Bhaktapur Walking Tour: Following The Red Brick Road In Nepal’s Cultural City

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.

Cute spaniel in Bhaktapur Square

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.

Another cute dog asleep in Bhaktapur Square

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.

Following the red brick road on our walking tour of Bhaktapur

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.

Village elders gather to chat in the lanes

Most of Bhaktapur’s 100,000 citizens are peasants, with businessmen, handicraft producers and public employees making up the rest of the population.

A lady prepares savoury snacks in a lane in Bhaktapur

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.

Pottery and Tibetan Tangka paintings in Bhaktapur

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.

Goat perched on a temple ledge

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.

Ornately carved doors embellish even the simplest of homes

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.

These latticed carved wood windows were a beautiful sight

During the earthquake of 2015, this ancient city sustained severe damage. Many buildings collapsed and many people lost their lives.

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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.

People whose homes were destroyed in the earthquake still live in these shanties

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.

Women line up to fill water from a tanker

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.

These ageless beauties of Bhaktapur were happy to pose for me

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.

The best carvings and works of art were around the temples

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.

A statue of Garuda and a charred lamp near the temples

Nepal: Get Your Guide

Also read:

Bhaktapur, Nepal’s cultural city, is a collection of exposed brick houses linked to each other by a network of red brick roadsA Bhaktapur walking tour

18 thoughts on “Bhaktapur Walking Tour: Following The Red Brick Road In Nepal’s Cultural City”

  1. 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!

  2. This looks like a fascinating tour. It would be hard for me to resist the dogs, too. Sad to hear about the devastating earthquake.

  3. 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.

    xoxo Milijana

  4. 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 😀

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

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