Dattatreya Temple in Bhaktapur
The Dattatreya Temple is one of the oldest temples in Bhaktapur and is situated in the oldest square here: the Dattatreya Square, which itself is located to the east of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square and is often called the Tachapal Tole (market area). Built by King Yaksha Malla in the year 1427 AD, it is said to also be a unique temple because it was made out of wood used from a single tree. Apart from this, this temple is also dedicated to a unique deity – ‘Lord Dattatreya’ who is a combined form of the Hindu trinity of Gods: Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and, Shiva (the destroyer).
This unique temple is three-storied high and is built upon a base made of brick and terracotta which extends into the foundation. This base is decorated with numerous carvings in wood and gilded metal. These carvings however are made depicting erotic scenes from the old ages. The stairs leading inside the temple have two enormous carved statues of Malla wrestlers that are believed to be guardians of the temple. These are the same statues also found at over the plinth of the Nyatapola Temple, also in Kathmandu. When noticed closely, it is found that the temple’s porch area is different from the rest of the temple. This is because it was added later in 1458 AD as a part of renovation and beautification of the original temple. Only Hindu worshippers are allowed to go inside the temple to offer prayers. Others can view it from outside and take pictures to their heart’s content. One can also enjoy the souvenir shops and a small museum that are located close by. This area of the Dattatreya square is not very crowded. In the evenings though, around seven in the evening, the porch area transforms itself into a stage for local musicians playing traditional instruments.