Bhaktapur, Nepal's Cultural City
Bhaktapur is known as Khwopa in local Newari tongue. The Cultural capital of Nepal. Bhaktapur's history goes back to the early 8th century and it used to be the capital city of the whole Nepal till the 12th to the 15th century. Until the early 18th century the ancestors protected the city as a sovereign country surrounding it with boundary walls.
Actually, Bhaktapur is a living musuem, and it is without a doubt worth a visit. We made our visit in a full day via Khatmandu with a Taxi. Travel time is about 45 minutes depending on how busy it is, and we paid 1000NPR for the taxi one way. Note: entrance for tourists to Bhaktapur is 1000NPR, but this is all well worth it. If you go for several days, it is wise to redeem your ticket so that you can use it for a week instead of a day.
Prior to our visit, we were concerned that the city had suffered a lot of damage from the 2015 Earthquake, it is true. But despite this, the city has certainly not lost any of its beauty, so don't let these stories hold you back. Much restoration has also taken place, the city remains breathtaking.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a former royal palace complex located in Bhaktapur, Nepal. It housed the Malla kings of Nepal from 14th to 15th century and the kings of the Kingdom of Bhaktapur from 15th to late 18th century until the kingdom was conquered in 1769. Today, this square is recognised by UNESCO. This is also the square you enter if you use the main entrance from Kathmandu.
Taumadhi Square is one of the busiest squares of Bhaktapur which lies on the eastern elevation of Bhaktapur durbar square. A narrow street filled with souvenir shops ultimately leads you toward the Taumadhi square. Taumadhi Square, which houses the tallest pagoda styled temple of Nepal also houses several temples, old buildings, and stores. However, most people know this place only for Nyatapola Temple.
Dattatraya Square is the oldest square among the four charming squares of Bhaktapur. For the reason that it is situated quite far from the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, most people prefer to visit this place at least. However, being the ultimate square to be visited too, it again gives a bunch of surprises to its visitors. This square has a lot of atmosphere and the temple had some special wood carvings from various kamasutra positions as a surprise.
Pottery square as its name means is a square full of pottery works. You can reach there within a few minutes walk from Bhaktapur durbar square. This square is not as big as Durbar square but is a hub to do the shopping for Nepalese handicrafts. The centre of this square always gets filled with clay wares and local grains to give them an ace finishing.
Nice to see that everything here is still done by hand, from turning the clay to baking in wood-fired ovens. Also the perfect place to buy a real handmade souvenir.
The streets and alleys:
Fortunately, at the main entrance you get a clear brochure with a map showing all the squares. But actually it is best just to stroll around the entire city. The streets and alleys are where real life takes place.
So let yourself get lost and absorb the local life and the historic buildings. The city is surrounded by a city wall that makes it impossible to accidentally leave the city. This is really what traveling is all about, just get lost and enjoy another world.