Dattatreya Square is located to the east of Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Taumadhi square and is often called Tachapal Tole. Dattatreya square is also the oldest of all the squares in Bhaktapur.
Dattatreya Square is often referred to as Dattatreya Tole which is because "tole" means "market street area" in Nepali. The area still has some old market stalls that are now "corner stores".
The square has an open central area with two main temples along with a smaller one. There are also two museums and a host of quiet side streets leading off to markets, monuments and yet more temples.
Did you know?
Dattatreya Square is dated to the early 15th century but could well be much older. It is likely that it was the first square used by Nepali royalty. There is little indication why Bhaktapur Durbar Square took over other than due to its additional size which would have been more suitable for an expanding kingdom.
If you are visiting Dattatreya square in Bhaktapur I highly recommend you download my guidebook. It includes a fantastic heritage walk around the square, maps and photographs of every temple so you'll never be confused as to what's what again!
Bhimsen TempleThe two roofed rectangular Bhimsen Temple may look plain but the further you step back the more it looks so very different to other temples in Nepal. No one seems to know the exact date of its construction though 1605 CE is generally agreed.
From the dance platform in front, look up into the first ﬂoor above the open ground ﬂoor. There in the center is a shrine where a clay image of Bhimsen, the god of trade and commerce, sits. He is portrayed with a red face, angry eyes and a thick black mustache
Walk through the open ground ﬂoor to the back of the temple where there’s a very old deep hiti known as Bhimsen Pokhari. There’s no exact date for this hiti but archaeologists have said it predates the temple. Back at the platform in front of the Bhimsen temple there is a column has a Naga at the top.
In late 2018 work to restore the Bhimsen temple was completed.
Laxmi Narayan Temple
A small two-tiered temple dedicated to Laxmi/Narayan. It’s usually locked and the steps used as a meeting place in the evenings.
If you do get to look inside there is an ornate gilded statue of Laxmi and Narayan.
In front of a tall Garuda column stands one of the oldest temples in Bhaktapur. The temple was built in 1427 by King Yaksha Malla, then restored in 1458. It’s said to be the only temple in Nepal dedicated to Dattatreya who is part of the trinity of Vishnu, Shiva and Brama.
Legend tells of the temple being built using the timber from a single tree (very similar to Kasthamandap in Kathmandu). Astute observers will notice that the front area is a little diﬀerent from the rest of the temple as it was added later. The base of the temple has several erotic carvings. The temple is guarded at its base steps by statues of the Rajput wrestlers Jayamel and Phattu who also guard the Nyatapola temple in Taumadhi Square.
Tip: If you come by here at about 7pm the front porch area is usually filled with local musicians on traditional instruments
Pujar Math (Woodcarving Museum) / Brass and Bronze Museum
The two museums stand practically opposite each other behind the Dattatreya temple. You might notice a small puppet looking out from one of the top windows of the woodcarving museum. This lovely math was built in 1763 and now houses the museum. The museum has some great examples of Bhaktapur’s woodcarvings on display over three ﬂoors. There’s an inner courtyard with some of the finest examples of window carvings in the valley, which is possibly worth the price of admission.
Across the square is the brass and bronze museum which is far less impressive but at least comes under the same entrance ticket. Inside are three galleries containing some of Bhaktapur’s finest metal craftsmanship. Most of the displays are of domestic or ritual
Visitors should note that the National Art Gallery in Bhaktapur Durbar Square ticket will also give you entrance into the Woodcarving and Brass work Museum (vice versa is also possible).
Located down the side lane beside the woodcarving museum is a window carving of a peacock set high in a wall. The window is said to have been made in the 15th century. It's sometimes referred to as the "Mona Lisa" of Nepal and is one of its most treasured items.
In the 2015 earthquake the walls surrounding it on both sides were badly damaged. However the window survived with little to no damage. In 2017 the walls were full repaired and the Peacock window can still be visited.
If you get my downloadable guide to Bhaktapur it contains every temple in the square and far more: all laid out in a great walking tour, maps and parts of Bhaktapur not covered in any other book. Get my Bhaktapur guidebook here. Or if you love heritage get me Kathmandu Valley Heritage Walks book for exclusive heritage walks in Bhaktapur.
The current fee for foreigners is included in your overall Bhaktapur ticket price.
This ticket covers all of Bhaktapur including, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Pottery Square, Taumadhi Square and Dattatreya Tole.
If you are planning to stay in Bhaktapur show your passport at the ticket office and you can get the same ticket extended for one week with no extra cost.
Ticket booths are located at all the main entrance streets into the old city of Bhaktapur and there are random "ticket inspections" so do hold on to your ticket!
Dattatreya Square's museums do however charge entrance fees which can by found in the guidebook below.
There are a few hotels within Dattatreya square most nearby hotels are spread out across Bhaktapur but everything is within easy walking distance.
High-end hotels near Dattatreya Square
Most hotels in the square are of a mid-level quality the difference thee days is that "boutique" hotels are capitalizing on this. Do look carefully and decide if the extra cost is worth it.
|Peacock Guest House - On the main square stands this well run guesthouse with clean well decorated rooms in Newari design. Book here ★★★☆☆||
Mid-range: USD $20-80 per night
|Unique Guesthouse - Run by two brothers for many years this guesthouse has one of the best balcony views over the square. Book here ★★★★☆||
Budget hotels in Dattatreya Square: USD $5-20 per night
|Dattatreya Guest House - Just behind the Bhimsen temple and the hiti is this budget place. Check the rooms out first though. Details are in my guidebook. Book here ★★☆☆☆||
Looking for more accommodation in Bhaktapur? Try my hotel search below for the best rates.
There are not so many good restaurants around Dattatreya square, however it's very walkable to other areas around Bhaktapur.
Cafe de Peacock: with the best restaurant views over Dattatreya square and with good meals it's just a shame the prices are bloated.
Peacock Guest House: the food here is good when it's served. They tend to guests first but the bakery nearly always has something on offer.
King Curd: There are plenty of king curd or Juju Dhau stores selling fresh yogurt around the side streets to the east of Dattatreya square.
Many more restaurant and places to eat are listed in my guidebook below.
From Bhaktapur Durbar Square simply walk passed the lions at the end of the square and keep going. However if you take the first right down the narrow street - it leads directly into Taumadhi Square which also has a main street leading to Dattatreya square. Full sized maps available in my guidebooks.
Map of Dattatreya square
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