Alt text: An intricate traditional Nepalese pagoda-style temple with detailed wood carvings and tiered roofs against a clear blue sky.
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Nyatapola Temple

Have you ever wondered what makes the Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur, Nepal, so extraordinary? Step into a world of ancient craftsmanship and cultural symbolism as we explore the fascinating history, architectural elements, and cultural significance of this magnificent five-tiered temple. Discover how it has withstood the test of time, even in the face of powerful earthquakes, and delve into the impact it has had on the local community. Get ready to be amazed by the secrets that lie within this architectural marvel.


The etymology of Nyatapola, meaning 'something with five storeys' in Nepal Bhasa, reflects the unique architectural design of the temple. Nyatapola Temple, as its name suggests, is a five-tiered structure that stands out for its distinctive five levels. The name Nyatapola directly references the temple's five-storied structure. This architectural marvel represents an exceptional example of the ancient craftsmanship and artistic excellence of the Newari people.

The term Nyatapola highlights the temple's characteristic of having five distinct levels. Each level of the temple is adorned with intricate carvings and statues, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Nepal. The five-tiered design of Nyatapola Temple is not only aesthetically pleasing but also serves a symbolic purpose. It represents the balance between the physical and spiritual realms, with each level signifying a different aspect of existence.

The unique architectural design of Nyatapola Temple has made it an iconic landmark in Nepal. Its grandeur and structural integrity have withstood the test of time, surviving natural calamities and human interventions. The temple's five-storeyed structure stands tall and proud, attracting visitors from all around the world.

The etymology of Nyatapola, meaning 'something with five storeys' in Nepal Bhasa, perfectly encapsulates the essence of this magnificent temple. The five-tiered architectural design, coupled with the intricate carvings and statues, make Nyatapola Temple a true masterpiece. It is a testament to the skill, creativity, and devotion of the craftsmen who built it. As you visit Nyatapola Temple, you will be mesmerized by its beauty and captivated by its unique structure, leaving you with a deep appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of Nepal.


Dating back to the early 18th century, the construction of Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur Square was commissioned by King Bhupatindra Malla, a powerful Tantric ruler of the Malla dynasty. This magnificent temple, located in Taumadhi Square, is considered the tallest pagoda-style temple in Nepal.

The Nyatapola Temple stands proudly with its five tiers, towering over Bhaktapur and showcasing the impressive craftsmanship of 18th-century Nepalese artisans. Surviving numerous disasters, including the devastating earthquake in 2015, this historical monument has remained a symbol of resilience and strength.

The temple's history is intertwined with the belief in Siddhi, the power to achieve spiritual enlightenment. It is said that King Bhupatindra Malla wanted to create a structure that would embody the essence of Siddhi, and thus, he commissioned the Nyatapola Temple.

Throughout the years, this architectural masterpiece has attracted visitors from all over the world. Its massive presence, along with the stunning views from the top, leave tourists in awe. The intricate beauty and design of the temple are also highly praised.

The Nyatapola Temple stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of Nepal. Its construction by King Bhupatindra Malla and its survival through the ages make it an important landmark in Bhaktapur Square. As you visit this magnificent structure, you can't help but admire the craftsmanship and the spiritual significance it represents.

Architectural Elements

Featuring intricate architectural elements, the Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur Square showcases the impressive craftsmanship of 18th-century Nepalese artisans. This temple has survived the test of time and stands as a testament to the unique architecture of the region.

One of the notable features of the Nyatapola Temple is the presence of five plinths on its stairways, each guarded by stone figures. These figures represent various aspects of protection and guardianship, symbolizing the temple's spiritual significance. The temple is dedicated to Siddhi Lakshmi, a Tantric deity and an ancestral deity of the Malla royal family. This emphasizes the deep-rooted cultural and religious beliefs associated with the temple.

Interestingly, the construction of the Nyatapola Temple was influenced by the belief in the destructive force of the Hindu god Bhairava. It was built as a counterbalance to this deity, showcasing a unique architectural response to cultural beliefs. This adds a layer of significance to the temple's design and further highlights its spiritual significance.

Within the temple, a secretive image of Siddhi Lakshmi is kept. Described as ten feet tall with nine heads and eighteen arms, this image adds to the temple's mystique and reinforces its religious importance.

In addition to the main deity, the Nyatapola Temple also houses five Ganesha idols on four shrines. This reflects the diverse religious influences present within the structure, further enhancing its cultural and religious significance.

Cultural Significance

With its rich history and intricate architectural design, the Nyatapola Temple holds immense cultural significance in Bhaktapur Square. The temple, dedicated to the Tantric deity Siddhi Lakshmi, symbolizes the ancestral deity of the Malla royal family. This connection to the royal lineage adds to its cultural importance, as it showcases the deep-rooted traditions and beliefs of the people.

One of the unique aspects of the Nyatapola Temple is its purpose. It was built to counteract the destructive behavior of the Hindu God Bhairava. This signifies the temple's role as a protector, safeguarding the community against negative forces. The architectural significance of the temple is evident in its five-storey structure, which is reflected in its name, Nyatapola. This name, meaning 'something with five storeys,' highlights its cultural and historical importance.

Inside the temple, there is a hidden image of Siddhi Lakshmi. Described as a ten-foot tall deity with nine heads and eighteen arms, this image adds to the mystique and religious significance of the temple. Additionally, the presence of five Ganesha idols within the temple further emphasizes its religious and architectural significance.

The Nyatapola Temple serves as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Bhaktapur Square. Its intricate design, dedication to the Tantric deity Siddhi Lakshmi, and role as a protector against negative forces all contribute to its cultural significance. As visitors explore the temple, they can truly appreciate the deep-rooted traditions and beliefs of the people, making it a must-see attraction in Bhaktapur Square.

Impact From Earthquakes

Despite facing multiple earthquakes over the centuries, the Nyatapola Temple has demonstrated its robust construction and resilience, surviving major seismic events including the devastating 2015 earthquake. This remarkable feat is a testament to the temple's resilience, solid foundation, and quality materials used in its construction. Crafted with exceptional Nepalese craftsmanship, the temple showcases the durability of its earthquake-resistant design and architectural elements.

The Nyatapola Temple has endured four major earthquakes throughout its existence, including those in 1702, 1835, 1934, and the catastrophic earthquake in 2015. Despite these seismic events, the temple has only sustained minor damages, thanks to its well-built structure and engineering craftsmanship.

The temple's survival can be attributed to its solid foundation, which provides stability and strength. The use of high-quality materials, such as timber, bricks, and stone, ensures the temple's ability to withstand the forces of nature. The traditional Nepalese craftsmanship employed in its construction further enhances its resilience.

Furthermore, the Nyatapola Temple's earthquake-resistant design plays a crucial role in its ability to withstand seismic activities. Its ziggurat form, with its stepped pyramid structure, helps distribute the weight evenly and provides stability. The temple's architectural elements, such as the intricately carved wooden struts and beams, not only add to its aesthetic beauty but also contribute to its structural integrity.

The temple's ability to endure multiple earthquakes underscores its historical significance and the remarkable engineering craftsmanship of its creators. It stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Nepal and serves as a symbol of the country's architectural prowess. The Nyatapola Temple continues to inspire awe and admiration, showcasing the resilience and strength of human ingenuity in the face of natural disasters.