An adorable spaniel sat at the entrance of a shop, gazing out solemnly at the people milling about in Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square. It looked very different from the other dogs who made their home here.
Being a dog lover, I would have loved to stop and click photos of every pooch in Nepal. Had I done that, I would have got left far behind by my group, a bunch of travel experts and content creators attending the Himalayan Travel Mart 2018 in Kathmandu.
We were on a FAM tour that included Bhaktapur – Nepal’s cultural city – a collection of exposed brick houses linked to each other by a network of red brick roads that were surprisingly clean, if not always evenly laid.
Bhaktapur’s history goes back to the early 8th century when it was the capital of Nepal till the 12th to 15th centuries. Until the early 18th century, the city was almost like a country unto itself, surrounded by boundary walls and city gates.
Most of Bhaktapur’s 100,000 citizens are peasants, with businessmen, handicraft producers and public employees making up the rest of the population.
The city is well known for certain products like it’s Juju Dhau (yoghurt), Bhadgaule Topi (Black Cap), Haku Patasi (black saree with a red border), pottery and handicrafts. You can even find Tibetan Thangka art studios here.
Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square is a World Heritage site, and it was well worth the trip on our walking tour of this ‘Living Museum’ of Newari culture.
As I strolled through the narrow red-brick lanes lined by red-brick houses, with doors and windows framed by intricate and ornate wood carvings, I felt like I was stepping into a land that Time had forgotten.
Our guide, Mr Badri, told me that the Government offers subsidies to those who build homes in the traditional style. It’s a good way of keeping these ancient cultural traditions alive, especially for tourists like me, who were seeing it all for the first time.
During the earthquake of 2015, this ancient city sustained severe damage. Many buildings collapsed and many people lost their lives.
Unfortunately, some people have not managed to rebuild their homes and still live in shanties, while basic services, like a regular water supply, are also lacking.
We saw a number of women lined up behind a water tanker brought in to supply water. It was quite a depressing sight and a sharp reminder for us visitors of the extent of the devastation.
Despite these hardships, the people of Bhaktapur seem a contented lot. Besides the craftsmanship and the adorable animals, watching and photographing the people of the city became my next favourite thing to do.
We spent some time in the main Durbar square, checking out the exceptionally intricate carvings, metalwork and terracotta work on the temples and houses of worship.
After our tour of Bhaktapur, we returned to Kathmandu to visit the Patan Durbar Square. I will cover that in the next post, so do subscribe for updates.
- Kathmandu Temple Tour: Doorways To Nepal’s Art And Culture
- Nepal Adventure Tour Packages: 9 Things To Do Near Kathmandu
- Patan Durbar Square: An Enthralling Glimpse Of Nepal’s City Of Fine Arts
- Shining A Light On Chef Massimo Bottura - October 13, 2020
- 4 Beautiful Beach Hotels To Visit In Greece - August 7, 2019
- Top 10 Places To Visit In Mahabaleshwar With Your Family - May 15, 2019
18 thoughts on “Bhaktapur Walking Tour: Following The Red Brick Road In Nepal’s Cultural City”
I totally know what you mean as far as pooches in Nepal Priya. So many doggies all over; you would miss the tour if you stopped to snap em all and cuddle LOL…..but I was in the same boat. Especially in temple areas of Kathmandu. Love ’em. We did not see much outside of the capital but it charmed us enough. Excellent post!
Thanks, Ryan. I’m such a dog person, I can’t help patting and photographing them everywhere I go. 🙂
I was in Nepal back in April and I could have photographed all the dogs too! I loved all the ornately carved doors and details on the buildings.
The woodcarvings are really mind-blowingly beautiful. They were the favourite part of my trip.
This looks like a fascinating tour. It would be hard for me to resist the dogs, too. Sad to hear about the devastating earthquake.
The earthquake happened in 2015, but the people of Nepal haven’t recovered completely from it. Lots of rebuilding going on.
This is one of the rare posts about Bhaktapur to find on the web.
Whenever I read about Nepal, only Kathmandu and Annapurna Circuit are covered but never Bhaktapur.
Thanks for spreading the word about Bhaktapur, Priya.
Thanks, Milijana. It found it a fascinating place.
Nepal looks amazing through your eyes dear! Great tips, I hope I will go there one day since I’m on a mission to travel this beautiful world 😀
Thanks, Nives. I really hope you do. It’s worth a visit.
Nepal sounds amazing. I like the fact that the people are so humble despite there being a lot of poverty. Just goes to show sometimes money doesn’t being happiness. The women work so hard there and it is so inspiring. I have heard there are some charities for the pooches.. a bit like some parts of India.
Yes, I saw some posters of charitable rescue organisations when I was at the Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu, and these pooches looked like they were well looked after.
Lovely place. I don’t know nearly enough about Nepal but really wanna go. As I see, it holds so much authenticity, exactly the things I love to photograph.
Yes, Alexander, the people are so warm and wonderful. It was the best part of Nepal for me.
I’m considering heading to Nepal on the current trip I’ve on so this post really gave me some insight into the capital. What a beautiful place with some cute pups!
Yes, I just love the pups! 🙂 Enjoy your trip, Kristen. Do spend at least a week or two in Nepal. You can’t do it justice with less time. I plan to go back with my family.
I really want to travel and explore Nepal at some post, I’t’s always been a place that intrigues me and from your post that’s just added to it for me. Bhaktapur looks like a place I could really immerse myself in, and have the chance to get to know the locals too.
Bhaktapur is very interesting, but Patan Durbar Square was even better in some ways. My next post will be on our visit to that place.