(Layaku) Durbar Square
Almost 1/3 of the ancient temples, monasteries, and other ornate buildings were destroyed in the earthquake of 1934. Yet many gems remain. In Durbar Square, tourists will find the 55-Window Palace, which served as the seat of royalty prior to 1769. The palace has elaborately carved windows and doors and houses the National Art Gallery, with Buddhist Paubha scroll paintings, palm leaf manuscripts, and stone carvings.
Just outside the palace, at the entrance to the Taleju Temple Complex is the Golden Gate, built in 1756, a splendid example of Repoussé metalwork. There also lies the Royal Bath, with its Golden Faucet. Durbar Square is also home to the Big Bell, built by the last Malla king of Bhaktapur, Ranajit Malla in the 18th century. It was rung to pay homage to the Goddess Taleju and to harken the public to town meetings.
Today it is rung twice a day as a tribute to the Goddess Taleju. Next to this bell is the Barking Bell, so named because dogs bark to its ring. Also in the Square lies the Yaksheswor Mahadev Temple, built by Yaksha Malla in the 15th century. It was modeled after the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu and was designed with ornate wooden struts decorated with erotic carvings. Other sites in and around the square include the octagonal Chyasin Mandap, Siddhi Laxmi Temple, Shiva Temple (Fasi-dega), Vatsala Temple, Bhandarkhal Complex, Chatu Brahma Mahavihar, Indrayani Temple, Balakhu Ganesh Temple, Tripura-sundari Temple and the Char Dham symbolizing the four greatest Hindu pilgrimage sites. The Phasi Dega Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, affords expansive views of the entire city.