Bhaktapur: The Living Heritage of Nepal Culture
Crowning the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is known by many names - “Nepal’s Cultural Gem”, “An Open Museum”, and the “City of Culture” to name a few. An ancient city renowned for it’s fabulous culture, traditional dances, elegant art & the celebration of the indigenous Newari community.
While only a short distance east of the capital, Kathmandu, a trip to Bhaktapur feels like a journey back in time. Here you’ll find a city full of tradition - from it’s homes to it’s lifestyle.
This conch shaped city of 80,000, nestled at the base of the Himalayas at an altitude of around 4,600 feet is a haven for mountain lovers. Besides the natural beauty, both the cultural & architectural marvels of the city are just a few of the reasons people from all over the world adore this destination
The carved wood work columns & terra-cotta works along with a number of monuments, numerous temples with open courtyards, glided 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 any visitor.
If you’re traveling solo - not part of a tour group - you may take either a shuttle (destined for the Kamal Binayak stop in Bhaktapur) or a bus (destined for the Chyamasingha stop in Bhaktapur) from locations in Bhadrakali. Express shuttle service is also available from Kathmandu and Bhaktapur - check with your hotel for details.
Major Points of Interest
This is the main square of the city with some beautiful architectural showpieces like a picture gallery, the Golden Gate, the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, the Lion Gate, the Batsala Temple, a palace with 55 windows, a replica of Pashupati Temple and the Bells of Barking Dogs. Located in front of the old royal palace of the former Kathmandu Kingdom is one of three Durbar (royal palace) Squares in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Several buildings in the Square collapsed due to a major earthquake on 25 April 2015. Durbar Square was surrounded with spectacular architecture and vividly showcases the skills of the Newar artists and craftsmen over several centuries. The Royal Palace was originally at Dattaraya square and was later moved to the Durbar square.
The Kathmandu Durbar Square held the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square surrounds quadrangles, revealing courtyards and temples. It is known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, a name derived from a statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, at the entrance of the palace.
One of the temples that are still in existence today is the Nyatapola Temple, which was built in 1702 A.D. under the rule of King Bhupatindra Malla. This beautifully sculptured building is considered one of the tallest pagodas in the country and is a lovely example of the immense workmanship that went into buildings of this type. This five-storey temple with a five-tier roof that stands just over thirty meters high can be reached by walking up a flight of steps that leads to the top of the platform. As you walk up these terraces you will notice that there are statues on either side of you, on every step.
This temple came in to being when Jagat Jyoti Malla was the king of Nepal. Initially it was built as a one story pagoda. Later in 1718 A.D. it was transformed into a three storied temple. The artistic grandeur of Bhairavnath Temple is remarkable.
The carved peacock windows made this monastery one of the major attractions of Bhaktapur. Located near the Dattatrya temple, this monastery was built by Yakchhya Malla and was renovated by priest Ram Dutt Giri in 1763.
Situated at an altitude of 7,000 feet, Nagarkot commands one of the broadest views of the Himalayas in the Kathmandu valley (8 Himalayan ranges of Nepal out of 13 are viewable from here). The ranges include Annapurna range, Manaslu range, Ganesh himal range, Langtang range, Jugal range, Rolwaling range, Mahalangur range (Everest range) and Numbur range with views of the Kathmandu valley and Shivapuri National Park.. Bounded by mountains on all sides, it offers a breathtaking view of Mt. Everest. Tourists interested in hiking and trekking can explore the hiking trails that lead from Nagarkot to Tamang villages.
Lying a short distance west of Bhaktapur, this beautiful place is mainly known for its vegetable garden and handicraft works. It is one of the ancient, cultural and historical places along the trade route from Bhaktapur to Kathmandu. Like other old cities this city is also situated on elevated land and therefore one has to climb up to reach this city.
Surya Vinayak Shrine
Nestled in the picturesque surroundings of Bhadgoan - an areas that receives the first rays of the rising sun, Surya Vinayak is a shrine of Lord Ganesh. The snow-capped peaks in the background enhance the scenic beauty of the place.
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