28th Sep 2022
It was exactly 6 am in the morning when my travel partner Upashana and I took the bus to Bhaktapur from Chabahil for a day in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Curious to know why we head out that early? Well, you need to keep reading the blog till the last, and I’ll try to keep it shorter and more enjoyable.
Every little corner has something in store for you!!
Before starting off with my story let me quickly ask you a question: Have you ever been to Bhaktapur? If yes how many times have you been there and what was the most fascinating thing about Bhaktapur?
Alright back to my story. It was early in the morning and as the bus took the route to Bhaktapur I was enjoying the window view. The city was slowly rising up as we got closer to our destination.
We got off the bus at Suryabinayak Chowk/station and walked towards our destination for the day. Right after 5 minutes of walking, we arrived at the entrance to Durbar Square, the southern gate of Bhaktapur.
We had a quick look at the map and planned for the places to visit and among which Pottery Square was on the top bucket list. As soon as we reached the Durbar Square area the entire feeling was totally beyond words to explain; the authentic smell of the city and the past structures of the buildings displayed the city as if it has stopped aging.
Likewise, standing in front of the massive 5-story Nytapola (which means a five-storied building) Temple with awestruck eyes thinking how really tiny we were in front of the temple.
We took a short walk within the Taumadhi area where lies the giant Nyatpola and the Bhairavanath temple. We were chatting about how the city is so perfectly preserved in its own form and at the same time, the city is so clean and well-managed.
As we were appreciating the city our eyes went to the JUJU DHAU
which is the Trademark of Bhaktapur for real. I mean FOR REAL!!
JUJU DHAU, ”the king of Yogurt”: rich taste and thick consistency.
We bought two small clay/earthen pots of Juju Dhau and the next thing was to decide on a spot from where we could enjoy the majestic view of the entire Taumadhi area accompanied by the super DELICIOUS Juju Dhau so we climbed up the stairs to Nyatapola.
Observing the Taumadhi square, those ancient structured buildings, the appealing souvenir shops, the hills surrounding the valley along with the sweet and rich taste of juju Dhau is absolutely lovely.
We took our time to look at the temple itself. known as ‘Tudal’ the fierce-looking side struts of the temple are a must-see. One couldn’t help but wonder how skilled the wood carvers must have been.
Every piece of wood has been carved with so much care and precision that it is worth all the appreciation. The giant stone statues of animals alongside the stairs are majestic as well. FYI, these structures date back to the 15th century. Amazing, isn’t it?
After observing the jaw-dropping view from the Nyatapola temple, the next thing that we came across was this cute little Cafe Harati in a traditional form.
I don’t know if it’s only my Hufflepuff heart that gets a little happier/excited about, seeing these little things. Well, I still am obsessed with this place while I am writing and going through the images.
We further headed towards the Western Gate of Bhaktapur Durbar Square to observe the National Art Museum, The 55 window Palace, The statue of King Bhupatindra Malla in the middle of Durbar Square, and many more…!!
Alleys and In-Betweens
It was such a pleasant experience to explore every corner and alley of this beautiful city. From the authentic local smell to the beautiful art and paintings showcased at every shop, the city simply amazes me every single time with its intricate beauty. It is so welcoming that your heart will be so whole. Full of beautiful memories.
Ps. A walk through the narrow alleys and temples is the perfect way to explore and discover every little corner of Bhaktapur.
The city mirrors the richness of Newari Art, Culture, Architecture, and overall history.
After observing the square our next destination was the National Art Museum. Located in the middle of Durbar Square, it is a sanctuary to all art and history buffs.
From stone inscriptions dating back a century to the powerful (well some scary too) paintings of Bhairava, the museum has kept the Nepalese history and Nepalese peoples’ penchant for art and architecture to be observed and admired by all.
A Living Museum of Newari Art, culture and Architecture
The oldest statue we saw there dated back to the 11th century. The paintings majorly reflect the usual mix of Hinduism and Buddhism which can be seen in general Nepalese culture and society as well.
Some rare wood carving pieces were kept to be observed as well among which wooden book covers, wooden safes, and Tudal were the most fascinating.
P.S. do not forget to take a peek from the small windows of the museum, it’s an absolute delight.
As we entered the museum, our eyes went to the Shiva Linga dated back to the 14th century A.D. likewise, the 17th Century image of Vishnu seated in Padmasana with four arms carrying his usual attributes as a conch, a wheel, a mace, and a lotus – bud. These were so majestic.
The museum definitely is home to manuscripts and paintings of the Malla and the Lichhavi era and the only gallery treasuring the sculptures.
The next thing that drew our attention was the windows and the view from there. It was spectacularly beautiful. Similarly, the mini window!! For a moment I just wondered how on earth these little things look so majestic.
The Sun rays passing through the little window and spreading the light inside the museum still bring me a different kind of happiness.
I guess you people already are excited to visit the place. Well, hold on. We still have a lot to share. It ain’t ending here. Before that, I have another mind-blowing thing to share that we came to know about.
The first painting is how it looks when you see it from its front side. The same painting, if you see it from its side view you could see Buddha.
It’s a total Masterpiece!! So next time whenever you visit the place don’t miss these things.
After exploring the museum we headed further toward the Golden Gate which leads to a Palace best known for its fifty – five magnificently carved windows.
Likewise, the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla in the middle of Durbar Square faces toward the Taleju Temple which portrays showing its respect towards the Taleju Temple.
The majestic Chyasalin Mandap
The Chyasalin Mandap which most people tend to confuse as Temple but actually is not a temple is another most spectacularly beautiful structure of the Malla era to admire. It’s a wooden pavilion.
Built-in the 17th century, the interesting story behind building the structure between the 55 window palace and the Bhaktapur Pashupatinath Temple was to avert the powerful energy coming from the temple directly to the Palace.
FYI. the Mandap was completely destroyed during the 1934 earthquake and was later rebuilt in the 1990s. It was built using metal frames so that it could survive further earthquakes.
After exploring Durbar Square our next plan was to go to Pottery Square. We were pretty excited about it as it was on our bucket list.
We went to the Pottery Training Center and trust me it’s pretty awesome to try making the pots with your own hands in a traditional method.
Making the clay pots definitely was my first experience though I have been to Bhaktapur several times. The feeling of earth on your hands is simply soul-cleansing and gives a sense of peace like nothing else.
Isn’t it ironic to mold the mud into a magnificent craft/vessel in a matter of minutes? Well, it definitely is. So next time when you visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square, do not forget to visit pottery square. You will be charged a certain fee if you make the pots. I would highly recommend trying it.
It was almost five in the evening and after trying the pots we were pretty hungry. We decided to try some local Newari cuisine.
It’s super Delicioussss!!!
We went to one of the local restaurants. Undoubtedly, our eyes went straight to the Yomari
on the Menu. It is a traditional Newari food. The external covering is rice flour with the filings of Chaku inside. It tastes so Delicious!!
Moreover, the Chicken Choila was Heavenly. The combination of different spices in the chicken along with its crunchiness on the outside. Likewise, softness and tenderness on the inside were a ten on ten.
Finally, we end our exploration day with a Kulfi. After the spices, treating ourselves with a kulfi was more like a cherry on top.
We can conclude that Bhaktapur is not only famous for its ancient structures, history, art, painting, architecture, and street souvenirs. But is also remarkable for its legitimate Newari cuisine.
Okay getting back to the first question I asked at the beginning of this blog. To be honest, there’s not really a particular reason. We wanted to experience how the city looks as the sun’s first ray falls on it early in the morning. Overall, it was one of the most beautiful days.
If you are interested to do a short trek between Kathmandu and Pokhara then you can definitely check out The Kathmandu Pokhara Trek