Bhaktapur: The Living Heritage of Nepal
Crowning the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is one of the most ancient towns of Nepal. Once the capital of Nepal, this town is also known by many other names such as “Nepal’s Cultural Gem”, “City of Culture” and “City of Devotees”. Bhaktapur is one of three royal cities that reside in the Kathmandu Valley. It has been declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Surrounded by the Himalayas, this royal city is a haven for mountain lovers. Besides the natural beauty the man-made marvels of the city are another reason for people from all over the world to adore this tourist destination.
The carved woodwork columns, terra-cotta works, end number of monuments, numerous temples with open courtyards, gilded roofs, and elaborate carvings evoke a prehistoric feel that is unique to Bhaktapur. Dotted with religious shrines and pagodas, this city is sure to mesmerize the tourists.
The major sightseeing places of this city include:
Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most famous attractions in Bhaktapur. It is a complex of palaces, temples, and courtyards that were once the royal palace of the Malla kings. The square is known for its intricate wood carvings and is a must-visit for anyone interested in Nepali architecture.
The Nyatapola Temple is a five-story pagoda-style temple that is located in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. It is the tallest temple in Nepal and is dedicated to the goddess Siddhi Lakshmi. Visitors can climb to the top of the temple for stunning views of the surrounding area.
The Dattatreya Temple is one of the oldest temples in Bhaktapur and is dedicated to Lord Dattatreya, a Hindu deity who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple is known for its beautiful wood carvings and is a must-visit for anyone interested in Hinduism.
Taumadhi Square is a beautiful square located in the heart of Bhaktapur. It is home to the stunning Nyatapola Temple and is surrounded by shops and restaurants. Visitors can relax in the square and soak up the atmosphere of this ancient city.
Changu Narayan Temple:
The Changu Narayan Temple is a Hindu temple that is located on a hilltop overlooking Bhaktapur. It is one of the oldest temples in Nepal and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is known for its beautiful stone carvings and is a must-visit for anyone interested in Nepali art and architecture.
Pottery Square is a famous square in Bhaktapur that is known for its traditional pottery making. Visitors can watch potters at work and even try their hand at making pottery themselves. The square is a great place to pick up souvenirs and is a must-visit for anyone interested in Nepali craftsmanship.
The Peacock Window is a famous window located in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. It is known for its intricate wood carvings and is a must-see for anyone interested in Nepali art.
The Bhairavnath Temple is a Hindu temple that is dedicated to the deity Bhairav. It is known for its beautiful stone carvings and is a must-visit for anyone interested in Hinduism.
Siddha Pokhari is a beautiful pond located in Bhaktapur. It is surrounded by a peaceful park and is a great place to relax and unwind.
Thimi is a town located just outside of Bhaktapur. It is known for its traditional Newari pottery and is a great place to learn more about Nepali culture and tradition. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and alleyways and soak up the atmosphere of this ancient town.
Things to do at Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur is an ancient city in Nepal that is full of cultural and historical significance. Here are some things to do in Bhaktapur:
- Explore the Bhaktapur Durbar Square: The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the heart of the city. Visitors can explore the palaces, temples, and courtyards, and marvel at the beautiful architecture and intricate wood carvings.
- Visit the Nyatapola Temple: The Nyatapola Temple is a five-story pagoda-style temple that is the tallest temple in Nepal. Visitors can climb to the top for stunning views of the surrounding area.
- Try your hand at pottery making: Bhaktapur is famous for its traditional pottery making. Visitors can watch potters at work and even try their hand at making pottery themselves.
- Visit the Changu Narayan Temple: The Changu Narayan Temple is one of the oldest temples in Nepal and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Visitors can admire the beautiful stone carvings and learn more about Hinduism.
- Wander around the narrow streets and alleyways: Bhaktapur is full of narrow streets and alleyways that are lined with shops, restaurants, and traditional homes. Visitors can wander around and soak up the atmosphere of this ancient city.
- Shop for souvenirs: Bhaktapur is a great place to pick up souvenirs, such as pottery, jewelry, and traditional textiles.
- Attend a festival: Bhaktapur is known for its festivals and celebrations, such as the Bisket Jatra and the Gai Jatra. Visitors can join in the festivities and learn more about Nepali culture.
- Visit the Peacock Window: The Peacock Window is a famous window located in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Visitors can admire the intricate wood carvings and learn more about Nepali art.
- Relax in a park: Bhaktapur has several parks and green spaces where visitors can relax and unwind.
- Take a cooking class: Bhaktapur is known for its traditional Newari cuisine. Visitors can take a cooking class and learn how to make dishes such as momos, aloo tama, and chatamari.
How to reach
Bhaktapur is located in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal and can be easily reached from the capital city of Kathmandu. Here are some ways to reach Bhaktapur:
- By air: The nearest airport to Bhaktapur is the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. From there, visitors can take a taxi or a bus to Bhaktapur.
- By bus: There are several buses that operate from Kathmandu to Bhaktapur. The journey takes around 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic.
- By taxi: Taxis are readily available in Kathmandu and can be hired to travel to Bhaktapur. The journey takes around 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic.
- By motorcycle/scooter: Visitors can also rent a motorcycle or scooter in Kathmandu and ride to Bhaktapur. However, it is important to note that traffic in Kathmandu can be chaotic, so this option is only recommended for experienced riders.
Once visitors reach Bhaktapur, they can explore the city on foot or by hiring a bicycle or a rickshaw. Bhaktapur is a small city, and most of the attractions are located within walking distance of each other.
Where to Stay
Bhaktapur has a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Here are some options for where to stay in Bhaktapur:
- Guesthouses: Bhaktapur has several guesthouses that offer budget-friendly accommodation. These guesthouses typically offer basic facilities such as a bed, shared bathroom, and Wi-Fi.
- Homestays: Visitors can also opt to stay in a homestay, which offers a more authentic Nepali experience. Homestays are usually run by local families who provide comfortable accommodation and meals.
- Boutique hotels: Bhaktapur has several boutique hotels that offer a more luxurious and comfortable stay. These hotels typically offer amenities such as a swimming pool, restaurant, and spa.
- Heritage hotels: Bhaktapur has several heritage hotels that are housed in restored traditional buildings. These hotels offer a unique experience and allow visitors to experience the city’s rich cultural heritage.
- Farm stays: Visitors can also opt to stay in a farm stay, which offers a peaceful and serene environment. These farm stays typically offer comfortable accommodation and the opportunity to engage in farming activities.
When choosing a place to stay, it is important to consider the location, amenities, and budget. Visitors should also read reviews and check the ratings of the accommodation before making a booking.
Here is some essential information that visitors should know:
- Currency: The official currency of Nepal is the Nepalese rupee (NPR). Visitors can exchange foreign currency at banks and authorized money changers.
- Language: Nepali is the official language of Nepal, but English is widely spoken and understood, especially in tourist areas.
- Climate: Bhaktapur has a subtropical climate with warm summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is from September to November and from February to April when the weather is pleasant.
- Food: Bhaktapur is known for its traditional Newari cuisine, which includes dishes such as momos, aloo tama, and chatamari. Visitors should also try the local delicacy of juju dhau, which is a sweet yogurt made from buffalo milk.
- Culture: Bhaktapur is a city with a rich cultural heritage, and visitors should be respectful of the local customs and traditions. It is important to dress modestly and remove shoes before entering temples and other religious sites.
- Health and safety: Visitors should take precautions against food and waterborne diseases by drinking only bottled or purified water and avoiding street food. It is also important to be cautious of traffic, as the roads in Nepal can be chaotic.
- Visa: Visitors to Nepal require a visa, which can be obtained on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu or at a Nepalese embassy or consulate. Visa requirements may vary depending on the nationality of the visitor.
By keeping these essential information in mind, visitors can have a safe and enjoyable trip to Bhaktapur.