Hiking the Himalayas may well be the ultimate objective for mountain lovers (Hiking the Annapurna or Everest Base Camp trek is undoubtedly in my bucket list), but a trip to Nepal would not be total without the need of going to the magnificent ancient Newa city in the east of Kathmandu Valley — Bhaktapur.
A UNESCO Globe Heritage Internet site, Bhaktapur (which suggests “place of devotees”) is mentioned to be the living representation of how the whole Kathmandu Valley would have looked like throughout the medieval periods.
It is also identified as Khwopa, and was the ruling throne of the Kathmandu Valley till King Yakshya Malla divided the kingdom among his 3 sons in 1482.
I visited Bhaktapur on a day trip from Kathmandu when I attended the Himalayan Travel Mart (hosted by the Pacific Asia Travel Association) final year. Regardless of the harm from the 2015 earthquake that killed pretty much 9,000 people today, injured far more than 20,000, and broken a lot of heritage web pages, the city’s wealthy history and culture is nonetheless really a lot evident.
Bhaktapur did endure heavily from the earthquake, but it is actively rebuilding. There are building web pages all more than the city. Thankfully, not all of its heritage web pages had been impacted the iconic Nyatapola Temple, for instance, the renowned 5-storey pagoda, only sustained minor harm.
Here’s what you can see on a day trip to Bhaktapur.
55 Windows Palace
Close to the Bhaktapur entrance is the Bhaktapur Durbar Square that homes a quantity of exciting sights in the city. At the center of the square, you will uncover the renowned 55 Windows Palace.
Constructed in 1427, the palace was named as such mainly because of its 55 balconies that showcase the craftmanship of wood carvers in ancient Nepal.
The 55 Windows Palace had been utilized for royal ceremonies considering the fact that the reign of Jaya Malla, the final of the Malla Kings. It opens out to various courtyards, which are accessible via the entrance from the Golden Gate.
Lu Dhowka/Golden Gate
The most important palace entrance is identified for the magnificent Lu Dhowka or Golden Gate, which options one particular of the most gorgeous and intricately carved pieces of artwork in the city.
Set into a vibrant red gatehouse surrounded by white palace walls, the Golden Gate is effortlessly a highlight of Durbar Square. Its gilded torana options amongst the finest Nepal metalworks: a Garuda wrestling with supernatural serpents, and the goddess Taleju Bhawani with 4 heads and 10 arms.
Discovered in Taumadhi Square, the heart of the old city, is the tallest temple in the nation. The 5-storey Nyatapola Temple was constructed in 1702 and options intricate styles. Nyatapola translates to “five stories” in Newari, one particular of the oldest languages in Nepal.
Resembling 3 hats toppled on top rated of the other, vacationers frequently flock the temple for the gorgeous stone figures of the two strongest wrestlers– Baghini and Sanghini — that guard its entrance.
National Art Gallery
Inside the Royal Palace is the finest of 3 museums in Bhaktapur — the National Art Gallery. Constructed in the 1960s, its two most important sections showcase an substantial collection of stone art and paintings.
Other artifacts contain palm-leaf manuscripts and metal and wooden objects that date as far back as the 12th century.
Potter Square is the center of the pottery market in Bhaktapur exactly where vacationers can watch potters in action. You may well obtain any of their freshly-completed goods or have one thing customized on the spot.
Bhaktapur’s two Potters’ Squares can be identified in the Durbar Square and Dattatreya Square. The latter is a bit out of the way but it is advised to these who strategy to obtain pots in bulk.
When to Go to Bhaktapur
Frequently, travel to Nepal is advised from September to December for the cool climate, and March to June if you like it warmer.
You may well also want to take note of some festivals if you are interested in taking portion in the festivities. The longest festival, Dashain, lasts for 15 days in September and October. Pujas (offerings), such as animal sacrifices, are performed throughout this festival in honor of goddess Devi Durga, slayer of the demon Durga.
Also in October, Tihar or the festival of lights is celebrated in honor of the goddess of wealth Laxmi. Properties lit up with candles, oil lamps, and other lights are a typical sight.
April is the time for Bisket Jatra, the Nepalese New Year celebration. These who will be blessed with great fortune in the coming year is determined via a tug of war among chariots pulled via the streets.
Bhaktapur Travel Suggestions
For the meals tripper, do not miss Bhaktapur’s renowned Juju dhau (king of yogurt), a unique kind of curd that is mentioned to taste like no other elsewhere in Nepal.
Prevent the rush hour visitors and leave for Bhaktapur no later than 9 a.m. from Kathmandu, specifically if you only have a day to spare in Bhaktapur. Note that motor cars are not permitted inside Bhaktapur.
How to Go to Bhaktapur
There are lots of buses plying among the cities of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. Travel time is about 45 minutes to an hour, based on the flow of visitors.
Buses from the Bhaktapur Bus Park are extremely advised mainly because they can drop you off close to the most important entrance in Bhaktapur. These buses charge about 50 rupees for foreigners.
Alternatively, you may well also take the buses from Ratna Bus Park in Kathmandu City. These buses, nevertheless, frequently take the most important road and the drop-off point at Bhaktapur will be fairly a stroll to the most important ticket counter.
It is also feasible to take a taxi to Bhaktapur from Kathmandu City, but you need to have to up your haggling expertise as this can price you from 900 to 1,500 rupees.
If you have far more time, it would be worth spending far more than a day in Bhaktapur. The city has been broken by the earthquake, yes, but they have undoubtedly shown that they are far more than prepared to acquire guests once more.
Have you been to Nepal? Would you want to go to Bhaktapur?