Explore Cultural Capital Bhaktapur
If anyone were to be told that the smallest district of Nepal bordering the magnificent Kathmandu is known as the ‘Nepal’s culture capital’, they are bound to have an incredulous expression on their face. But, it is the truth and rightfully so: Bhaktapur is indeed the hallmark of any city with rich history and cultural affluence. It is a city filled with the throng of medieval palaces, temples, shrines, and ponds with the narrow streets snaking along the arrays of ancient houses. It is a city filled with the unique Newari culture, art and their lifestyle.
Bhaktapur in its entirety is a grand cultural and architectural museum. The city is filled with the shikhara and pagoda style architectures adorned with the intricate wood-carvings which brilliantly contrasts and complements each other. The majestic paintings and the meticulously carved woods in every monument embellish the battles of gods and demons, the humility of even kings and the rich, the common-folks and lifestyles, and the mighty and mythical animals and their unique symbolisms. There are temples and monuments millennia old, palace with fifty-five windows, royal ponds, tallest temple, colossal bells, innumerable inns and taverns, and countless other things of significance that takes hours to even completely mention them.
Tourist visiting Bhaktapur can have insights on the medieval and ancient Nepal, its monarch, the people, and its art and architectures. They can experience the lifestyle, festivals, foods, and traditions that have been continuing since ages and practiced with the same alacrity. And above all, they can experience Nepal and see it is completely different light: they can see it is not just the country of Mount Everest but also the country of rich culture, traditions, arts, architecture, and history.
Bhaktapur is an ancient city about 12km outside of Kathmandu city within the Kathmandu Valley. Founded in the 12th century by King Ananda Malla, Bhaktapur rose to be city renown for its culture, crafts and trading due to being a part of the ancient Indian trading route to Tibet. If you are planning to buy Nepali Souvenirs make sure you visit Bhaktapur before buying anything.
Some of the major tourist destinations and monuments have been listed as the UNESCO world heritage site in Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur offers its visitors an opportunity to closely observe the ancient architecture, arts, and culture that goes back to Malla periods.
Some of the important places of Bhaktapur that should be visited are a follows:
1) Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is one of the largest ancient squares in Nepal filled to the brim with temples, cultural cravings and buildings. it is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites located in the current town of Bhaktapur. While the complex consists of at least four distinct squares, Taumadhi Square, Dattateya Square and Pottery Square, the whole area is informally known as Bhaktapur. 55 window palace, Nyatapol temple, Bhairav temple, statue of king Pratap Malla, Golden Gate, mini Pashupati etc. are the major tourists attraction of this place.
Nagarkot commands one of the broadest views of the Himalaya in the Kathmandu Valley. It is famous for its Himalayan views. The Himalayan peaks at sunshine are magnificent sight to behold. There are quite a few back tracks around Nagarkot, hiking on which, you will get a good taste of Nepal’s rural life. There are a couple of excellent picnic spots on the way where you can gather and enjoy the beautiful country scenery. Along with this, most of the hotels in Nagarkot are very experienced with international tourist who makes the trek from Kathmandu.
Kailashnath Mahadev (Sangha) is the world’s fortieth tallest statue, four places after the statue of Liberty. It is the world’s tallest statue of the Hindu god Shiva, which stands 143 feet high. Sangha is divided into 9 wards and is in the eastern Vanjans securing the Kathmandu valley. Along with the Shiva statue, Lapsi, a sour fruit is also a major attraction of Sangha that is seen left to dry in a plank all over the way.
4) National Art Gallery:
The western end of the Bhaktapur Royal Palace contains the best of the three museums in Bhaktapur. There you can view an extensive collection of cloth painting, manuscripts, metal and wooden objects, of that from the 12th century. Inside the gallery you can see the portraits of all the Shah kings, including a surly Gyanendra( the last king of Nepal) following the abolition of the monarchy in 2008.
5) Dattateya Temple:
Standings proudly on the premises of Dattateya Square in Bhaktapur, the temple of Dattatreya is believed to be constructed by a single stem tree in 1428. The temple has a great significance in Nepal’s religious and cultural heritage. The temple is dedicated to Dattatreya who is considered as a combination of the three powerful Hindu gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The sides of the temple are carved with erotic sense and it I also one of the popular temples of Nepal containing erotic themes carved on their studs and pillars.
6) Suriya Binayak Temple:
On the side of the Araniko highway, Suriya Binayak is an important Ganesh Temple dating back to the 17th century. The main attraction of the temple is the peaceful setting and the walk uphill above the temple to a hillside with sweeping views over Bhaktapur. The white shikhara-tyle temple also contains some interesting statuary. Though the main temple is small, it is one of the most beautiful temples of Lord Ganesh in Nepal. It is one of the must visit temples in Kathmandu.
7) Woodcarving museum:
The woodcarving museum consists of some fine example of Bhaktapur woodcarving. Your eyes and senses will be immediately caught by the unique beauty of carved doors, windows, roofs and struts. The Mara Vijaya, Puja Devi, Viswaroop and Aryatara are magnificent sediments of woodcarvings of the past centuries. The museum was restored some years ago by a German project which has captioned most of the artifacts.
Last but not the least-Don't return without tasting Newari yoghurt.You will love it !! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhau