10 Places in Bhaktapur That Every Tourist Must Visit (2023)
Located in the majestic Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, Bhaktapur is one of Asia’s most-visited tourist destinations. This site is as ancient as Kathmandu and Patan. Locally, this city is referred to as Khwopa and Bhadgaon. As Bhaktapur is situated only 12 km from Kathmandu, many people explore it in a day. The abundance of temples and monasteries in Bhaktapur offered it the accolade of “the city of devotees” globally. Throughout this area, you will notice massive structures that are significant to the Hindu and Buddhist community. The mesmerizingly beautiful architectural integrity of these buildings makes them popular with both spiritual and non-religious people.
The entire city is listed under UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its vibrant history. During the 12th century, this colorful city was the capital of Nepal. King Anand Dev Malla was the founder and ruler of this city. If you are a history and archaeology enthusiast, Bhaktapur will be a paradise for you. You will be surprised to know that it is one of the few regions in the world where there are so many temples per square meter. Tourists have expressed that Bhaktapur is like an open museum. When you visit there, you will understand why the said tourists felt that.
To preserve the culture and heritage of Bhaktapur, the Government of Nepal has banned every kind of motorized vehicle on the premises of the city. In this town, only motorbikes are allowed. Reaching Bhaktapur is pretty straightforward. As it is close to Kathmandu, you will not have any problem accessing local buses and taxis. Remember there is an entrance fee to enter this citadel-like city. You will have to pay INR 300 approximately if you belong to a SAARC nation. Otherwise, you will have to pay INR 1000 approximately if you are coming from any other country. This blog will provide you with all the essential information regarding the best places to see in Bhaktapur in detail.
10 Places in Bhaktapur That Every Tourist Must Visit
The places included in the following list are all critical to the history and culture of Nepal. These are immensely popular among tourists and visited throughout the year.
1. 55 Windows Palace
Commissioned by King Jitamitra Malla, the 55 Windows Palace is one of the most spectacular sites in Bhaktapur and Nepal. Originally dedicated to the 55 wives of the King, this palace was built in the 18th century. Even though you will not enter the palace, the view of this magnificent building from the outside is mind-blowing. The wooden architecture of this palace makes it quite different from most historical sites in the world.
The Golden Gate of the palace, commonly known as Sun Dhoka, is as beautiful as the structure. It is quite extravagant and one of the most notable sites in Nepal. There is a pool quite close to 55 Windows Palace, known as Naga Pokari. This pool is picturesque, and tourists love to spend some time there. As this palace is located pretty close to the Bhaktapur bus station, you will have no problem reaching there on foot.
Address: Durbar Square, Bhaktapur, Nepal.
Entry Timing: 10 am to 4 pm.
2. Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square is one of Nepal’s most beautiful and majestic sites. Locals know this region as Khwopa (the ancient city of Newa). The Newari architecture of this site makes it quite exquisite and picturesque. If you visit Bhaktapur, do not forget to click a lot of pictures in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Despite facing two devastating earthquakes in 1934 and 2015, its beauty has remained intact. You might notice some superficial damages, but the essence of this Square has not been lost.
Apart from Durbar Square, this area also has three other squares: Dattatreya Square, Taumadhi Square, and Pottery Square. Most of the structures of this area were constructed in the 17th century. The entire complex belonged to the Bhaktapur Royal Family. By visiting Bhaktapur Durbar Square, you will get a glimpse into the ancient Royal days of Nepal.
Address: Durbar square, Bhaktapur 44800, Nepal.
3. Changu Narayan
Immensely famous for being the oldest temple of Nepal, Changu Narayan is another must-see site in Bhaktapur. Like other structures of Bhaktapur, this ancient temple is also inspired by Newari architecture. Pictures of the Changu Narayan temple on the internet do not do justice to its true beauty. The two-story brick-red structure of this temple offers it a spectacular look. As this structure is located on top of the beautiful Changu hill in Bhaktapur, it is named after the hill. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple is quite sacred to the Hindu community’s people in the world. Despite being constructed in 325 AD, it is relatively well-maintained.
While exploring the Changu Narayan temple, you will notice that Lord Vishnu’s avatars are present inside its premises. There are different myths associated with this temple’s inception, but its most notable things include its gates and its exteriors. Even if you are not a devout Hindu, you will love exploring the Changu Narayan temple due to its beauty and history.
Address: Changunarayan 44600, Nepal.
Entry Timings: 8 am to 6 pm.
Once known as Madhyapur, Thimi is one of the most authentic and beautiful towns in Nepal. As this area is located only 6 km from Bhaktapur, most tourists prefer exploring it while visiting Bhaktapur. With a population of 84000 people, the density of this city is relatively high. If you want to shop for some authentic Nepali souvenirs, including masks and pottery, then visit Thimi. You will notice shops and stalls selling Newari architecture-inspired masks, potteries, and other handicraft items throughout this historic region.
“Madhyapur” in English translates to the “Middle City.” In this town’s case, the name has tremendous significance as Thimi is located right between Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur. Apart from Newari masks, Thimi is also a significant producer of papier-mache masks in Nepal. Do not forget to ask the shopkeepers regarding these items while having a great time at Thimi.
Address: Bagmati Province, Nepal.
5. Taumadhi Square
Taumadhi Square is another important site in Bhaktapur that is often known as Taumadi Tole. Throughout this Square, you will notice gorgeous structures with breathtakingly beautiful architecture and spectacular carvings. This site is called “Taumadhi Tole,” or “Pottery Square” because it is one of Nepal’s largest producers of hand-crafted potteries. Throughout this site, you will see several shops that sell authentic Newari items and artifacts.
This Square is pretty popular among tourists as it is home to the beautiful Nyatapola Temple and Til Madhav Narayan Temple. In January, this site gets even more attention. The decoration of Taumadhi Square on New Year’s-eve every year makes it even more picturesque. All the idols of the temples are brought outside their premises in chariots. If you visit this site at the beginning of the year, you will experience Bisket Yatra.
Address: Bhaktapur, Nepal.
6. Siddha Pokhari
Located right at the front of Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Siddha Pokhari is one of the most beautiful sites in Bhaktapur. Built-in the 15th century, this pond was initially named, Ta-Pukhu. The scenic view surrounding Siddha Pokhari makes it even more alluring to tourists. The majestic snow-capped mountains surround it. King Yaksha Malla commissioned this pond. If you ever visit Bhaktapur and explore Siddha Pokhari, you will notice that large crowds always surround it. For both tourists and locals, this pond is quite popular.
Apart from its beauty, Siddha Pokhari is quite sacred to people of a different religion. Every year Hindu devotees throughout the world visit there to bathe in its holy water during the day of Ashwin Krishna Dwitiya. A massive fair is conducted in this day that is locally known as Indra Daha. If you attend Bhaktapur during the said time, you will see the decorated form of this pond.
Address: Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Nepal.
7. Nyatapola Temple
Immensely famous for being the tallest temple in Nepal, the Nyatapola temple is one of the most notable sites in Bhaktapur. Located inside the premises of Taumadhi Square, this site is dedicated to Goddess Siddhi Lakshmi. Commissioned by King Bhupatindra Malla in the 17th century, this structure is exceptionally well-designed. The pagoda-style architecture of this temple makes it quite different from most Hindu temples across the globe. With five stories, the Nyatapola temple is visible from quite a far distance.
Inside this temple, you will see the inner sanctum of Goddess Siddhi Lakshmi or Goddess Parvati. Hindu devotees have great faith in the Goddess. Moreover, despite facing two significant earthquakes in its lifetime, this temple faced no significant damages. It is believed the fearsome Goddess’s strength has helped in maintaining the structural integrity of the temple. Every level of this temple has a breathtakingly beautiful architectural design. While exploring this site, you will notice statues of elephants, mythical creatures, and tigers. Even if you are not a spiritual person, you will get intrigued by this temple.
Address: Taumadhi Square, Bhaktapur 44800, Nepal.
8. The Lion Gate
The Lion Gate is the first thing that you will notice while entering Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Constructed with the belief of protecting the city, this gate is quite majestic. By noticing the Lion Gate carefully, you will find two massive statues of lions placed on its sides. The sculptures of Goddess Ugrachandi and Lord Bhairava are also erected on the sides of the gate. After completing this gate’s construction in the 17th century, the then ruler of the region chopped off the hands of all the artisans who were involved in the process. The locals genuinely believe that this gate protects them from all the evil spirits in the world.
As this gate is the gateway to Bhaktapur Durbar Square, you will have to encounter it. This gate’s colorful decoration and carvings make it quite photogenic and one of the most Instagram-worthy sites in Nepal.
Address: Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Nepal.
9. Bhairavnath Temple
Commissioned by King Jagat Jyoti Malla, the Bhairavnath Temple is one of the best places to see in Bhaktapur. Overlooking the majestic mountains, this pagoda-style temple is dedicated to Lord Bhairava. The 12-feet statue of the said deity inside the temple premises makes it quite noteworthy and popular among tourists and locals. Although initially, this temple was only one-story high, King Bhupatindra Malla added two extra stories in 1717. The massive statue of Lord Bhairava sets this temple apart from the other Hindu temples in Nepal.
While exploring the temple complex, you will get transported to another realm. The entire ambiance surrounding this site is so mysterious yet rustic that you will want to visit there repeatedly. Many legends and myths are associated with the Bhairavnath temple. Some of the legends relate to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, while the others relate to Lord Bhairava. Do not forget to know more about this site while exploring its premises.
Address: Taumadhi, Bhaktapur 44800, Nepal.
10. Vatsala Devi Temple
Constructed by ruler Jagat Prakash Malla in 1672, the Vatsala Devi Temple is one of Nepal’s most significant temples. Located at the heart of Bhaktapur Durbar Square, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. The significance of this temple to the Hindu community is tremendous. As this site is located right opposite 55 Windows Palace in Bhaktapur, locating it will not be a significant issue for you.
Throughout the day, Pujas and Aartis are performed in the Vatsala Devi temple. If you are a religious person, remember to inquire about the Puja timings to worship the temple’s Goddess.
Address: Bhaktapur 44800, Nepal.
Bhaktapur is one of the major tourist destinations in Nepal. With tremendous religious significance, this site is a must-visit destination in the country. We hope you got the necessary information regarding the best places to see in Bhaktapur in detail by reading this blog. As all of the said sites are located pretty close to one another, you will not have any problem exploring them in one or two days.