at least in the case of its massive five-tiered base. It quickly dawns on anyone that gazes at the temple that there’s a stark discord between red-brick tiers and stone stairs that lead to the door and stone gatekeepers (of five different types). How beautiful Nyatapola would have looked if the tiers had also been made of stones same as gatekeepers and stairs!

Nyatapola temple, Taumadhi square, Bhaktapur

(Picture taken by myself during my visit to Bhaktapur, Taumadhi Square approx. a year back)

The base tiers should also have been made from stone so there would be a matching, homogeneous display of marvelous architecture from our glorious past even after the renovation. The red-brick tiers have been a sacrilege not only to those centuries-old massive, original stone sculptures (guardians) but to the whole temple too. Those base tiers were renovated during King Mahendra’s reign, the plaques attached to one of the walls of the tiers tell.

Those red-brick tiers have totally defiled the originality and beauty of Nyatapola. Either replace those stone guardians with red bricked ones or reconstruct the tiers with stones. Nyatapola’s one of the main attractions along with its skyscraping height, massive base, balance and symmetry is the massive stone gatekeepers that stand on either sides of the stairs up to the door. Remove those guardians (they are, in ascending order from the ground: famous wrestlers from Malla period, elephants, lions, griffins and female deities) and Nyatapola will look like a king without a crown.

So, the red-brick tires of Nyatapola should be reconstructed with stone blocks so it could match to those rough, sturdy stone guardians and further the beauty of the most magnificent temple in Nepal.


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