Monday, July 21, 2014

TRAVEL GUIDE: BHAKTAPUR – The Living Heritage


This place is located around 15km to 20km east of Kathmandu. It is an ancient city renowned for its elegant art, remarkable culture, vibrant festivals, and traditional dances. In Bhaktapur, you will be able to experience first-hand the indigenous lifestyle of the Newari community.

When I set foot at this place, I initially compared it to our very own “Calle Crisologo” of Ilocos Sur only to realize, while roaming around, that the latter is no match. Bhaktapur gives out an authentic ambiance of traditional environment. Impressive monuments abound the area; most of which are terra-cotta with carved wood columns. You can also find palaces and temples with elaborate carvings and gold-plated roofs. Open courtyards will definitely impress you.

This city, speckled with pagodas, temples, and other forms of religious shrines, is definitely way better, bigger, and beautiful than Calle Crisologo. I felt so stupid to even try comparing them. Bhaktapur is a living City of Culture; indeed, it is Nepal's Cultural Gem.

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BHAKTAPUR (Source: Wikipedia)

·         It has the best preserved palace courtyards and old city centre in Nepal.
·         It is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, as well as wood, metal and stone artworks.
·         The town is famous for a special type of curd called "Ju Ju Dhau". Curd makers say that the taste of curd prepared in this location cannot be found elsewhere in the country.
·         Bhaktapur is popular for different forms of mask dances based on lives of different deities and therefore, it was named "Khwapa" which later came to become just "Khwopa," which is also means masks.
·         It is the home of traditional art and architecture, historical monuments and craft works, magnificent windows, pottery and weaving industries, excellent temples, beautiful ponds, rich local customs, culture, religion, festivals, and musical mystic and so on.
·         Bhaktapur is still an untouched as well as preserved ancient city that is itself a world to explore for tourists.

HOW TO GET TO BHAKTAPUR FROM KATHMANDU

Option 1: BUS

This is a very affordable option but can be so much of a hassle. If you are staying in Thamel (where most tourists hotels and restaurants can be found), you can just simply walk to Ratna Park Bus Station and take a bus from there. As of this writing, the tourists bus fare costs NPR 30 (one way). Travel time is roughly an hour without traffic. Tell the driver/conductor to drop you at Bhaktapur (just several steps away from the main gate)

Option 2: TAXI

This is a more convenient but expensive option. Roughly costs NPR 350- 500 from Kathmandu to Bhaktapur. For some reason, it’s more expensive to take a cab on your way back (Bhaktapur – Kathmandu) as the driver will charge an amount of around NPR 800-1000. You must have a very good bargaining skill or best to ask your hotel about the standard rate.

Make sure to avoid rush hour traffic and set off via taxi or bus by 9AM or earlier if you do not want to get caught in the heavy traffic. Traffic in Nepal is no joke. I am sure you don’t want to experience it.


GETTING AROUND BHAKTAPUR

·         Foreigners should pay the entrance fee of NPR 1500 (good for 1 day) before entering the place. Yeah, I know that’s kinda expensive, but it is worth it, I assure you. If you plan to stay in Bhaktapur for a more than a day (hotels and inns are available in the area), present your passport upon paying the entrance fee and you can get the same ticket extended for one week without having to pay again.
·         Bhaktapur Tour can be finished within 30-40 minutes if you walk non-stop, although I suggest you take your time. The place has so much to offer. There are no transportations available in the area so the only means to go around is through foot.
·         Four Squares in Bhaktapu: Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square, and Pottery Square. Make sure to visit all of them!
·         Main Items of Interest: The Lion Gate, Lu Dhowka (The Golden Gate), The Palace of Fifty-five Windows, The Picture Gallery, The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, Batsala Temple, and The Pashupati Temple.
·         Climb up the stone steps of Nyatapola Temple to enjoy the great view of the city.
·         Explore further East through the maze and admire the intricate carvings of Dattatreya Temple in Dattatreya Square.
·         Make sure to visit to the Bhaktapur Durbar square. Enter the museums, and do a side trip through the Golden Gate.
·         Before going home, find your way south along the street marked "Arts and Handicraft stores" and look for some souvenir items. After then, you can go to pottery square to look and appreciate how natives masterfully make traditional pot.

If you have more than enough time after touring Bhaktapur, head right away to Nagarkot. In this place, you can find the second-highest point on the Kathmandu Valley – Nagarkot Tower. Breathe in the magnificent views of the Himalayas and Mt. Everest at an altitude of 2,175!


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This entry is part of our Nepal Backpacking Trip which happened last June 23 – July 01, 2014 (JUST CLICK ON THE LINK FOR DETAILS OF EACH ARTICLE)
·                     TRAVEL GUIDE TO NEPAL
·                     GOING AROUND KATHMANDU
·                     TRAVEL GUIDE: BHAKTAPUR – THE LIVING HERITAGE
·                     TRAVEL GUIDE: NAGARKOT AND THE AMAZING VISTAS THAT WE FAILED TO SEE
·                     TRAVEL GUIDE: POKHARA - THE PLACE OF MAGNIFICENT HEIGHTS
·                     TRAVELGUIDE: CHITWAN – THE HEART OF THE JUNGLE
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1 comment:

  1. Heritage defines the culture, history and artwork of one country. Bhatakpur is known to be an preserved old city of Nepal which is famous for tourists to explore as it is a home for temples, artwork, crafts, pottery and musical mystics etc. I also wish to visit it soon.

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