The world-famous five-storied Nyatapola Temple the tallest temple is situated in Bhaktapur. It was built by King Bhupatendra Malla in 1708 A D. It stands on five terraces on each of which squat a pair figures, two famous wrestlers (Malla), two elephants, two lions, two griffins and two Baghini and Singhini, the tiger and lion goddesses. Each pair of this figure is considered ten times stronger than the ones immediately below while the lowest pair. The two strong men Jaya Malla and Phatta Malla were reputedly ten times stronger than any other ordinary man.
Nepal’s vast heritage of Temples like Nyatapola and works of art is renowned throughout the world. The more so now because of the increasing number of tourists. Who comes to seek the rich culture that still thrives in the unique country Nepal. This historical and artistic temple of Bhaktapur is dedicated to all the powerful Goddess Siddhi Luxmi Devi of Tantra Sastra related to Goddess Durga.
There are four parts to the artistic image of Siddhi Luxmi Devi. First of all, there is a figure of Betal sleeping on the ground and treated by Bhairaba. Bhairaba is standing upon the body of Betal holding by his two hands Goddess Siddhi Luxmi Devi with different weapons holding in her hands. Goddess Siddhi Luxmi Devi has seven heads four upon two and two upon one in the top in three parts. There are two images of Bhairaba on the right side Masan Bhairaba and on the left side Mahankal Bhairaba.
The Pagoda Style Nyatapola Temple is a multi-roofed structure with wide eaves supported by delicately carved wooden struts projecting windows, latticed and grilled, topped off generally by triangular spires enclosing an inverted bell of stucco or burnishing gold. The temple architecture follows the same pattern whether it was to be consecrated to the Hindus or Buddhist’s divinity. The Nyatapola temple is a typical pagoda-style temple that originated in the Kathmandu valley. The five roofs of this temple are graduated in size that the smallest roof crowns the structure. With wooden pillars, struts, and projecting brackets. The scheme is repeated on each story of the temple with a diminishing scale.
The sanctum wall goes up from the base to all the stories above and acts as the central support for the radiating roofs. The sequence of roofs is reduced in proportion for the lower to the upper one. The temple wall along to the upper story is interspersed with carved window frames. The metal finial is a bell-shaped member carrying an amalaka a Kalasha and Vijapurah which is carved on the top. Which is called gajura or pinnacle.
The Torana is one of the fascinating parts of the pagoda temple, an ornate panel place above the main entrance of the temple. The Torana is made of wood depicted numerous deities and Chheppu (dragons ram-horned, lion heads holding serpents in both the claws).
The doorways of the Nyatapol temple are present on all four sides of the sanctum with a larger door at the center flanked by two sides carved arch. Suspended over the central door is a semi-circular tympnum with the figure of the enshrined deity at its center. The doorways are heavily carved wooden frames. The extended sills and the wing-like flap of the doorways, and the niches, windows, and corners are carved wood ornamentation in relief against the break wall. The broad corners consist of several decorative bands of which is a row of animal heads. The struts extending for the corners in this temple at an angle of 45e to the verticle wall of the temple. These, in turn, support the sloping roof of tile laid upon the thickly set rafters which radiate for the wall on all four sides and provide a safe cover to its wall.
The Nyatapola temple is made of only wood and brick. The metal is used only in the pinnacle and clappers attached to leaf-shaped paddles that catch the breeze with wind bells. It is decorated on the roofs of the Nyatapola temple. Their chimes sounding man’s devotion to his god.
Nyatapola Temple is erected over five pedestals that accentuated the height of the temple and affected the appearance of the temple. The twenty-one wooden pillars of the four sides of the Nyatapola temple are heavily ornamented with motifs in the entire length. The pillars of Nyatapola are cylindrical and square shafts with various decorative components of the jamb such as Ambosa (Jewel or beading). Jan (matted hair or design shaped like a conch). Pepha (flower and floral decoration), Palen (lotus or pattern of lotus petals), Pepho (lowers), Siha (leaf), Kawang skull face, etc.
There are eighty-eight wooden struts and twenty corner struts in the Nyatapola temple. Resting on the entablature or the pillars the struts supported the horizontal beam above, which hold in position the series of rafters of the sloping roof of the Nyatapola temple. The corner struts of the Nyatapola temple are shaped of prancing griffins with horned heads, winged shoulders, clawed feet. In other struts consist of the figures of tantric deities. The struts of Nyatapola consist of a standing figure below on a lotus. The main upper portion of the struts is tantric, Buddhist, and Brahmanical deities.
Among the arts of Nepal, perhaps the best known is the wood carvings that adorn temples like Nyatapola. This is a craft that developed in the 15th and 16th centuries during the Malla rule among the Newar tribes. There are thirty-six decorated wooden windows in the Nyatapola temple. The window seems to have been the most favored unit of decoration of the temple. The windows are engaged in the brick wall equipped with religious symbols, floral patterns, and geometrical patterns in relief.
The wooden temples like the Nyatapola temple by virtue of the constructional peculiarities gave great scope for the use of wood carvings. Every part of which received elaborated ornamentation at the hands of the Newari Craftsmen. Who, for generations have transmitted the traditional art with a faithfulness that reflects great precision, imagination, and artistic sensitivity.
The woodwork in the Nyatapola temple thus is truly a testament to the cultural and artistic traditions of Nepal. Like the Nyatapola temple, most of the temples are built by the then Newar Kings. And erected and installed images of various deities and donated land and money to manage the temple in Nepal.
Nyatapola Temple and King Bhupetendra Malla
During the construction of the Nyatapola temple, King Bhupetendra Malla himself worked and helped the other workers. In laying the foundation of the temple, King Bhupatendra Malla himself had carried three bricks on the shoulder with the result that within five days. All the materials needed for the erection of the temple were brought to the place by the people. On the auspicious moment of laying the foundation, a certain Peasant Jyapoo sowed grains of paddy in his field. And later on, when he tried to pull them out he had to use a spade. This proves the stability of the foundation. So the tallest temple of Nepal Nyatapola did not fall to the ground even in the great earthquake of 1934 A. D. Only the topmost roof fell down.
King Bhupatendra Malla inaugurated Nyatapola after performing Kotyauhouti Yagya. And at that time he presented Coronet of gold to the Brahmans. He was an incarnation of a Buddhist monk of a Buddhist Gumba of Lhasa Tibet. In his previous life, he was the Lama of a Gumba of Lhasa.
Once King Bhupatendra Malla was inspecting the construction work of the Nyatapola temple. At that time all of a sudden an eagle appeared in the roof of the newly completed roof of Nyatapola temple. The eagle was the messenger of a Tibetan Chief monk, who visited there in eagle’s shape. He said “O King when you are returning back to the Gumba of Lhasa in eagle’s screme (voice). After that immediately King Bhupetendra Malla replied, we came back in the Gumba after twelve years in eagle’s screme (voice) after completing this Nyatapola temple.
After twelve years King Bhupatendra Malla completed the construction work of the Nyatapola temple. As soon as the temple was completed, he died according to his own wishes. And returned back to the Gumba of Lhasa Tibet in his next life. Nyatapola temple of Bhaktapur was contemporary of Taj Mahal of Agra constructed by Shabjahan Mugal Emperor of India. At that time Shahjahan built the Taj Mahal in memory of Mumtaz who died giving birth to their 14th child. No cost was spared to make it the most beautiful monument of white marble in the world.
Nepal valley is interesting in many respects. Being a labyrinth of mountains, deep valleys, and rivers with the sovereign peaks of Himalayan ranges. Nepalese people of Kathmandu valley are pious people. As may be inferred from the existence of countless temples and shrines of Goddess Durga in the valley.