Have you ever been to Bhaktapur city? It’s a beautiful cultural city with living museum, do you know? Are you curious why it’s called so? For this you need to explore Bhaktapur city atleast once and then, you will be our next witness for sure. So, let’s move on to the topic.
Which city is the oldest in Nepal?
Of course, Bhaktapur is the oldest city in Kathmandu valley and also in Nepal. Patan or Lalitpur and Kathmandu are the other cities in this valley. It is the most ancient Newar city located eastwards 13 km away from Kathmandu city. The city is best known for its magnificent art and architecture from medieval Malla dynasty. The city preserves ancient palaces, temples, metal and wood works, idols and typical Newari culture. Bhaktapur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We find this city absolutely distinctive from other two cities: Kathmandu and Patan in the valley.
What is Bhaktapur famous for?
Even the language of the people of Bhaktapur is different from the Newar people of Lalitpur and Kathmandu. Bhaktapur is considerably popular for Ju Ju Dhau (king of curd). People of Kathmandu and Patan import curd from Bhaktapur. So, while visiting Bhaktapur, you should not miss tasting two things: Bara and Ju Ju Dhau. Bhaktapur is also popular for ponds, pottery and stone taps.
Top places to visit in Bhaktapur:
Bhaktapur Durbar Sqaure:
One of the major highlights of Bhaktapur, Bhaktapur Durbar Square represents marvelous arts and architecture from ancient times. These arts can be observed at palaces, courtyardsm idols and temples. The windows and the doors of the temples and palaces are impressively designed with professional architecture from Malla dynasty. This square is serene place to enjoy cool air. Most of the palaces and the temples are in pagoda and Shikhara style dedicating Hindu gods and goddesses.
It is a magnificent 5 story pagoda style temple in the heart of Bhaktapur city. It was built by Malla king Bhupatindra Malla in the early 18th century. This temple is to worship Siddha Laxmi, the Hindu goddess for prosperity.
Bhairab Nath Temple:
This is another artistic temple of lord Vairab. Actually, Vairab is the dreadful aspect of god Shiva and tantric deity of Hindu. It is next to Nyatpola Temple in Bhaktapur city. It was first constructed by Jagat Jyoti Malla and later Bhupatindra Malla renovated it and gave a new design to it.
This pagoda style temple was built by the King Yaksha Malla in 15th century. This temple worships Hindu trinity gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The interesting fact about this temple is that it was constructed with the wood of single tree. This temple is a magnificent representation of art and architecture from Malla period.
Changu Narayan Temple:
This is an ancient Hindu Temple from Lichhavi period. It was built by the king Mandev. According to the history, it was built between 4th -5th century. This temple is an incredible example of art and architecture especially woodworks from ancient time. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lord Vishnu is worshipped at this temple. It is located just outskirt of Bhaktapur to the northern part form Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
A rectangular serene pond near the entrance gate of the city fascinates everyone to spend sometime with. We get fresh and cool air while strolling around. We even can witness marvelous mountain panorama from the pond when we have fair weather.
How to reach Bhaktapur city from Thamel Kathmandu?
Bhaktapur is 13 km away to the eastwards from Kathamndu. There are major three options of getting Bhaktapur from Thamel/ Kathmandu. The first way of getting Bhaktapur from Thamel is by public bus. We can get bus from outskirt of Thamel but we can ride to Bhaktapur directly. We have to change two different buses: one from Thamel to Old Buspark and the next will take you to Bhaktapur. Changing two buses cost 45 Rupees. You need to be very watchful while travelling via public bus in Kathmandu valley. Keep your belongings safely.
The second way of getting Bhaktapur is hiring taxi. Hiring taxi from Thamel to Bhaktapur costs between USD 10-15. You can ask the local travel agent to get taxi for you which will be more reliable.
The third way of getting Bhaktapur from Thamel is private car/van/jeep. Hiring Private vehicle is more expensive that hiring taxi. If you hire private car for dropping you to Bhaktapur, it costs USD 10- 20.
If you want a private car/jeep or any kind of private vehicle for Bhaktapur sightseeing which is a full day Bhaktapur sightseeing tour including Changunarayan, the cost is between USD 40-50
Do I need Tour Guide for Bhaktapur Sightseeing?
Hiring guide will, of course, benefit you in several ways than travelling independently in Bhaktapur. The well trained and professional guide will tell you about the history, culture and civilization while exploring Bhaktapur. The professional and license holder guide costs USD 30 per day. You can ask the local travel companies to provide a professional guide for you.
Where to Eat in Bhaktapur?
You can find several modern cafes and restaurants around Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Changunarayan. If you want to taste typical Newari dish which the local dish of Bhaktapur, you find Newari restaurants or simply, you can go with western dishes. You just put your head up and you will see different roof top restaurants to eat. You can get in and enjoy the diss of your choice. Mostly, rooftop cafes are popular in Bhaktapur to have something when you are hungry. Do not forget to experience Bara and Ju Ju Dhau in Bhaktapur.
What to buy in Bhaktapur?
Definitely, one does want to purchase souvenirs from the place where you have visited for his/her family/ friends/ relatives as memento. And the most complicated thing is to make the decision to buy the right things. However, we suggest you to purchase Wood works by the local Newars, paintings, pottery, pillow covers, carpets and handicraft in Bhaktapur. Besides, one can buy idols, tea and coffee in Bhaktapur.
What to explore in Bhaktapur?
The explorers/ researchers/ visitors really want to explore this most ancient city of Nepal in Kathmandu valley. What people want to explore in Bhaktapur are typical Newari culture and life style, the medieval Malla and ancient Lichhavi dynasty history and civilization and their invaluable contribution to flourish art and architecture. And also people want to explore the significance of Newari feasts and fairs all round the year. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is swarmed with the local Newari people to celebrate their cultural and religious feasts and festivals which are beautiful to explore and observe.