Bhaktapur is one of Nepal’s cleanest cities. It is not as busy as Kathmandu and doesn’t suffer from the anathema of overcrowding and unplanned urbanisation that Kathmandu does. At the edge of the Kathmandu valley, it is peaceful and beautiful.
The name Bhaktapur is synonymous to the city of devotion and spirituality, where Bhakta means devotee and Pur means city. This is why Bhaktapur is known as the city of devotion. Without a doubt, it has more temples and divinities than roofs and people at one point in time. However, this little Newari village still appears to be able to display archaic historical sites intact as they were hundreds of years ago. With incredible stories related to each monument and festival, it appears to transport you back in the time when they were constructed.
It is stated that Bhaktapur existed as early as 865 A.D. and is the oldest and smallest district of Nepal.
The villages there plainly remind us of those old ways of living. This place, barely 8 miles from Nepal’s main city, Kathmandu, provides you a distinct flavour of Newari culture along with the capital city.
But don’t be fooled by this charming tiny city. There are many things to do in Bhaktapur that are rich in history and culture.
Here are some suggestions for things to do in Bhaktapur the next time you visit:
Treat yourself with a cup of Juju Dhau
First and foremost, obtain a cup of Juju Dhau to complement your tour. Juju Dhau is a popular Nepalese yoghurt found, especially in Bhaktapur, and is primarily made by the Newars.
Juju Dhau literally translates to ‘The King Yoghurt’ in Newari. It is delicious custard-like yoghurt that is very popular during festivals as well as, on a normal day, to treat yourself with a sweet and creamy dessert.
The cold and refreshing Juju Dhau will keep you rejuvenated during the journey. So, make sure to acquire one for yourself and not miss out on the royal dessert.
Roam around the museums
Bhaktapur is a wonderland for anybody with a thirst for architecture and curiosity about history. There are three notable museums in Bhaktapur city. If you are interested in history, and stone and wood carving, you should visit these museums in Bhaktapur to enhance and explore the art of carving. It will be worthwhile to see these places:
1. Woodcarving Museum – known for the renowned peacock windowi
2. Brass and Bronze Museum – has a marvellous collection of metalware and housewares of ancient times
3. National Art Museum – has pieces of manuscripts carved on stones, and fine collection of traditional and genuine Thanka
Aside from these museums, there are few other art galleries and museums that you won't regret paying a visit.
Explore Authentic Newari Taste
Newari delicacies are popular not just among Newars, but also among other community members. If you visit Bhaktapur, you should experience Newari dishes and drinks. There is no separate alcohol industry here. They make it in their own homes. The alcohol is known as ‘Aela’ in the native Newari language.
Newari food is made up entirely of organic foods, and this typical cuisine is adorned with flattened rice, meat, vegetables, egg dishes, and many more. The Newari people have a rich culture as well as delicious food. A typical Newari meal is heavy yet healthful, with many flavours such as sweet, sour, spicy, and savoury in all of its combinations. Do visit the local eateries at Bhaktapur and get the real taste of Newari food in one of the oldest Newari cities.
Make your own clay pot
Bhaktapur is also well known for its outstanding ceramic artwork. A few minutes’ walk south from Taumadhi Square, you can see clay piggy banks, Diyo, miniature figurines, and much more in the pottery square. Many businesses in the square offer clay pots with fantastic designs, and lately, they also educate you about and allow you to make your own pot, which you can take home as a souvenir.
So, the next time you’re in Bhaktapur, spend some time with the natives, and get a taste of what it’s like to spin a pile of clay on a wheel and make an earthen pot for yourself.
Evening walk in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Unlike the other two durbar squares, Bhaktapur is not located in an open space. No one was permitted to enter there at night since it is highly sacred. However, you can now enjoy the durbar square at night. Since the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign, it is accessible to anyone.
Do not miss Bhaktapur Durbar Square’s sunset vista. The finest moment to admire the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla is when it is dim in the evening.
You will get to enjoy one of the greatest moments in Bhaktapur during one of these night time strolls. You’ll experience peace and calming silence. Quit being lazy and take a stroll when in Bhaktapur.
- Photo By: Raimond Klavins
These are only a handful of the activities we listed. There are countless things to do. Simply put, we advise you to do everything from the heart, and talk to the locals to gain more insight into the activities you want to engage in.
Compiled By: Rebika Bishokama