Major attractions of Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur is home to ancient temples, architectural durbars, and fantastic art. Pagoda and Shikhar style temples, traditional Buddhist monasteries, Pati Pauwa are almost everywhere in this city. These all are the living heritage of the city.
The major attractions of Bhaktapur are the Lion Gate, Golden Gate, 55 windows palace, Nyatapola Temple, Dattatreya Temple, and many more. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This grandeur city still has a backdrop of rural society. Many local people are still involved in farming. The local streets of Bhaktapur are full of fresh crops, people are drying crops outside their windows which gives you the vibe of a rural village.
Bhaktapur was the capital of Malla Kingdom between the 12th to 15th centuries. The architectural richness of temples, buildings, and streets show that it was an important and wealthy city. The majority of people here are Newar and they follow Hinduism and Buddhism. The Newari culture has a unique element that you will observe through their multi-roof Pagoda styles, central squares, and Newari window.
Bhaktapur city center, the heart of Bhaktapur is car-free. You should walk and explore the city. The whole city itself is the living museum, you see art in every corner. If you want to explore and understand the ancient art, culture, and heritage Bhaktapur tour is best for you.
Bhaktapur is rich in art, culture, tradition, festivals and many more. It has hundreds of examples of ancient Newari architecture. The entire city of Bhaktapur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is because of its richness in culture, craftsmanship, and culture. This city has preserved its courtyard and old city center till now.
As you wander around the streets of Bhaktapur you will see buildings with complex patterns and classic red brick exterior. One of the best examples of architecture in Bhaktapur is the Nyatapola temple. This 5 storeyed temple adds beauty to the durbar square. You climb up the temple through long wide steps, from here you can view Taumadhi square and its surroundings.
Bhaktapur is the right place if you want to try some of Nepal’s traditional cuisine. The majority of people here are Newar so you will try varieties of Newari foods too. Bhaktapur is also famous for Juju Dhau. It is a traditional sweet curd, a specialty of Bhaktapur.
Juju Dhau is a trademark of Bhaktapur. People from all over Kathmandu valley come to Bhaktapur for Juju Dhau. They use a traditional method to prepare curd and they will serve Juju Dhau in handmade ceramic bowls.
Bara is a tasty high protein snack that you must try while wandering around Bhaktapur. It comes with different varieties plain or with buffalo meat or egg. You can also get minced chicken meat or veg as an option.
Samay Baji is another authentic Newari dish, which consists of beaten rice, bara, barbecued and marinated buffalo meat, egg, potato, and many more. It is a starter in every festival and pujas.
Other varieties of snacks are also available here. Typical Newari Khaja set includes black-eyed peas, peanuts, chicken or buffalo Choyela, pickle, potato, egg, etc. You cannot resist yourself from these mouth-watering snacks.
Check the calendar of festivals before visiting Bhaktapur. Kathmandu valley itself has various festivals, it is often said that every month has some festivals. This Newari city is rich in culture and knows how to celebrate festivals.
Bisket Jatra is most famous among all festivals, it falls around April so if you want to be the part of Bisket Jatra be here in April. They take a chariot carrying idols of God/Goddesses to different parts of Bhaktapur. After Dashain, Bisket Jatra is the largest festival in Bhaktapur.
This is the central square of Bhaktapur which is famous for its 55 window palace. It is a major tourist attraction because this area is full of temples, courtyards, palaces, statues and monuments of different eras.
Major temples and monuments inside this durbar square are Golden Gate, 55 window palace, Dog barking Bell, Siddhi Laxmi temple, Taleju Bhawani temple, National art gallery, a statue of King Bhupendra Malla, etc.
Just outside the 55 window palace and at the entrance of Taleju Bhawani temple there is a Golden Gate. Two huge statues of Lions on either side have been guarding the massive Golden Gate since 1696 AD. Fearful image of Ugrachandi and the dreadful stone image of Lord Shiva attracts tourists from a distance.
The magnificent 55 window palace is standing here from the Malla regime itself. The exterior of red bricks with a gracious setting and sculptural design adds another brick to the beauty of the durbar square. The balcony of this 55 window palace is a unique masterpiece of woodcarving.
Taleju Bhawani was the mother Goddesses of Malla Kings, she was also a mother of Lord Indra. Indra is the god of the rain and rain is the reason for all the prosperity in this area. All three kingdoms of Kathmandu valley have the idols of Taleju Bhawani since the King of Kathmandu valley divided his kingdom among his sons.
Nyatapola temple is the main attraction of the Taumadhi square. This impressive five-storeyed Laxmi temple is one of the most famous temples in Nepal. Built-in 1702, this is the tallest pagoda temple in Nepal. The door, windows, stairs have some designs and carvings of the divine picture. The stairs have stone idols of elephants, lions, griffons on both sides.
Bhairavnath temple is another temple in Taumadhi square. The devastating earthquake destroyed this beautiful temple many times but is now rebuilt to its original form. This temple houses the gilded bust of the magnificent Bhairav, people believe it to be the manifestation of Lord Shiva or a deity that guards his home.
Pottery square is not as magnificent as other squares but it has its distinct charm. It is the center of the city’s pottery industry. The scenery of pots drying around the street is worth seeing.
This square consists of temples, museums, and Bhaktapur’s Hindu monastery. The three-storeyed Dattatreya temple is the center of attraction of this square. During Dashain in the Wane Layaku complex, representatives of this complex show a rare Ghau-batacha (Water clock) in the southwest of the Dattatreya temple.
Changu Narayan temple
There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu valley and Changu Narayan is one of them. This temple lies on the hilltop which is 5 km north of Bhaktapur. 1540m above the sea level, this temple belongs to the incarnation of Vishnu as Narayan. Changu Narayan is the oldest temple of Nepal, it was here before 5th century AD. If you are a history enthusiast, visit the museum where ancient artifacts, sculptures, are being preserved.
Major attractions of Nagarkot
Nagarkot is a famous hill station from where you can enjoy the majestic view of the different Himalayas including Mount Everest. It is the best place to relax, breathe in the fresh air and see the magnificent view of Kathmandu valley.
You will reach Nagarkot traveling through the thick pine forest which is 32 km east to Kathmandu. It does not offer many activities but does provide scenic beauty and relaxation. Tourists usually spend more than one night here at Nagarkot. 1 day Nagarkot Bhaktapur tour ends here at Nagarkot. Nepal recreation can make some arrangements if you like to extend your tour.
Don’t expect to do lots of activities in Nagarkot. It is a place to escape yourself from day to day hustle and relax breathing in the fresh air. Far from the crowded city, the lack of things to do in Nagarkot attracts most of the tourists.
Most of the hotel offers you a panoramic view of the Himalayas. On a clear day, you will see the range of the Himalayas in front of you. Nagarkot is a great place to have a coffee, read books and chill around.
You can hike from Bhaktapur to Nagarkot, it would be your most memorable journey here in Nepal. This hike can take 3 to 5 hours depending on your route. You can reach Nagarkot via Changu Narayan or Shanku. Both routes offer you green vegetation and a view of the Himalayan range.
You can also hike up to Nagarkot tower from where you can see beautiful scenes of sunrise and sunset. This view tower is famous among local and foreign tourists. If you want to see the magnificent view of the sunrise then better get up early.
Another option is Nagarkot panoramic hiking trail, it is a refreshing trek towards the surroundings of Nagarkot. The 14 km long trail goes through pine forests, uphills, downhills, and few settlements with the view of great Himalayan ranges.
The steep and adventurous road from Bhaktapur to Nagarkot is good for a bike ride. In the peak season, you can even rent the bike to Nagarkot. Imagine you are traveling towards Nagarkot by bike with your friends, isn’t it amazing? There is a route called ‘loop’ which is famous among the mountain bikers in this area.
Paragliding in Nagarkot
Paragliding in Nagarkot has been here for some time but not many people do it. If you have seen paragliding in Pokhara then this part of Nagarkot feels empty. It is better to book early if you want to fly like birds above Nagarkot hills.
Be around fire
If you don’t feel like hiking then you can set a fire and be around it. Every hotel provides you this facility and it can be your favorite experience in this 1 day Nagarkot Bhaktapur tour. Have some drinks, be warm, and chat with local people.