Bhaktapur – A Living Museum

Bhaktapur is the historical capital of Nepal and boasts a past as early as the 8th century. A former capital of the entire country of Nepal, Bhaktapur’s ancestors claimed the city as a sovereign country in the early 18th century and built formidable walls and gates to protect it from the outside world. Today, the city is again a significant city of Nepal, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bhaktapur is a living museum, a functional city that is home to about 100 thousand residents, many of whom are businessmen, craftsmen, and public employees. Traditional Newari culture, Buddhist and Hindu religions prevail in the city. Once you step in Bhaktapur, you will feel as though you’ve been transported to an ancient world full of old, palaces, temples, pottery, traditional homes, handicrafts, and other artistic pieces.

Durbar Square

The main square in the heart of the city is called Durbar Square. This spot is very impressive looking because of the presence of metal art, stone art, terracotta art, and exquisite wood carvings. Sitting on the square are some of the most notable structures in the city such as the Golden Gate, the National Art Gallery, King Bhupatindra Malla statue, and the Palace of 55 windows, the Phasi Dega Temple, and the Kedarnath Temples.

Taumandhi Square

Taumandhi Square is the second most important square in the city. This is where you can find some of best examples of multi-roofed and rectangular temples, which are testament to the engineering and architectural prowess of the Newari people. Here, you will again be treated to the sight of stone spouts, traditional water tanks, wood carvings and stone structures. The major monuments to see in this square are the Bhairabnath Temple, Tilmadhave Narayan, and Nyatapola Temple.

Dattatraya Square

The Dattatraya Square is considered to be the oldest section of Bhaktapur, and also exhibits the open museum concept, showcasing grand architecture. Aside from the wood carving, brass and bronze masterpieces that can be found in this area, this is also the home for the Dattatraya Temple, the oldest temple in the city.

Pottery Square

The Pottery Square in the city is one of the most unique squares in the world. The Talakwo, which is the middle south section and Suryamadhi, the eastern section of Bhaktapur make up this square, Here, you will see a number of potters still making their clay products using traditional wooden wheels of various shapes and sizes. Pottery is indeed one of the oldest professions in the world. At this square, you will see potters display their increasingly rare skills and knowledge, which were handed down from their ancestors. This site alone is reason enough to make your way to Bhaktapur

Getting Here

Bhaktapur is about 12 kilometers east of the capital Kathmandu. If you are not part of a tour, you can arrange for a regular taxi to bring you there. There are also mini buses and express buses coming from Katmandu that stop outside of Bhaktapur. Tourists are asked to pay a fee to gain entrance to the city. The money is used for the restoration and preservation of the precious structures surviving in Bhaktapur. It is possible to request a note to be placed on your ticket to allow entry to the city for multiple days.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!