Bhaktapur, known locally as Khwopa, is globally known for its elegant art, fabulous culture, and indigenous lifestyle. For its majestic monuments, colorful festivals, and native Newars, best known for their craft for generations. The ancient city is also known as the “City of Culture”, the “Living Heritage” and the “Cultural Capital of Nepal”.
Bhaktapur, at 1,401 m above sea level, extends over an area of 6.88 km2. It grows from a collection of villages along the ancient trade route between India and Tibet. The capital city of the Great Kingdom of Malla until the 15th century AD, Bhaktapur got into shape in the early 18th century. Bhaktapur has its jewel in Durbar Square, a UNESCO listed World Heritage site. Home to Malla’s royalty until the fall of Bhaktapur in 1796 AD, the palatial enclave is wonderfully strewn with unique palaces, temples, and monasteries best admired for their exquisite wood, metal, and stonework. With its wonderful design that houses many “one of a kind”, it has accompanied pilgrims and travelers for centuries.
Among the masterpieces, the one that presides over the square is the imposing golden statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, the most illustrious King of Malla in the history of Bhaktpur. In front of him is the highly acclaimed Golden Gate. Dating back to 1758 AD, it is the creation of King Ranjit Malla, the last Malla ruler of Bhaktapur and the son of King Bhupatindra. The gate, the unique specimen of the art of rest, serves as the entrance to the Taleju complex, which houses, among others, the Golden Gaucet and numerous other courtyards, each of which stands out for its wonderful works of medieval art.
The famous Palace of 55 windows rubs shoulders with the Golden Gate. Restored after the devastating earthquake of 1934, the palatial structure is where the then Malla monarchs ruled. It now houses the National Art Gallery, which has a rich collection of Paubhas, parchment and bronze paintings. brass, stone, and wood images of various Hindus and Buddhist deities.
Bhaktapur is also known for its tradition-loving inhabitants. So while you are in this city, locals may observe one or more of their festivals from previous generations. Or you can find a musical band that tours the municipality playing their traditional musical instruments. Some of them may invite you to join the company. As you stroll the cobbled streets of Bhaktaur, wherever you go, you will find yourself in the fog of the local Newars for whom hospitality is a way of life.
With lots of historical monuments and friendly men everywhere, you will experience the same feeling as many before. After all, the atmosphere here is such that it instantly takes you back for centuries the moment you enter the glorious city, that is Bhaktapur.