Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur (भक्तपुर) a city in Nepal known variously as City of Culture, Living Heritage, Nepal's Cultural Gem, An open museum and a City of Devotees. Bhaktapur is an ancient city and is renowned for its elegant art, fabulous culture, colourful festivals, traditional dances and indigenous lifestyle of the Newari community. It is just 12 km east of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, but gives the feeling of prehistoric times given the ambiance of traditional homes, lifestyles and environment. The conch shaped historic city is spread over an area of 6.9 m2 at an altitude of 1,401 m. The city was founded in the 12th century by King Anand Dev Malla. Bhaktapur was the capital city of the Greater Malla Kingdom in the Kathmandu Valley till the 15th century AD. The many of Bhaktapur's greatest monuments were built by the Malla rulers of that earlier time.

Understand

Bhaktapur has more temples per square foot than Patan or Kathmandu and is far enough out of town to keep the crowds away. As a World Heritage site listed by the UNESCO, Bhaktapur has been heavily restored since a 1934 earthquake severely damaged the city. To further restoration and preservation there is an entrance fee for visitors. In December 2011 this was either NPR1100 or USD11 for foreigners. If you plan to visit for several days, you can ask the counter to add a note to permit access to the city with the same ticket (at most one week). Visitors from SAARC member countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and China pay NPR100.

Get in

Lord Dattatreya from Devgad

If you are not arriving as part of a tour group, you may take mini bus (bound for Kamal Binayak stop in Bhaktapur) or big bus (bound for Chyamasingha stop in Bhaktapur) from Bus Stop near Bhadrakali. You can save time by taking Express Bus (this does not stop in between except in Maitighar and Sallaghari) from Bagbazar in Kathmandu. Recently, micro buses also started service of shuttling between Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, which provide a fairly quick way to get to Bhaktapur.

For those who haven't experienced a public bus in South Asia, it will be a way to (literally!) rub shoulders with locals. In either case the ride takes about 40–60 minutes and drops you off just outside of town. The fare from Kathmandu to Bhaktapur was approximately NPR35 in Sept. 2009 by bus for local people. The average cost for a one way taxi from Thamel to Bhaktapur is NPR800-1000 for the 16 km drive. You can easily hail a taxi or pick up a return bus to either Patan or Kathmandu just outside of the first main gate that leads into the city.

Get around

Once in Bhaktapur, walking is the best way to experience the quiet, dusty lanes squares. There are no rickshaws, tuk-tuks, or taxis allowed inside the city—an inconvenience more than made up for by the quiet and clean air.

See

The primary reason for visiting Bhaktapur is because its Durbar Square is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Khatmandu Valley. There are other very worthwhile things to see as well, so see details below.

Insides

Nyataponla Temple

Outsides

Buy

Bhaktapur is a significant pottery centre. You will see it everywhere, drying in the sun, displayed on tables and shelves in front of shops and homes. The town is equally famous for artistic masks made from black clay with colourful decoration. The masks portray various gods and deities and carry special significance in festivals.

Thanka, a traditional type of painting, is also created in the town. Metalwork and jewellery can also be found, but there's more selection on Patan's backstreets.

Eat

Don't leave Bhaktapur without trying some of their famous yogurt with local honey—Juju-dhau, literally the "King of all yogurt."

Tourist restaurants can be found in almost every building surrounding Durbar Square.

Small local restaurants can be found on the main road into town, but they will probably only serve Dhal Bhat Takari (lentils, rice, and mild vegetable curry) or Newari food (Samay Baji - flattened rice, marinated meat (usually buffalo, often odd organs), lentils, pickled vegetables, potatoes, bamboo shoot curry, and more), tea, and momos.

Drink

Sleep

Bhaktapur can be a good alternative to Kathmandu for staying overnight because of its quiet streets and unique ambiance. Furthermore, it is located close to the Kathmandu international airport and on the road connecting Kathmandu and Kodari (Chinese border), which makes it particularly suited for spending the first night in Nepal.

There is an ATM next door, and the guest houses accept Visa but will add a small percentage to cover bank charges.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, February 07, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.