Panauti Heritage City
This city is located 19km South East of Bhaktapur. How can such a religious complex in a small city like Panauti be explained? Quite simply... in the 10th century, Panauti was a kingdom. By the way, the princes clearly had good taste, it's beautiful here!
Panauti is not very big, it is a small city surrounded by the Holy River. Come at the right time and you will witness a cremation, or people sprinkling themselves with this holy water. The city can be accessed via one of many bridges, some more solid than others, but always a great way to enter the city. Luckily there is plenty to see, our favorite places were:
A good place to start the tour is towards Shree Gorakhnath temple. This temple is located on a hill north-east of Panauti. A good opportunity to observe Panauti from above and get a good idea of its size. Then on to the temple on top of the hill. Wonderful to admire the nine feet tall Ganesh statue here as well as the other parts of the temple.
This temple can be admired on the square in the center of Panauti. This temple is dedicated to Shiva. Dating back to the 15th century, the building is probably the oldest temple in the country still in its original state. It is built in the purest Nepali style you can imagine. The temple is characterized by three roofs, and eight lions stand guard.
This temple is located across the river at the bottom of the hill. This temple is very close to the hearts of the inhabitants of Panauti. It dates from the 17th century, and was restored in 1981 by the French NWO. The Brahmayani temple stands on the north bank of the Punyamata river within the Tribeni Ghats, a sacred space defined as a three-river confluence.
Visit Panauti during a Festival:
Panauti is a great city to visit during one of the many festivals. The number 1 Festival is Panauti's Makar Mela when 10,000s of Nepalese visit the sacred river here. Unfortunately, this festival is only celebrated once every 12 years, and the next edition will not be until 2034.
Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives as Nepal and Festivals go hand in hand. We visited Panauti this week (October 2022) during the Tihar Festival. Great to see the city in full bloom with performances, parades and lots of colors scattered throughout the city. It's also nice to see that the first four days of this five-day festival are devoted to various animal species. Great to see so much respect between humans and animals.
Eat, drink, sleep:
Panauti is definitely worth a visit because of its beautifully preserved history. This is fine during a day trip, or during a short stay of a few days. If you decide to stay, it is important to reserve a place to stay. There is not much on offer, but there are some nice Guesthouses available.
We stayed in "Rauti Home" and it was very good and clean, owned by a very friendly family. Also in the field of restaurants there is unfortunately little to be found with the hygiene standard that tourists usually look for. Fortunately there is a very good coffee shop in the center called "Cafe Lampati". For dinner, we recommend that you order this at your guesthouse if this is possible, because of the minimal restaurant offer.
Take a walk in the countryside:
Panauti is beautifully situated between the rice fields and the local life in the countryside. So take a break from the hustle and bustle of Panauti and take a nice walk through the beautiful surroundings.
There are also a few highlights in the immediate vicinity, such as Namo Buddha and Dhulikhel. We have already been here ourselves (see other blogs) prior to Panauti, but if this is not the case with you, they can also be reached with a long walk.