Having heard so many good things about Bhaktapur, I just knew I had to make it there one day, only had to fit it in my busy schedule somehow... 😉 But finally a wonderful opportunity came up to share this experience with my dear friend (that would be you Grant! 😊). We thought about taking a local bus there first, which could’ve been an interesting experience on its own, but since it was well over 30C degrees outside, we just decided to spoil ourselves a bit and took a driver instead – and what a treat it was, a sports car with airco! It just doesn’t happen in Nepal…
Once we got to Bhaktapur we were offered guide services straight away, the guy seemed very nice and his price was very good also, but having him walking with us for the next two hours just didn’t seem that appealing, especially that Grant was leaving the next day… So we just had to decline his offer and set off on our own to explore this ancient city. It just felt lovely walking down the narrow streets from the very beginning, so peaceful and quiet and almost no people around – quite
a difference to Kathmandu. Straight away we came across some kind of traditional ceremony – quite a few little girls all beautifully dressed up, with full make-up on actually as well, sitting with their mothers in a huge tent surrounded by quite a few people. There were lots of offerings set right in the middle of the tent as well. I saw something similar in Kathmandu Durbar Square on one of my first days in Nepal and remembered hearing something about some kind of ceremony preparing little girls for marriage… hmmm… well, it was time to check out what it was really all about! All clear now though and that’s what Wikipedia says about it: "Ihi
or Bel Marriage
:ईही) (Bel bibaha
) is a ceremony in the Newar
community in Nepal
in which pre-adolescent girls are 'married' to the bel
fruit (wood apple), which is a symbol of the god Vishnu
, ensuring that the girl becomes and remains fertile."
Once we walked a bit further we saw some people gathered around one of the temples. When we were getting closer, we noticed a few plates with offerings on the side of the temple and... a goat tied
to it! It definitely looked like there was going to be a sacrifice made there pretty soon. Seeing a guy sharpening his knife right next to us only confirmed our assumptions. Well there was a part of me that really wanted to see the sacrifice ritual but then a big part was just dreading to see this poor animal being killed right in front of my eyes, so we just decided to head further...
Later on we stopped to have something to drink and once we sat down on the pavement to enjoy our lemonades three little girls came to join us… So sweet! They posed for pictures for a while but beside that they just seemed to enjoy our company, just sat next to us looking at us with their big, brown eyes and smiling to us constantly. What a lovely day it was! Peace and quiet everywhere, beautiful surroundings, we came upon some fascinating traditions as well, friendly people all around and a gorgeous guy walking right next to me… Yep, don't you just love Bhaktapur? 😉
Walking around the back streets was enjoyable enough but still it was time to see some of the main
landmarks here as well. First we headed to Tachupal Tole square with Dattatreya Temple standing in the middle of it. It supposedly was built from one tree. You can see a Garuda statue right in front of it but what’s more - erotic scenes are carved on the temple as well… They surely liked to decorate the temples with this kind of artwork in the old days. 😉 Next to the temple there is a big building with its famous Peacock window and with Woodcarving Museum inside. You can certainly see that wood carving is quite popular in here as all around you can find beautifully carved items on sale. In a side street we found a paper factory so decided to pay a visit there. I even had a chance to make a greeting card on my own there (well with a small help of a lady working there actually 😉). It’s a part of the Peacock Shop. We had a chance to talk with ‘Mr.Peacock’ (the owner that is! 😉) himself as well. Really lovely place!
Then it was time to head to the main square – Durbar Square that is! Many temples and buildings worth having
a look – the palace of 55 windows, Golden Gate and many more! And once again you can spot some erotic scenes on one of the temples here… I find it a bit strange as the scenes are really provocative (well this actually is a huge understatement as I’ve seen some scenes with animals as well! Not sure if it was Bhaktapur or somewhere else though…), so there is not much left to imagination really… In the real life however it is quite scandalous to show any kind of affection out in the public here though – even holding hands is being looked at with disapproval… Anyway… Different country, different rules, so you just need to abide by them... or try at least… it sure can prove to be difficult when you have this lovely man walking right next to you! 😉
Next we walked to Taumadhi Tole square. You can find Nyatapola Temple there which apparently is the highest temple in the Kathmandu valley. There is a beautiful view from the top of it not only of the square but of the surrounding hills as well. Have to say that this was my favourite place in Bhaktapur -
not sure if it was a view that made it for me or maybe the company again? 😉
As nice as it was walking around Bhaktapur, the hours flew by so quickly that it was time to go back already – we didn’t want to keep our driver waiting any longer that was needed for sure… You could easily spend more time in this lovely place though… Maybe even stay overnight? Sure there must be plenty of guesthouses around. Really loved this place but then the company even more actually! Definitely one of these days that will stay in my memory for a veeeery long time… 😊
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