The meaning of the word Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the place of devotees; the place is also referred as Bhadgaon and Khwopa, by the locals. The city was founded in the 12th century by King Ananda Malla and the city was the capital city in the reign of Malla dynasty till the 15th century. It retained its identity as a separate kingdom till 18th century. From the ancient days, the city was an important on the trade route between India and Tibet, and its prime location on the trade route made this city prosper.
About Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
Bhaktapur is located 20 Km. away from the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. Bhaktapur is full of monuments, temples, with Pagodas and shrines. Truly the place Bhaktapur deserves the name ‘city of devotees’, the city of culture and Cultural Gem of Nepal. Bhaktapur is surrounded by mountains and the visitors can have a magnificent view of the snow clad peaks of the Himalayas.
Khwopa is the ancient name of Bhaktapur, and the city is still known in Kathmandu valley by this name. The word Khwopa refers to the masks, it is believed that the gods and goddesses have worn masks, and Bhaktapur is famous for mask dance of different types.
Bhaktapur has predominant Hindu inhabitants, yet the place is full of both Hindu and Buddhist religious sites, there are many temples and also monasteries and Buddha Stupa in this area. There are 19 Buddhist monasteries; a monastery is Vihar, the residing place for the monks. Bhaktapur has the Durbar Square and the Dattatreya Square and the tourists can see statues of two large lions, wood carved windows and the prayer wheels. Bhaktapur has many examples of traditional art and architecture, there are historical monuments, and the vihars have lovely wood carved windows.
Bhaktapur is listed by the UNESCO as World Heritage site. This place was severely damaged by the massive earthquake experienced in the year 1934, whence more than 2000 homes were destroyed and almost equal number of houses damaged, killing more than 1000 people. Restoration work was done and it was funded by West Germany in late 1980 and then by U.S. in 1990.
There was yet another destructive earthquake on the 25th of April 2015 which caused heavy destruction in Nepal. Most of the 12th century city is destroyed; many buildings destroyed or are leaning dangerously. This Heritage city will now need to be rebuilt, and seeing the span of destruction the rebuilding needed is almost total. Since the city has the Heritage status the buildings will have to be rebuilt as per the designs approved by the Municipality in order to preserve the original character and style of the city.
The Nepal people and the administration are so determined to rebuild their cultural heritage that the people are not using JCB for lifting the debris of the Vatsala temple, but the people are picking pieces literally with their bare hands, as this Vatsala Temple was 300 years old.
All over Kathmandu and across Bhaktapur, there is special precaution taken by the administration to preserve the carving on the stones and bricks that carry inscription or the names of the various Kings who had contributed in the construction of various buildings, to retain the cultural heritage.