Bhaktapur (a living museum in Nepal)
Bhaktapur, the former capital was the highlight of my Nepal trip.
My first impression was I in Rajasthan (India), or time travel thousand years and visiting the silk road.
Close to 100,000 inhabitants still living in this medieval city.
We were overnight right beside the lane on the right. It was an incredible town, especially after the tourists have left.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, tourists would be making day trip from Kathmandu to visit the Durbar Square in Bhaktapur.
There are many temples and sites within Durbar Square.
There are few mandirs in the courtyard.
Passing through the Golden Gate would be the Royal Palace.
This doorway is masterpiece of metal artwork in Kathmandu Valley.
I am actually searching for the unique carving in the bathing courtyard. Most tourists would be interested in the serpent but I adore this water hose with a goat coming out from the monster’s mouth. Creative.
The National Art Gallery is next to the Royal Palace.
Siddhi Laxmi Mandir or the Stone Temple is further down the courtyard, with the famous girl and the dog statue.
One could easily spend 1-2 hours if you are looking at the details, or just 5 minutes if you walk right through all the relics.
2 minutes walk from Durbar Square is Taumadhi Tol.
Nyatapola Mandir is the most impressive tower in Nepal (and also the tallest at 98 feet). The roof structure have five storeys (‘nyata’) and have many interesting stone statue. Each level of the statue is 10 times stronger (in strength) than the creature below it.
Malla Wrestlers < Elephants < Lions < Griffins < Goddesses (Baghini and Singhini).
I think elephant is stronger than lion, but anyway, I think Nepal has tiger instead of lion, so the ancient world may exaggerate the strength of the lion. I could be wrong.
Bhairavnath Mandir is another impressive temple on the right at Taumadhi Tol. It is dedicated to the patron god Bhairav.
Following the main road walking to the north east direction will lead tourists to Dattatraya Square. This could be the oldest square in Nepal, with great heritage value.
Many people walking to Dattatraya Square is to admire the famous wood carvings.
Peacock Window is the most famous wood adornments in the area.
I really like the atmosphere of Bhaktapur during dusk and dawn.
One can see the towering Nyatapola Temple from many directions (and with snow capped mountains in the backdrop).
The medieval buildings are still inhabited with local people.
I would add few camel (instead of motorbikes) to the city (like that in Rajasthan) to reproduce the silk road scene.
I would highly recommend Bhaktapur be your visiting city instead of overnight in Kathmandu.
By the way, it is so near the airport that we stayed at Bhaktapur and depart to the airport on the next day.
Bhaktapur is really enchanting if you are not visiting the city during noon time, so overnight stay is highly recommended.