Welcome to Bhaktapur, a captivating ancient city nestled in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. Known as the “City of Devotees,” Bhaktapur is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a treasure trove of history, culture, and architectural marvels. Step into a world frozen in time, where age-old traditions, intricate craftsmanship, and a serene ambiance transport you to a bygone era.
As you wander through the narrow, winding alleys of Bhaktapur, you’ll be captivated by the city’s rich heritage. The city’s name itself translates to “Place of Devotees,” reflecting its deep spiritual roots. Bhaktapur boasts an impressive collection of well-preserved temples, pagodas, and palaces, each a testament to the city’s architectural brilliance and devotion to the divine.
The Durbar Square, the heart of Bhaktapur, stands as a living museum of Newar craftsmanship. Marvel at the intricately carved wooden temples, such as the 55-Window Palace, Nyatapola Temple, and the majestic Bhairava Nath Temple. Observe the masterful craftsmanship of the local artisans, whose skills have been passed down through generations.
Beyond its architectural wonders, Bhaktapur offers a glimpse into the cultural traditions of Nepal. Witness the city’s vibrant festivals, where ancient rituals and celebrations come alive in a riot of colors and music. Explore the pottery square, where artisans skillfully mold clay into beautiful pottery using traditional techniques. Immerse yourself in the daily life of the locals, as you encounter bustling markets, where traditional crafts, spices, and local produce create a sensory feast.
The tranquil atmosphere of Bhaktapur provides the perfect setting for moments of reflection and introspection. Find solace in the city’s serene courtyards, peaceful squares, and sacred ponds. Discover hidden gems like the Dattatreya Square, Taumadhi Square, and the Siddha Pokhari, each offering a tranquil space to pause and absorb the essence of Bhaktapur.
As you wander through the city, savor the flavors of Newari cuisine, known for its rich flavors and unique spices. Indulge in local delicacies like Juju Dhau (King of Yogurt), Bara (lentil pancake), and Kwati (mixed bean soup), experiencing the culinary traditions that have shaped the local identity.
Bhaktapur is a gateway to the cultural tapestry of Nepal, where time-honored traditions and architectural brilliance converge. Whether you’re drawn to its rich history, spiritual aura, or simply the charm of its ancient streets, Bhaktapur promises an unforgettable journey of discovery. Step back in time, immerse yourself in its timeless beauty, and let the essence of Bhaktapur envelop your senses.
Bhaktapur City Guide: A Brief History Of Bhaktapur, Nepal
The history of Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon, spans centuries and is steeped in rich cultural heritage. Situated in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, Bhaktapur was one of the three major kingdoms in the valley, along with Kathmandu and Patan. Here is a glimpse into the captivating history of Bhaktapur:
Early Settlement: Bhaktapur’s history can be traced back to ancient times. It is believed that the city was established by King Ananda Dev in the 12th century, although human settlements in the area date back even further. Over the centuries, the city evolved and flourished as a center of trade and culture.
Malla Dynasty: During the Malla Dynasty, which lasted from the 12th to the 18th century, Bhaktapur reached its pinnacle of glory. The Malla kings, who ruled over Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, and Patan, were great patrons of the arts and architecture. They established Bhaktapur as a prosperous city and built magnificent temples, palaces, and public squares.
Architectural Marvels: Under the Malla Dynasty, Bhaktapur witnessed a remarkable period of architectural brilliance. The city became renowned for its exquisite Newari craftsmanship and unique pagoda-style temples. The Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the crown jewel of Bhaktapur’s architectural heritage. It features several intricately carved temples, palaces, and courtyards, showcasing the Newari architectural style at its finest.
Trade and Commerce: Bhaktapur’s strategic location along the ancient trade routes connecting India and Tibet contributed to its economic prosperity. The city became a flourishing center for trade, especially in ceramics, pottery, textiles, and traditional handicrafts. Its artisans were highly skilled in their crafts and produced exquisite artwork that was sought after throughout the region.
Earthquakes and Restoration: Throughout its history, Bhaktapur faced numerous challenges, including devastating earthquakes. In 1934, a powerful earthquake caused significant damage to the city’s architectural treasures. However, Bhaktapur’s resilience shone through, as the community worked diligently to restore and preserve its cultural heritage. Following the devastating earthquake in 2015, the city once again faced significant destruction, but ongoing restoration efforts continue to revitalize Bhaktapur’s historic structures.
Preservation and UNESCO World Heritage Status: In recognition of its exceptional cultural value, Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square, along with the city’s other historic sites, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. This distinction not only showcases Bhaktapur’s architectural grandeur but also reinforces the importance of preserving its cultural legacy for future generations.
Today, Bhaktapur stands as a living testament to its glorious past. Its well-preserved architecture, vibrant festivals, and rich cultural traditions continue to captivate visitors from around the world. Stepping into Bhaktapur is like stepping into a living museum, where the echoes of history resound in every corner, immersing visitors in a bygone era of artistic brilliance and cultural significance.
Bhaktapur Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Nepal
Exercise patience and understanding, and you’ll enjoy these attractions for what they are during your visit.
Come check out our Bhaktapur travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Bhaktapur, Nepal.
You cannot visit Bhaktapur without seeing Durbar Square. It is here where the royal palace of the Bhaktapur Kingdom is situated. From the mid-18th century onward, its nobles ruled the area from this domain.
Called Nge Nyapa Jhya Laaykoo, or the 55-window palace, its period as a seat of royal power was brief. In 1769, they ceded control, ending Bhaktapur’s reign as a political capital. As impressive as its wooden windows are, the square is home to numerous temples of great importance to Hinduism. As a result, the UN recognizes this place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nyatapola Temple is one of these halls of worship you’ll find as you wander around Durbar Square. Its name describes its physical appearance – translating to the five-roofed temple, it is famous for its five-tiered tower.
King Bhupatindra Malla built it at the start of the 18th century to honour Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. Despite its age and considerable height, it survived the quake of 2015 with no significant damage. This structure has stood the test of time, riding out the violent 1934 tremor as well.
After you’ve seen everything of interest in Durbar Square, make your way over to Changu Narayan. Its eldest artifact dating back to the 4th century, making this temple the oldest in Nepal. That piece would be a historical pillar, erected by Mandeva.
Throughout the rest of the complex, you’ll find a variety of interesting sculptures. Start with Garuda, King of Birds and the flying vehicle for Lord Vishnu. From there, you’ll find pieces dating between the 7th and 16th centuries.
Finally, be patient with any reconstruction work you encounter. Changu Narayan suffered massive damage during the 2015 earthquake. Fortunately, it wasn’t beyond repair, allowing artisans to restore it.
Dattatreya Temple is another site you shouldn’t miss on a visit to Bhaktapur. Constructed in the 15th century, workers built virtually all of this temple using the wood from a single tree. Its front porch is the exception to this rule, as it stands out like a sore thumb.
As its name suggests, the creators of Dattatreya Temple dedicated it to Dattatreya, an avatar of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Within its walls, you’ll find some intriguing statues. These include various depictions of erotic scenes. One of a woman styling her hair while her husband ‘pleases’ her, is bound to elicit a few laughs.
Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Bhaktapur, Nepal
Have you still not gotten your fill of temples during your visit to Bhaktapur? Start by adding Bhairabnath Temple to your itinerary. Located in Durbar Square, its constructors built this place in honour of Bhairab, a ferocious form of Shiva.
This three-storey complex traces its origins to the 17th century. During festivals, temple runners cart the head of Bhairab around Bhaktapur on a chariot. If workers restrict temple access due to earthquake reconstruction work, you may be able to catch this spectacle.
Taleju Temple is another great attraction that temple fanatics won’t want to miss. This place lucked out during the 2015 earthquake, as it managed to escape severe damage. However, this attraction comes with a big proviso – temple authorities only allow Hindus to enter.
Even if you don’t believe in this religion, it’s still worth a visit for its magnificent exterior. You can also sneak a peek through its guarded entryway, but leave the camera holstered. If you try, you’ll be shut down by the guards immediately. Even if you are Hindu, the rules forbid cameras. Be present so that this attraction can live on in your memories.
Despite what you might think, Bhaktapur does have attractions that aren’t temples. Check out what the best artisans in the city are creating by dropping by Pottery Square. Here, you can watch potters create their goods from start to finish.
You’ll find spinning wheels that give rise to these products from clay. You’ll also get to watch as workers bake them in a kiln. Finally, you can buy finished ceramics from the shops that line the square. Walk carefully through this tight work area/marketplace, and respect the privacy of potters.
After a long day of sightseeing, relax and unwind by the shores of Siddha Pokhari. Commissioned by royalty in the 15th century, it created a gathering place that residents of Bhaktapur still enjoy today. Some view it as a sacred place. In times of drought, some use it as a place to pray to Basuki Nag (a serpent god) for rain.
Others content themselves to feed the fish. Around the lake, you can find vendors that sell food for this very purpose.
source: Expozq Travel on YouTube
Top 10 Things To Do in Bhaktapur, Nepal For Visitors
Exploring Bhaktapur is a journey through time, where ancient traditions and architectural marvels converge. Here are the top 10 things to do in Bhaktapur to make the most of your visit:
- Durbar Square: Begin your journey at Durbar Square, the heart of Bhaktapur. Marvel at the stunning temples, palaces, and courtyards adorned with intricate wood carvings and sculptures. Don’t miss the famous 55-Window Palace, Nyatapola Temple, and the Bhairava Nath Temple.
- Pottery Square: Immerse yourself in the vibrant pottery culture of Bhaktapur at Pottery Square. Watch skilled artisans shape clay into beautiful pottery using traditional techniques passed down through generations. You can even try your hand at pottery-making under their guidance.
- Peacock Window: Visit the Peacock Window, an architectural masterpiece renowned for its intricate woodwork. Admire the exquisite peacock motifs, floral patterns, and delicate carvings that adorn this historic window.
- Taumadhi Square: Wander through Taumadhi Square, home to the iconic Nyatapola Temple, the tallest pagoda-style temple in Nepal. Ascend its steep steps for panoramic views of Bhaktapur and the surrounding area.
- Bhaktapur Thangka Painting School: Discover the ancient art of Thangka painting at the Bhaktapur Thangka Painting School. Watch skilled artists meticulously create intricate Buddhist paintings, and even try your hand at this traditional art form.
- Changu Narayan Temple: Venture outside Bhaktapur to the nearby Changu Narayan Temple, one of Nepal’s oldest Hindu temples. Marvel at the stunning stone carvings and intricate artwork that adorn this UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Siddha Pokhari: Seek tranquility at Siddha Pokhari, a serene pond in Bhaktapur. Surrounded by lush gardens and overlooked by a picturesque temple, it offers a peaceful retreat to relax and reflect.
- Bhaktapur Durbar Square Museum: Delve into Bhaktapur’s history and culture at the Bhaktapur Durbar Square Museum. Explore its exhibits, which showcase ancient artifacts, artworks, and historical photographs.
- Explore Narrow Streets and Hidden Courtyards: Get lost in the maze of narrow streets, known as “gallis,” that wind through Bhaktapur’s old town. Discover hidden courtyards, where local life unfolds, and observe the daily rituals and traditions of the residents.
- Indulge in Newari Cuisine: Complete your Bhaktapur experience by savoring Newari cuisine. Taste local delicacies like Juju Dhau (King of Yogurt), Bara (lentil pancake), and Yomari (sweet rice flour dumpling) at traditional eateries, immersing yourself in the flavors of the region.
These top 10 activities in Bhaktapur offer a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage, architectural splendor, and traditional way of life. Allow yourself to be transported to a bygone era as you explore its ancient streets, marvel at its architectural gems, and indulge in the local traditions and flavors that make Bhaktapur a truly captivating destination.
What To Eat and Drink in Bhaktapur, Nepal
Bhaktapur, renowned for its rich culinary heritage, offers a delightful array of traditional Newari dishes and flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. Here are some must-try foods and beverages to savor during your visit:
- Juju Dhau (King of Yogurt): Begin your culinary journey with Juju Dhau, a creamy and sweet yogurt that is Bhaktapur’s pride. This artisanal yogurt is traditionally served in clay pots, adding a unique flavor and texture to this beloved local treat.
- Bara: Indulge in Bara, a savory lentil pancake that is a staple of Newari cuisine. Made from black lentils and spices, these crispy yet soft pancakes are often served with a side of spicy achar (pickle) and yogurt.
- Yomari: Delight in Yomari, a traditional Newari dessert made from rice flour dough stuffed with a sweet filling. These steamed or fried dumplings are often filled with molasses, sesame seeds, and coconut, creating a heavenly combination of flavors.
- Chatamari: Experience the unique flavors of Chatamari, often referred to as “Newari pizza.” It is a thin rice flour crepe topped with various toppings like minced meat, vegetables, and eggs, creating a delightful blend of textures and spices.
- Kwati: Relish the flavors of Kwati, a nutritious mixed bean soup that is typically prepared during festivals like the Nepali New Year. Made with a combination of nine different beans, this hearty soup is packed with flavors and symbolic significance.
- Samay Baji: Immerse yourself in the traditional Newari feast known as Samay Baji. It consists of various delicacies served on a plate, including beaten rice, boiled eggs, black soybeans, marinated meat, and spicy pickles. This communal meal offers a vibrant tapestry of flavors and textures.
- Sel Roti: Sample Sel Roti, a popular Nepali sweet dish that resembles a crispy donut. Made from rice flour, bananas, and sugar, it is deep-fried to perfection, resulting in a delightful treat enjoyed during festivals and special occasions.
- Aila: Quench your thirst with Aila, a traditional Newari alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. This potent liquor carries a distinct flavor profile and is often consumed during festive celebrations and cultural ceremonies.
- Lassi: Cool down with a refreshing glass of Lassi, a yogurt-based drink blended with water, sugar, and sometimes flavored with fruit or spices. It offers a creamy and tangy respite from Bhaktapur’s bustling streets.
- Chhoyela: Enjoy the smoky flavors of Chhoyela, a spicy grilled meat dish that is marinated in a mixture of spices, lemon juice, and mustard oil. Typically made with chicken or buffalo meat, this flavorful delicacy is often served as an appetizer.
Embrace the culinary traditions of Bhaktapur by savoring these local delicacies. From sweet to savory, these dishes represent the soul of Newari cuisine and provide a gastronomic journey through the flavors and textures of this ancient city.
Top Restaurants In Bhaktapur, Nepal
Bhaktapur is home to numerous delightful restaurants that offer a range of culinary experiences, from traditional Newari cuisine to international flavors. Here are some top restaurants in Bhaktapur that are well-regarded for their delicious food and inviting ambiance:
- Nyatapola Restaurant: Located near Bhaktapur’s iconic Nyatapola Temple, this restaurant offers a picturesque setting and a diverse menu. Enjoy traditional Newari dishes like Bara and Yomari, as well as Nepali and international cuisines, all prepared with care and using fresh ingredients.
- Bhaktapur Kitchen: Nestled in the heart of Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Kitchen offers a cozy and rustic atmosphere. Indulge in authentic Newari dishes, including Juju Dhau, Samay Baji, and various local delicacies, all prepared with traditional recipes and flavors.
- Dhaukhel Lodge Restaurant: Situated in the peaceful town of Dhaukhel, a short distance from Bhaktapur, this restaurant offers stunning views of the Himalayas along with a delectable menu. Relish Newari specialties, as well as Nepali and continental dishes, made with organic ingredients sourced from the region.
- Café Nyatapola: Enjoy a fusion of Newari and continental flavors at Café Nyatapola, conveniently located near Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square. The restaurant’s cozy courtyard and rooftop terrace provide a relaxing ambiance to savor dishes like Chatamari, Kwati, and an assortment of international fare.
- Nepal Pavilion Restaurant: Located in a traditional Newari building in Bhaktapur, Nepal Pavilion Restaurant offers an elegant dining experience. Delight in a menu that combines Newari, Nepali, and continental cuisines, featuring dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.
- Nanglo Bakery Café: For a casual dining experience, head to Nanglo Bakery Café, a popular spot in Bhaktapur. Sample their freshly baked bread, pastries, sandwiches, and pizzas, along with refreshing beverages, in a cozy and laid-back setting.
- Bhaktapur Durbar View Restaurant: Enjoy panoramic views of Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square from this rooftop restaurant. Feast on a variety of dishes, including Newari delicacies, as you soak in the breathtaking views of the historic square and its architectural gems.
- Cosy Restaurant and Bar: Located in Bhaktapur’s Taumadhi Square, Cosy Restaurant and Bar offers a warm and inviting atmosphere. Relish an extensive menu of Newari, Nepali, and international dishes, accompanied by a wide selection of beverages.
- Moonlight Restaurant: Situated near the famous Bhaktapur Pottery Square, Moonlight Restaurant serves up a range of dishes from various cuisines, including Nepali, Indian, Chinese, and continental. With indoor and outdoor seating options, it provides a pleasant dining experience.
- Siddha Café and Restaurant: Tucked away in the alleys of Bhaktapur, Siddha Café and Restaurant offers a tranquil ambiance and a menu that features a mix of Newari and international flavors. Enjoy their cozy indoor seating or relax in their garden area while savoring their culinary offerings.
These top restaurants in Bhaktapur showcase the diverse culinary scene of the city, allowing you to indulge in authentic Newari cuisine, as well as a variety of international flavors. Whether you seek traditional flavors or a fusion of tastes, these restaurants promise a memorable dining experience in Bhaktapur.
Tours For Visitors To Bhaktapur, Nepal
Bhaktapur, with its rich cultural heritage and architectural wonders, offers a range of captivating tours that allow visitors to explore its hidden gems and immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant traditions. Here are some popular tours for visitors to Bhaktapur:
- Heritage Walking Tour: Embark on a guided heritage walking tour through the narrow streets of Bhaktapur’s old town. Discover the city’s ancient temples, palaces, and courtyards, as knowledgeable guides share fascinating stories and insights into Bhaktapur’s history and culture.
- Pottery Workshop Tour: Gain hands-on experience in the traditional pottery-making process with a pottery workshop tour. Learn from skilled artisans as they guide you through the various stages of creating pottery, from shaping clay to firing it in the kiln.
- Newari Cooking Class: Delve into the flavors of Newari cuisine with a cooking class. Learn to prepare traditional dishes like Bara, Yomari, and Samay Baji under the guidance of expert chefs. Afterward, savor the fruits of your labor as you enjoy a delicious meal.
- Bhaktapur Photography Tour: Capture the essence of Bhaktapur through the lens on a photography tour. Explore the city’s architectural marvels, bustling markets, and vibrant festivals, while receiving expert tips and guidance from a professional photographer.
- Farm Visit and Organic Food Tour: Experience the rural charm of Bhaktapur with a farm visit and organic food tour. Explore the lush fields, learn about organic farming practices, and indulge in a farm-to-table meal made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
- Cultural Dance Performance: Immerse yourself in Bhaktapur’s cultural heritage with a traditional dance performance. Witness vibrant dance forms like Lakhe Dance and Bhairav Dance, accompanied by live music, as performers showcase the city’s rich artistic traditions.
- Bhaktapur Cycling Tour: Discover Bhaktapur’s hidden corners and picturesque landscapes on a cycling tour. Pedal through the city’s ancient streets, visit lesser-known temples and squares, and explore the serene countryside surrounding Bhaktapur.
- Woodcarving Workshop Tour: Engage in a woodcarving workshop tour to learn about the intricate artistry that adorns Bhaktapur’s temples and palaces. Under the guidance of skilled craftsmen, try your hand at carving intricate designs and gain an appreciation for this traditional craftsmanship.
- Yoga and Meditation Retreat: Rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul with a yoga and meditation retreat in Bhaktapur. Join experienced instructors in serene settings, practicing yoga asanas and meditation techniques while embracing the peaceful ambiance of the city.
- Bhaktapur Cultural Tour: Immerse yourself in the city’s cultural tapestry with a comprehensive Bhaktapur cultural tour. Visit key heritage sites, witness cultural performances, explore local markets, and gain a deeper understanding of Bhaktapur’s vibrant traditions.
These tours provide unique perspectives on Bhaktapur’s history, culture, and craftsmanship, allowing visitors to delve deeper into the city’s captivating heritage. Whether you prefer hands-on experiences, cultural immersion, or explorations of Bhaktapur’s architectural wonders, there’s a tour to suit every interest and provide an unforgettable journey through this enchanting city.
Bhaktapur Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
When it comes to accommodations, Bhaktapur offers a range of options that cater to different budgets and preferences. Whether you seek a traditional guesthouse or a luxurious hotel, here is a guide to help you find the perfect place to stay in Bhaktapur:
- Traditional Guesthouses: Experience the authentic charm of Bhaktapur by staying in one of its traditional guesthouses. These accommodations often feature traditional Newari architecture, intricate woodwork, and courtyards. They offer a glimpse into the local way of life and provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
- Boutique Hotels: Bhaktapur is home to several boutique hotels that combine modern comforts with traditional aesthetics. These intimate establishments offer personalized service, stylish interiors, and a cozy ambiance. Enjoy the fusion of contemporary amenities and the city’s rich cultural heritage.
- Heritage Hotels: Immerse yourself in Bhaktapur’s history by staying in a heritage hotel. These properties are often converted from historic buildings, such as traditional Newari houses or palaces, and have been carefully restored to preserve their architectural integrity. Stay amidst exquisite wood carvings, ancient courtyards, and opulent surroundings.
- Guesthouses and Homestays: For a more intimate and local experience, consider staying in a guesthouse or homestay. These accommodations are typically run by local families who open their doors to guests, providing a warm and hospitable environment. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with the hosts, learn about their culture, and enjoy home-cooked meals.
- Resorts: Located in the serene outskirts of Bhaktapur, resorts offer a tranquil retreat from the bustling city. Set amidst lush landscapes, these establishments provide a peaceful ambiance, modern amenities, and often include additional facilities such as swimming pools, spas, and restaurants.
- Budget Hotels and Lodges: If you’re seeking affordable accommodations, Bhaktapur has a range of budget hotels and lodges to choose from. These establishments offer comfortable rooms, basic amenities, and are conveniently located near the main attractions of the city.
- Farm Stays: Experience rural life and immerse yourself in the countryside surrounding Bhaktapur by staying in a farm stay. These accommodations provide an opportunity to engage in farm activities, explore the natural beauty of the region, and savor farm-fresh meals.
When selecting accommodations in Bhaktapur, consider factors such as location, proximity to attractions, amenities, and your preferred ambiance. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure your preferred choice.
Bhaktapur’s accommodations offer more than just a place to rest; they provide an opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the city’s cultural tapestry and experience its unique charm. Whichever type of accommodation you choose, you’re sure to find a memorable and enriching stay in Bhaktapur.
Day Trips From Bhaktapur, Nepal
While Bhaktapur itself offers a plethora of cultural and historical attractions, there are also several fascinating day trip options from the city that allow you to explore the surrounding areas. Here are some popular day trips from Bhaktapur:
- Nagarkot: Venture to Nagarkot, a scenic hill station located about 20 kilometers east of Bhaktapur. Famous for its panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range, including Mount Everest on a clear day, Nagarkot offers breathtaking sunrise and sunset vistas. Enjoy nature walks, visit nearby temples, or simply soak in the tranquility of the mountains.
- Changu Narayan: Visit Changu Narayan, an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on a hilltop just a short distance from Bhaktapur, this temple boasts exquisite stone carvings, intricate artwork, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
- Dhulikhel: Explore the charming town of Dhulikhel, nestled in the hills about 30 kilometers east of Bhaktapur. Dhulikhel offers stunning views of the Himalayas and is known for its traditional Newari architecture. Take a leisurely stroll through its narrow streets, visit temples, and savor the serene atmosphere.
- Namobuddha: Journey to Namobuddha, a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site located approximately 40 kilometers east of Bhaktapur. This serene hilltop location offers panoramic views and is renowned for its monastery and the legendary story of Lord Buddha’s selfless act of offering his body to a hungry tigress.
- Panauti: Step back in time as you visit Panauti, a medieval town located about 15 kilometers south of Bhaktapur. This well-preserved Newari settlement boasts ancient temples, traditional architecture, and a tranquil ambiance. Explore its narrow streets, visit the Indreshwar Mahadev Temple, and wander along the banks of the Roshi Khola river.
- Kavre: Discover the natural beauty of Kavre, a district located east of Bhaktapur. This region offers lush landscapes, terraced fields, and picturesque villages. Enjoy hiking trails, visit Kavre’s historic temples and monasteries, and immerse yourself in the rustic charm of rural Nepal.
- Sanga: Visit Sanga, a small village located on the outskirts of Bhaktapur, famous for its towering Shiva statue. Admire the magnificent 143-feet tall statue of Lord Shiva, explore the nearby Bhaktapur Cable Car, and take in panoramic views of the surrounding valleys.
- Sankhu: Explore the ancient town of Sankhu, located approximately 16 kilometers northeast of Bhaktapur. This historic Newari town is known for its well-preserved temples, traditional architecture, and rich cultural heritage. Visit the Vajrayogini Temple, one of the oldest and most important Tantric Buddhist temples in Nepal, and wander through the quaint streets to admire the local craftsmanship.
- Balthali Village: Escape to the tranquility of Balthali Village, situated about 35 kilometers southeast of Bhaktapur. This scenic rural area offers a peaceful retreat amidst terraced fields, pine forests, and traditional villages. Enjoy hiking or cycling through the picturesque countryside, visit nearby temples and monasteries, and experience the warm hospitality of the locals.
- Dhulikhel-Kavre-Panauti Circuit: Combine the charms of Dhulikhel, Kavre, and Panauti in one day trip. Begin your journey in Dhulikhel, where you can soak in the mountain views and explore the town’s cultural sites. Then proceed to Kavre, known for its beautiful landscapes and historic temples. Finally, visit Panauti to wander through its ancient streets and discover its rich Newari heritage.
These day trips from Bhaktapur provide a diverse range of experiences, from breathtaking mountain views to cultural exploration and serene retreats. Each destination offers a unique glimpse into the natural and cultural wonders that lie beyond the city’s borders, allowing you to further enrich your visit to Bhaktapur.
Bhaktapur Transportation Guide
Getting around Bhaktapur is relatively easy, as the city is compact and most of its attractions are within walking distance. Here’s a transportation guide to help you navigate Bhaktapur:
- Walking: Bhaktapur’s narrow streets and well-preserved historic core make it a perfect city for exploring on foot. Stroll through the ancient alleys, marvel at the architectural gems, and immerse yourself in the city’s rich heritage. Walking allows you to discover hidden corners and experience the local ambiance up close.
- Rickshaws: For short distances or when you prefer not to walk, you can hire a rickshaw. These traditional pedicabs are a popular means of transportation in Bhaktapur. Negotiate the fare before the ride, and enjoy a leisurely journey through the city’s charming streets.
- Taxis: Taxis are available in Bhaktapur and can be convenient for longer journeys or if you have heavy luggage. Negotiate the fare or ensure that the taxi meter is used before starting your trip. It’s advisable to agree on the fare in advance to avoid any misunderstandings.
- Public Buses: Bhaktapur is well-connected by public buses to other major cities and towns in Nepal. You can find local buses at the Bhaktapur Bus Park, located near the city center. Public buses are an economical option for traveling to nearby destinations or for exploring the wider Kathmandu Valley.
- Private Vehicles: If you prefer more flexibility and independence, you can hire a private vehicle, such as a car or motorcycle, to explore Bhaktapur and its surroundings. Rental services are available in Kathmandu, and you can drive to Bhaktapur within 30 minutes. Be aware of the traffic conditions and driving regulations, especially if you choose to drive a motorcycle.
- Bicycles: Bhaktapur’s flat terrain and relatively quiet streets make it an ideal place for cycling enthusiasts. Some guesthouses and rental shops offer bicycles for hire. Cycling allows you to explore at your own pace and venture beyond the city center to nearby attractions.
- Horse Carriage: To add a touch of nostalgia to your Bhaktapur experience, you can opt for a horse carriage ride. These traditional carriages offer a leisurely way to explore the city’s historic streets, especially if you want to enjoy a romantic or unique mode of transportation.
Remember to negotiate fares, agree on prices in advance, and confirm transportation options with reliable sources to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. Bhaktapur’s compact size and pedestrian-friendly streets make it easy to navigate and enjoy the city’s cultural treasures.
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Bhaktapur?
After exploring the wonders of Bhaktapur, there are several captivating destinations in Nepal that you can visit to further enrich your journey. Here are some notable places to consider:
- Kathmandu: The capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu, is a vibrant hub of culture, history, and spirituality. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple), Boudhanath Stupa, and Pashupatinath Temple. Explore the bustling streets of Thamel, discover hidden temples and shrines, and indulge in the city’s culinary delights.
- Patan: Located just a few kilometers from Bhaktapur, Patan (also known as Lalitpur) is another ancient city in the Kathmandu Valley. It is renowned for its well-preserved Newari architecture, ancient palaces, and intricate stone carvings. Don’t miss Patan Durbar Square, the Patan Museum, and the mesmerizing Golden Temple.
- Pokhara: Situated amidst the picturesque Annapurna mountain range, Pokhara is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Himalayas, go boating on Phewa Lake, visit the serene World Peace Pagoda, and embark on trekking adventures to nearby trails like the Annapurna Base Camp or Poon Hill.
- Chitwan National Park: For wildlife enthusiasts, a trip to Chitwan National Park is a must. Located in the Terai lowlands, this UNESCO World Heritage site offers opportunities to spot diverse wildlife, including the one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, elephants, and various bird species. Enjoy jungle safaris, canoe rides, and cultural experiences with local Tharu communities.
- Lumbini: Discover the birthplace of Lord Buddha in Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a significant pilgrimage destination for Buddhists. Explore the sacred Maya Devi Temple, Ashoka Pillar, and numerous monasteries and meditation centers that dot the tranquil surroundings.
- Nagarkot: Escape to Nagarkot, a hill station located on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Famous for its panoramic views of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest on clear days, Nagarkot offers breathtaking sunrise and sunset vistas. Enjoy nature walks, visit nearby temples, and relax in the serene mountain setting.
- Everest Base Camp Trek: For the adventurous at heart, consider embarking on the iconic Everest Base Camp Trek. This challenging trek takes you through breathtaking landscapes, Sherpa villages, and high mountain passes, culminating at the base camp of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest.
- Langtang National Park: Explore the scenic Langtang Valley and Langtang National Park, known for its stunning mountain landscapes, glaciers, and diverse flora and fauna.
- Bandipur: Experience the preserved medieval atmosphere of Bandipur, a hilltop town renowned for its traditional Newari architecture, panoramic views, and hiking trails.
- Gorkha: Visit the historic town of Gorkha, famous for its ancient Gorkha Durbar and the birthplace of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the unifier of modern Nepal.
- Manakamana Temple: Take a cable car ride to the sacred Manakamana Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Bhagwati. Enjoy panoramic views and immerse yourself in religious rituals.
- Tansen: Discover the charming town of Tansen, located in the Palpa district. Walk through its narrow streets, admire its ancient architecture, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
- Mustang: Journey to the ancient kingdom of Mustang, a remote and culturally rich region bordering Tibet. Explore its unique landscape, ancient monasteries, and traditional Tibetan culture.
- Janakpur: Visit Janakpur, a sacred city for Hindus and the birthplace of Sita, the consort of Lord Rama. Explore Janaki Mandir, a stunning temple dedicated to Goddess Sita, and witness colorful religious festivals.
- Rara Lake: Experience the serene beauty of Rara Lake, Nepal’s largest lake, located in Rara National Park. Enjoy boating, hiking, and bird-watching in this pristine alpine setting.
- Bardia National Park: Embark on a wildlife safari in Bardia National Park, a remote and less-visited park in the western Terai region known for its diverse wildlife, including tigers, elephants, and rare bird species.
- Dhankuta: Explore the scenic hill town of Dhankuta, known for its tea gardens, terraced fields, and panoramic views of the Himalayas. Immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy hiking trails in the area.
- Ilam: Discover the tea-growing region of Ilam, nestled in the eastern hills of Nepal. Visit tea estates, witness tea processing, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and mountains.
- Daman: Enjoy panoramic views of the Himalayas from Daman, a hill station located on the Tribhuvan Highway. Take in the breathtaking vistas and engage in outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking.
- Dolpo: Venture to the remote and untouched region of Dolpo, famous for its pristine landscapes, ancient monasteries, and unique Tibetan culture. Explore the Shey Phoksundo National Park and the stunning Phoksundo Lake.
These destinations offer a diverse range of experiences, from cultural immersion and historical exploration to breathtaking natural beauty and thrilling adventures. Each place has its own unique charm and significance, allowing you to continue your exploration of Nepal’s rich heritage and stunning landscapes beyond Bhaktapur.
Bhaktapur Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
As your journey through Bhaktapur comes to a close, you can reflect on the captivating experiences and rich cultural heritage you have encountered in this ancient city. Bhaktapur, with its well-preserved architecture, intricate woodwork, and vibrant traditions, offers a glimpse into Nepal’s glorious past.
During your visit, you have explored the historic Durbar Square, wandered through narrow streets lined with traditional houses, and marveled at the stunning temples and palaces that adorn the city. You have savored the flavors of Newari cuisine, experienced the art of pottery-making, and embarked on day trips to nearby scenic and cultural destinations.
Bhaktapur’s allure lies in its ability to transport you back in time, allowing you to immerse yourself in the bygone era of the Newari civilization. Its UNESCO World Heritage sites, vibrant festivals, and warm hospitality have left a lasting impression on your journey.
As you conclude your Bhaktapur travel guide, remember to take home souvenirs that capture the essence of the city, such as intricately carved woodwork, pottery, or colorful textiles. These mementos will serve as reminders of the captivating experiences you have had in Bhaktapur.
While your time in Bhaktapur may be coming to an end, the memories and discoveries will remain with you forever. As you depart, take a moment to appreciate the city’s architectural splendors, its rich cultural heritage, and the warm smiles of the locals you encountered along the way.
May your journey continue to other corners of Nepal, where new adventures and cultural treasures await. Bhaktapur will forever hold a special place in your heart as a testament to the country’s incredible history and traditions. Farewell, and may your travels be filled with joy, discovery, and the spirit of Bhaktapur.
In Bhaktapur’s ancient realm, where time stands still, A city of wonders, where history’s thrill, Where cobbled streets whisper tales of old, And secrets of the past, yet to be told.
The Durbar Square, a majestic sight, With temples and palaces, bathed in golden light, Carved woodwork adorning every door, A testament to the artistry of yore.
Narrow alleys lead to hidden nooks, Where artisans create with their skilled hooks, Pottery wheels spin, shaping clay with care, Crafting vessels that speak of a heritage rare.
The air is filled with the scent of spices, As Newari cuisine entices, Bara, Yomari, a gastronomic delight, Savoring flavors that dance in every bite.
Festivals come alive, colors fill the sky, Music and dances that never die, The sounds of drums and cymbals ring, As people celebrate and joyously sing.
Step into courtyards, tranquil and serene, Escape the chaos, find solace in between, The sound of prayer flags fluttering high, Bringing blessings from the clear blue sky.
Bhaktapur, a tapestry of tradition and art, A journey that touches the depths of the heart, Where ancient and modern effortlessly blend, And memories made will eternally transcend.
So let your spirit wander, your soul explore, In Bhaktapur’s enchantment, forevermore, Embrace the beauty, the history untold, In this magical city, where stories unfold.