National Art Gallery


The western end of Bhaktapur's Royal Palace contains the best of the three museums in Bhaktapur. Inside, you can view an extensive collection of Tantric cloth paintings – the Hindu version of Buddhist thangkas – as well as palm-leaf manuscripts, and metal, stone and wooden votive objects, some of which date from the 12th century. Keep hold of your ticket as this also covers the Woodcarving Museum and Brass & Bronze Museum in Tachupal Tole.

The entrance to the gallery is flanked by two huge guardian lions, one male and one female. Beside the lions are some imposing 17th-century statues of Hanuman the monkey god, in his four-armed Tantric form, and Vishnu, as the gut-ripping Narsingha.

Inside the gallery are portraits of all the Shah kings, including a surly Gyanendra (the last of the Nepali kings) following the abolition of the monarchy in 2008. In the first gallery look out for depictions of the nightmarish Maha Sambhara, with 21 faces and an unbelievable number of arms, and then turn around on the spot for scenes from the Kama Sutra.

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