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Entrance to Durbar, Bhatgaon [Bhaktapur]

Entrance to Durbar, Bhatgaon [Bhaktapur]

Photographer: Herzog and Higgins

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1901

Shelfmark: Photo 430/52(25)

Item number: 4305225

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of an entrance flanked by two massive carved lions, in Bhaktapur's Durbar Square, Nepal, from an album of 30 prints credited to Herzog and Higgins, taken in ca. 1901 and part of the Curzon Collection. Bhaktapur (or Bhadgaon), 11 kms east of Kathmandu and 10 kms north-east of Patan, is the youngest of the three former city-states of the Kathmandu Valley. Very little associates it with the Lichchavi period (300-800 AD) and it seems to have grown in mediaeval times with the opening of a new trans-Himalayan trade route. It became powerful as the capital of the united Malla kingdom. In the 15th century when the kingdom was divided in three parts, it had to share its supremacy in the Kathmandu Valley with Patan and Kathmandu. This resulted in each city-state being embellished with architecture and spacious quadrangles as successive rulers tried to outdo one another. Bhaktapur, Patan and Kathmandu each have a Durbar Square built around the royal palace. It was a king of Bhaktapur who helped usher the end of the Malla dynasty by asking the Gurkha leader Prithvi Narain Shah to assist him in a feud with Kathmandu. With this pretext, the Gurkhas conquered the Valley by 1769, Bhaktapur being the last of the three cities to capitulate. The Lion Gateway is the entrance to the Malati Chok, one of the five remaining inner courtyards of the Bhaktapur Royal Palace. The palace, which was possibly founded in the 12th century, once had many wings and reputedly 99 courtyards. It has been much diminished and altered in the last few hundred years but also suffered in the damaging earthquake which affected Bhaktapur in 1934. This western wing of the palace now houses the National Art Gallery. The stone lions date from the 17th century.

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