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Bhaktapur: A living museum

An ancient city in the east corner of Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is just a half hour drive from the Capital. Some might think of the place as just another Nepali city with royal courtyards, but Bhaktapur is more than just that.

Bhaktapur is one of the richest cities when it comes to art, culture and architecture. Listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the entire city is like a museum, where in one corner you can find architectural marvels, and in another corner, you can find handmade clay pots and feel like you have taken a step back in time.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square

One of a kind: 55-Window Palace

The 55-Window Palace is most certainly what attracts everyone to Bhaktapur, and understandably, is a masterpiece of the medieval period architecture. Built during the reign of King Bhupatindra Malla (between 1696 to 1722) whose monolith stands proud just opposite the palace. With each window carved with intricate woodwork, if you consider yourself to be an architecture nerd, you will certainly have a lot to fall in love with.

Built during the reign of King Bhupatindra Malla (between 1696 to 1722) whose monolith stands proud just opposite the palace

An entrance worthy of the royals: The Golden Gate

The 55-Window Palace isn’t just the only attraction in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The main gate that leads to the entrance of the palace is a marvel on its own. Known as the Golden Gate, just as the name implies, the entrance gate is plated with gold, and showcases stunning metal work. Adorned with ultimate craftsmanship, the majestic Golden Gate welcomes you to take a sneak peek into the palace and the several courtyards inside.

Pottery in Bhaktapur

A step back in time: Pottery Square

If you think that our fast-paced life is taking a toll on us, you might want to indulge in some therapeutic pottery sessions in Bhaktapur. There is an entire square that is famous for pottery, and you cannot help but feel like you have been transported back in time, where everything was made by hand and things didn’t come with a ‘Made in China’ label. Exploring the pottery square, you will definitely find yourself in awe of how clay is moulded into beautiful pots.

There is an entire square that is famous for pottery, and you cannot help but feel like you have been transported back in time

Siddi Pokhari, Bhaktapur

For a perfect breezy evening: Siddha Pokhari

One of the first things you notice upon reaching Bhaktapur is the big white walls on your left, which will make you wonder about the world on the other side of the wall. Guarded on all four sides, the walls hold the famous Siddha Pokhari, or as the locals call it, Ta Pukhu. A massive pond that is a perfect spot to get some quiet time, Ta Pakhu holds a lot of myths and stories and is of great importance to the Newars residing in Bhaktapur.

The royal dessert

Juju dhau – yoghurts of the Kings, is as magnificent as it name implies. Celebrations and major feasts are incomplete without this sweet custard-like yoghurt, and it is a refreshing treat to cool down yourselves during the scorching heat of summer. Traditionally, fresh buffalo milk is used for the preparation of Juju Dhau where the milk is boiled, sweetened and mixed with culture, then poured into clay pots. The pots are then placed on a bed of paddy husks and wrapped in several thick cotton cloths. The excess liquid slowly evaporated, which makes the yoghurt so rich and creamy. Yoghurt being considered as one of the five nectars of God, the Panchamrit, it is indeed, a taste and texture that is heavenly.

Smriti Bajracharya

smritii.bajra@gmail.com

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