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Bhaktapur a city in Nepal known variously as City of Culture, Living Heritage, Nepal's Cultural Gem, An open museum and a City of Devotees. Bhaktapur is an ancient city and is renowned for its elegant art, fabulous culture, colorful festivals, traditional dances and indigenous lifestyle of the Newari community. It is just 12 kilometers east of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, but gives the feeling of prehistoric times given the ambiance of traditional homes, lifestyles and environment. The conch shaped historic city is spread over an area of just 6.88 square kilometer at 1,401 meter altitude. The city was founded in the 12th century by King Anand Dev Malla. Bhaktapur was the capital city of the Greater Malla Kingdom in the Kathmandu Valley till the 15th century AD. The many of Bhaktapur's greatest monuments were built by the Malla rulers of that earlier time. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Bhaktapur
The primary reason for visiting Bhaktapur is because its Durbar Square is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Khatmandu Valley. There are other very worthwhile things to see as well, so see details below.
- Bhaktapur Durbar Square was the seat of royalty before 1769 AD. The building now houses the National Art Gallery. It has a famous Golden Gate dating back to 1756 AD and is the entrance to the marvelous Taleju Temple Complex and number of artistic courtyards including the Royal Bath pond. The Big Bell in the square was erected by Ranajit Malla (1722–1769), last Malla king of Bhaktapur and was used for paying homage to Goddess Taleju and for assemblies of general public.
- Taumadhi Square's Nyataponla Temple dates back to 1702 AD. The colossal five-storied edifice is the country's tallest pagoda temple. The struts, doors, windows and tympanums, each embellished with attractively carved divine figures, perfectly portray the creative tradition of Newar craftsmen. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Siddhi Laxmi, the manifestation of female force and creativity. Next to the Nyataponla Temple is the rectangular shaped Bhairavnath Temple. It houses a gilded bust of Bhairav, the ferocious manifestation of Lord Shiva. The three-storied pagoda was razed to the grounds by the 1934 earthquake, and its latest renovation was undertaken by the Bhaktapur Municipality in 1995 AD.
- Dattatreya Square has the Dattatreya Temple is the main attraction of the Square. Constructed by King Yaksha Malla, the giant three-storied temple is believed to have been built with the stem of a single tree. Having defied a series of calamities, it still bears testimony to the incredible achievement made in those regal days of Nepalese history.
- Pottery Square
- The Peacock Window, one of Nepal's signature sights
- Hanumanghat: a collection of lingams (including Nepal's largest) and riverside cremation ghats.
- Changu Narayan, Changu (4 Km to the north of Bhaktapur and 22 Km east of Kathmandu.), ☎ 6614788. the oldest temple in the Kathmandu Valley. Listed in the World Cultural Heritage List, it is also a scenic spot situated at an altitude of about 1700m. The most authentic inscription located in the precinct of Changu Narayan is dated 464 AD and is accredited to the Lichhavi King Mandeva. Changu Narayan Temple, located high in the hill just to the north of Bhaktapur, is the oldest existing pagoda temples in Nepal . The temple was dedicated to Lord Vishnu by the Lichhavi King in the Fifth Century. It is said to be the oldest temple in the Valley. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
- Surya Vinayak is situated at the walking distance of about 2km to the south of the city and is the holy shrine of god Ganesh (God of well beginning and successful completion of work). The temple of Ganesh is placed in such as so as to catch the first rays of the rising sun. It is a good picnic spot flanked by many attractive landscapes.
Bhaktapur has more temples per square foot than Patan or Kathmandu and is far enough out of town to keep the crowds away. As a World Heritage site listed by the UNESCO, Bhaktapur has been heavily restored since a 1934 earthquake severely damaged the city. To further restoration and preservation there is an entrance fee for visitors. In December 2011 this was either NPR1100 or USD11 for foreigners. If you plan to visit for several days, you can ask the counter to add a note to permit access to the city with the same ticket (at most one week). Visitors from SAARC member countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and China pay NPR100.
Don't leave Bhaktapur without trying some of their famous yogurt with local honey—Juju-dhau, literally the "King of all yogurt."
Tourist restaurants can be found in almost every building surrounding Durbar Square.
Small local restaurants can be found on the main road into town, but they will probably only serve Dhal Bhat Takari (lentils, rice, and mild vegetable curry) or Newari food (Samay Baji - flattened rice, marinated meat (usually buffalo, often odd organs), lentils, pickled vegetables, potatoes, bamboo shoot curry, and more), tea, and momos.
- Bara-wa (An alley behind the five story temple in Taumin Square, in front of Black Olive restaurant).
- a local Newari joint (exiting Taumani square northeast, along the main road, in an alley to the right, after the camera shop, on the right side with curtains covering all openings).
- Cafe Beyond, Itachhen-15, Bhaktapur (Just outside of Durbar Square walk for 3 minutes after the front gate. Walk along the main street for 1 block, you can find it on your right hand side.). 0700 to 2000. Mainly Korean cuisine; most vegetables grown in the local garden Mains NPR250.
- Red Chilli Restaurant.
- Shiva's Cafe Corner, Durbar Square, Bhaktapur, ☎ 6610740. 7:30-21:00. Italian Coffee LAVAZA. Cappchino, Expresso, Americano, and some Cold Coffee. Also serves Nepali Dal Bhat, Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Indian and Continental cuisine. $2-6$.
- Black Olive (Near the Nyatapola Temple). Rooftop beer garden; serves food as well
Bhaktapur is a significant pottery centre. You will see it everywhere, drying in the sun, displayed on tables and shelves in front of shops and homes alike. The town is equally famous for artistic masks made up of black clay with colorful paintings on it. The masks portray various gods and deities and carry special significance in festivals.
Thanka, a traditional type of painting, is also created in the town. Metalwork and jewelry can also be found, but there's more selection on Patan's backstreets.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Bhaktapur on Wikivoyage.