Located in the center of Bhaktapur Durbar square the 55 window palace, or Palace of Fifty-Five Windows, was built by King Bhupatindra Malla. However, it was not completed until 1754 during the reign of Jaya Ranjit Malla, who was the last of the Bhaktapur Malla kings. Today the 55 Window Palace still stands as Bhaktapur's Royal Palace on ceremonial occasions.
The interior of the 55 Window Palace is closed (for many decades). There was a lot of damage done to it during the 1934 earthquake. There are plans to renovate the area but a lot of this is held up due to funding. There is an entrance to several inner courtyards around the palace through including the Golden Gate, one of the most lavish and important artifacts in Nepal today. Non-hindus may only continue on to Taleju Chowk but everyone can visit the ornate royal water tank Naga Pokhari.
The western end of the 55 Window palace has been made into a national art museum.
The Bhaktapur Kumari will sometimes attend ceremonies in the 55 Window palace but rarely seen.
Naga Pokhari was built in the 17th-century as a royal water tank. It's encircled by a stone cobra (naga). The water tank was allegedly used for a daily ritual bath by the goddess Taleju.
You can step right up to the doorstep of Taleju temple inside the palace grounds. Just be mindful not to enter inside the Taleju temple unless you are Hindu. In 2019 the 55 window palace still awaits some repairs but remains and impressive historical sight.
While it might seem there's not much to see around the closed 55 window palace its exterior is beautiful and certainly worth a look. This is especially true of the elaborate wooden window frames that surround it.
Does the palace really have 55 windows? At least 4 of the windows are more like window slats. But these have always been recognized as windows by Newari standards so technically the answer is yes.
After the 1934 earthquake much of the lower brick portions of the palace had to be rebuilt. The upper wooden windows remained intact. There was some interior damage during the 2015 earthquake but the exterior remains undamaged.
- The Golden Gate: A beautifully ornate and culturally important piece of artwork. It's also the door you enter though into the palace courtyard.
- Naga Pokhari: The royal water pool used by the goddess Taleju
- National Art Gallery: Housing important works of art from both Bhaktapur and Nepal
There is no fee to view The 55 Window Palace as it's covered under the main Bhaktapur ticket price.
However there is a 150 rupee fee to enter the museum.
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