Bhaktapur – 1 day
Located about 20 km east of Kathmandu in the Kathmandu Valley Bhaktapur is known as is one of the 3 royal cities. The others are Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and Patan. It is an ancient Newar town in the east corner of the valley located in Bhaktapur District in the Bagmati Zone. It was once the capital of Nepal during the great Malla Kingdom until the second half of the 15th century. Bhaktapur is listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and stone artwork. It is also called Bhadgaon and Khwopa (in the native tongue).
Bhaktapur is filled with monuments, most terra-cotta with carved wood columns, palaces and temples with elaborate carvings, gilded roofs, open courtyards. The city is dotted with pagodas and religious shrines. Lying along the ancient trade route between India and Tibet, Bhaktapur is surrounded by mountains and provides a magnificent view of the Himalayas. Religions here are Hindu 92% and Buddhist 7%. Castes living in the city are: Newar 63%, Brahman 10%, Chettri 18%, Tamang 5%. Bhaktapur’s population is approximately 225,000. Bhaktapur depends on tourism for about 60% of its revenues. No cars are allowed in Durbar Square; no heavy vehicles in the center.
Bhaktapur is a popular day-trip destination for tourists visiting Kathmandu. Lately, with more air-pollution in Kathmandu, more tourists are staying in Bhaktapur for a few days, before trekking arrangements are finished. In addition, although the Mount Everest (i.e. Sagarmatha) is breathtaking and the landscape of Lord Buddha (i.e. Founder of Peace) mysterious, tourists visiting Nepal still don’t feel their sojourn complete unless they have experienced Bhaktapur, Nepal’s ancient “City of Culture”.
Pottery is one of the main tourist attractions in Bhaktapur besides the architecture. In Nepal the city is renowned for its yoghurt or curd Ju-Ju Dhau, traditionally sold in clay bowls.
The main attractions of Bhaktapur are:
- Four Squares – Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square.
- Popular Places – Changu Narayan (World Heritage Site), Nagarkot, Surya Vinayak, Kamal Vinayak, Siddha Pokhari, Chonga Ganesh etc.
- Devine Miracolus Vision – Largest Shiva lingum, Golden Spout and Gate, Magnificent peacock windows, around 40 temples etc.