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Part of Palace at Bhatgaon. In centre an octagonal building, erected AD 1662 by Bhatgaon Rajah, as a summer house for his wives

Part of Palace at Bhatgaon. In centre an octagonal building, erected AD 1662 by Bhatgaon Rajah, as a summer house for his wives

Photographer: Taylor, Clarence Comyn

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1863

Shelfmark: Photo 855/(11)

Item number: 85511

Length: 32.5

Width: 33.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph with a view of the Darbar Square at Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon); part of a collection of albumen prints taken by Clarence Comyn Taylor between 1863-65, which constitute the earliest photographs of Nepal. Taylor, a soldier in the East India Company's army, was badly wounded in the Indian Uprising of 1857 and turned to Political Service, arriving in Kathmandu in 1863 as Assistant Resident. At this time the British had started a project to document the people and monuments of the Indian sub-continent using photography. Taylor fortuitously was a capable photographer and took images of Nepal for the Government of India. Taylor described this photograph in his List of Pictures as, 'No XI. Part of the Palace at Bhatgaon with Temples &c. In the centre is an octagonal double-storied building erected AD 1662 by the Bhatgaon Rajah as a summer house for his wives, also a stone pillar surmounted by a copper-gilt figure of the Rajah himself'.

The youngest of the three city-states of the Kathmandu Valley (the other two being Patan and Kathmandu), Bhaktapur grew in prominence from the 9th century AD, due to the opening of a new trans-Himalayan trade route. Like Kathmandu and Patan, it has a Darbar Square at its centre, endowed by succeeding kings with monuments both sacred and secular. This view of the Square, taken from the west, shows the pillar image of King Bhupatindra Malla in the centre foreground. He faces his Fifty-five Window Palace at the left, which is receding towards the three-roofed Harishankara temple in the background. Beyond the king's pillar are the Taleju Bell and a beautiful late 17th century octagonal pavilion, the Chyasilin Mandapa, which served as an assembly hall and lodging place. At right is the vegetation-covered stone shikara or tower of the Vatsaladevi temple, built in 1696 by Jitamitra Malla. All these buildings were much damaged in the devastating earthquake of 1934, only the Vatsaladevi was left standing.

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