Bhaktapur, the name itself devotes it as the city of pilgrimage and religion. That is why it is called the city of devotees. Well, this city has more temples and gods than roofs of houses and people. This tiny Newari town presents ancient historical sites with amazing stories related to each monument, built in different eras. It is said that it existed as early as 865 AD. This place is in a very accessible point, only 8 miles away from the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. Nevertheless, being in this close ratio to the capital, it gives a different taste of Newari culture from the capital city. As a consequence, you can prefer to do a lot of things in Bhaktapur. Some of the instances are like this.
Like the other two culturally blessed towns Lalitpur and Kathmandu, Bhaktapur also furnishes history and heritage sites. Bhaktapur Durbar Square and the Changu Narayan temple which got listed in the UNESCO world heritage site in 1979 AD also lie in this city. Besides this, you can also encounter different monuments at Bhaktapur. Take a quick look at some of the monuments below.
- Char Dham, the representative gods of Kashi, India
- Gate to the durbar square made of brick and plastered over with white Ilme
- Golden gate, Nepal’s one of the best masterful bronze work
- Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla
- Batala Devi, a sliced Indian textured shikhara style temple
- The royal palace of Bhaktapur
- Nyatapola temple, which has five stories, which is the tallest temple of Nepal
- Bhairavnath temple which lies in the left-hand side of nyatapola temple
- Dattatreya temple, one of the oldest temples of Bhaktapur
- Pottery square, a fine place of ceramics arts and crafts
- Siddha Pokhari, the largest manmade pond of Bhaktapur.
Other than these mentioned monuments, the whole city is an ancient monument with stories and experiences of the past.
Local food and wine
Not only newa people but also the other community members extra than the newas are fond of Newari dishes. If you are in Bhaktapur then you must try Newari food and wine. People over here have no isolated industry for wine production. Despite that, they produce it in their own houses. The wine is called ‘aela’ in the local newari tongue.
Newari food is a combination of all organic ingredients where a normal plate is decorated with flattened rice, meat items, vegetables, fried egg, and roasted soybean. Newa people are well blessed with rich culture as well as with the cuisine. About 200 dishes are prepared in the newa family within the occasion of different feasts and festivals. So, food lovers, Bhaktapur welcomes the appreciation of its cuisine not only with a garland in hand but also with the mouthwatering food and wine.
Hikes are always fun to do. Bhaktapur also moves ahead to present its outer side of town as a hiking destination. You can tend to choose to do hiking with your friends’ and family as well as go solo. You can hike to Nagarkot through the Changu Narayan temple route, which dares to make you feel tired but at the same time gives you a glimpse of hills and Kathmandu valley under the lap of Himalayas. Within the Bhaktapur area, you can hike to different places like:
- Pilot Baba,
- Doleshwor temple
- Kalamasi lake(a small dam near Nagarkot area)
These short hikes take only half the time of the day. So, you can enjoy nature grace away from the concrete jungle of Kathmandu valley from the top of the hills. This cultural town seems more beautiful when you walk by its side through the jungles, streams, and villages. Therefore, you can pick hiking too as per your interest while being in Bhaktapur.
Jatras is a kind of the face of the festival, where thousands of people gather to celebrate. Bhaktapur welcomes big and small jatras at least once a month. Gallivanting around in Bhaktapur in mid-April and August gives you a bunch of surprises. The Biska Jatra, where lingo is established and diminished for the sake of good luck. Similarly, the Gai Jatra, celebrated to make a humorous environment are celebrated in mid-April and August. These are some of the biggest jatras of Bhaktapur. Being in Bhaktapur offers to be part of these jatras. Most of the newa people belong to agricultural background, so to forget all their hard work and pains, they celebrate jatras, where they enjoy and have different feasts, music, and dance.
Evening walk in the Durbar square
Bhaktapur durbar square is not in an open area as the other two durbar squares are. It is quite sacred and no one was allowed to enter over there at night. But now you can enjoy the durbar area at night hours too. It is open for everyone since the campaign of Visit Nepal 2020.
Bhaktapur somehow is also famous for its tremendous ceramic artwork. A few minutes’ walks toward the south from taumadhi square, helps you to reach Pottery square, a place where you can encounter money pots, diyos (traditional clay bowl used to lit fire in Tihar festival), small statues and many more. Nevertheless, you can also witness the process of making the mentioned things.
Being renowned as the city of devotees, Bhaktapur already places itself as one of the rich towns in religious matters. Most of the people over here are Hindus and then Buddhists. If you start a walk from one corner to another corner of the city, you can realize that in each corner you come across small or big temples. So, this city is a perfect place for those who want to experience spiritual gratification.
Enjoy the specialty of Bhaktapur: Ju Ju dhau
Juju dhau is the local name of a yogurt, prepared especially only in Bhaktapur since ancient times. This is the specialty of Bhaktapur. Why is it so famous that even Nepalese and locals are so crazy about it? Yes, people are crazy about it because of its sweet taste. And the fact is that it doesn’t contain any added sugar. ‘Juju’ means ‘King’ in the native news tongue. So juju dhau means the King’s curd. You can find this dessert in many places and shops if you really wanna give it a try.
Roaming around in the museums
There are a total of three prominent museums in Bhaktapur city. If you have an interest in history and wood carvings, then you must try these museums of Bhaktapur. It’ll be worth visiting these sites.
- Wood carving museum(best known for the peacock window)
- Brass and bronze museum(which have a good collection of metalware and ancient housewares)
- National art gallery( have pieces of stone carvings and manuscripts, as well as a fine collection of thangka)
Shopping and collecting souvenirs somehow is the best part of any tour. Especially when we have unique items to buy which Bhaktapur offers. You can buy Newari dresses like Haku patasi(a traditional Newa wear with red-colored border in a black sari), thangka paintings, Dhaka topi( a black cap), carpets, Nepali handmade garments, and papers as well as clay crafts and many more items. The best part of this is that you can do bargaining as well. It seems exciting, doesn’t it??