Dec 9, 2014

NEPAL : Caught In A Time Warp At BHAKTAPUR

Still bewildered by the turn of events while traversing a dusty road on the way to Bhaktapur. Suspended in thoughts that perhaps getting trapped in a time warp isn't science fiction after all, I glanced at my watch for some reality check - 6:44PM? This early? For a moment, it skipped me that Nepal is in a different time zone. I looked for my phone and it showed 4:29PM Kathmandu. Suddenly, a loud thud totally snapped me back to my senses. Our driver alighted from the vehicle and announced "1500 Nepalese rupees each to enter Bhaktapur". He asked for our passports and our payments  and headed to the right side of the road to process our entrance passes. Hmmm, that's quite steep for an entrance fee, I thought. I heard my companions murmured the same concern. Just hoping all the proceeds from this tourism efforts are fully utilized for the preservation and restoration of this living heritage. 
Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Valley
1500 Nepalese Rupees for Non SAARC members and 500 NRs for SAARC and Chinese (Entrance fees to Bhaktapur)
Receiving our passes after a few minutes, our driver skillfully navigated the narrow and busy cobblestone streets of Bhaktapur leading to our guesthouse near Taumadhi Square. 

Bhaktapur, Nepal
Scenes while traversing along the narrow cobblestone streets of Bhaktapur
He dropped us off to the nearest possible spot where we had to walk a few meters more along a narrow alleyway passing by residential houses and busy locals tending to their poultry, or their day's produce, until we reached our accommodation for our first night in Nepal - the Heart of Bhaktapur Guesthouse. 
Heart of Bhaktapur Guesthouse
The vibe around this area reminds me of a marketplace scene from my fave TV series, Homeland, well, minus the element of suspense and danger.
As soon as we're settled, we headed out the door and explored this cultural gem, Bhaktapur. It is one of the 3 Royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley, tagged as the cultural capital of Nepal and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its best preserved palace courtyards, rich culture and impressive metal and wood artworks.
Nyatapola Temple at Taumadhi Square
Nyatapola Temple, one of the tallest pagoda style temple and a best example of engineering and architecture of multi roofed and square temples
Taumadhi Square, Bhaktapur
A view Taumadhi Square taken from Nyatapola Temple and the Bhairabnath Temple on the left
Overwhelmed by such exotic happenings flashing right before my eyes since we entered Bhaktapur - ancient architecture, impressive Newari arts and crafts, regular folks in their traditional garb, beautiful painted faces and Nepali kids who kept tugging on my shirt, armed with a tale to tell and a request to make, I just kept my GOPRO rolling while mounted on the strap of my sling bag hoping to catch all the scenes that were simultaneously occurring while glued to the viewfinder attending to friends' request for some portrait shots to capture those charmed moments.

Bhaktapur, Nepal
Nepali kids agreeing to pose for my cam

When night time falls, the scent of burning incense lingered in the cold air and the glow of flickering candle lights illuminated our way. 
Taumadhi Square at Night, Bhaktapur

We checked the rooftop Cafe of Sunny Guesthouse just within the vicinity of Taumadhi Square and ordered the traditional Nepalese meal, Dal Bhat (which is by the way very similar to Pinoy's favorite Friday dish called Ginisang Monggo) with Chicken curry and pairing it with Chai Masala Tea to keep the chills at bay while enjoying a night view of Bhaktapur before finally calling it a night. 
Dal (Lentils) Bhat (Steamed Rice)
Sleeping through the night was effortless and waking up to the sounds of roosters crow and religious chants reverberating through the air signaled the start of a new day. While still dark outside and room mates still zzzzing, I grabbed my jacket and trooped into the hotel's rooftop terrace as soon as I realized the sun will rise anytime soon. I always look forward to witnessing the sunrise whenever I'm in a new place. Although sometimes it will hide behind the clouds, as is the case, still I knew it's there. Thank you for the new day Bhaktapur! I'm totally delighted to have met you!
A new day in Bhaktapur, Nepal
At the rooftop terrace of Heart of Bhaktapur Guesthouse

Still more of my Bhaktapur accounts on the next post.

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  1. Never been to Nepal. Such a nice account from someone who already visited the place. I love ginisang monggo, so I'll surely like Dal Bhat:)

    Greetings from Kalikotpepot

    1. Thanks Jeni! Their food is healthy and mostly organic. Nepal while strange in many ways, still feels familiar just like home ;)

  2. If you missed Pashupatinath, I missed Bhaktapur. You're right, the entrance fee was steep. I was on a tight budget, so I passed. Too bad because I wanted to see the place where Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon was shot. :)

    Cute kids in the photo! Funny pose by the 2nd from left. I also do that, haha! And nice shot of the square. The ones in KTM and Patan didn't have a mountain backdrop like that.


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