Bhaktapur, the smallest city among the three ancient cities of Kathmandu Valley boasts of cultural heritages, architectures, and organic ethnic Newari lifestyle. Situated about 20 kilometers east of the capital city Kathmandu, this city is also known as ‘The City of Devotees’. This beautiful place of history and art holds up a decent population of 2,25,000.
With lush green fields surrounding the core city, the majority of the population of this place relies on agriculture to sustain their daily needs. Nonetheless, Bhaktapur collects 60% of its revenue through tourism. Undoubtedly, the historical art and architecture etched in the walls of the heritage of the city has aided a lot to bring up this data.
Hosting a population which contains 92% Hindu and 7% Buddhist, Bhaktapur has many temples and Bihars which are related to these two prominent religions. The four popular squares, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Pottery Square, Taumadi Square and Dattatraya Square, unfolds the rich culture, settlement, history and development that has been present in Bhaktapur since ages. Other than this there are numerous temples, mostly in Pagoda Style in almost every alley. Not only this, there are many significant Bihars such as Lokeswor Mahavihar, PrasannaSheel Mahavihar, Chatu Brahma Mahavihar, Jaya Kriti Mahavihar, Sukra Varna Mahavihar and Dipankar Mahavihar.
The massive earthquake of April 2015 demolished many of the ancient monuments. However, most of them have stood again with the help of prompt restoration program done by the Bhaktapur Municipality. All the monuments are rebuilt or renovated using the same old traditional technologies rather than concrete materials. This has added more beauty and significance in the already established aesthetics of Bhaktapur.
This small city is also very popular for hosting many festivals throughout the year. The festivals here are generally celebrated according to mythical beliefs, agricultural events and seasons. For instance, New Year is marked in this city with a glorious and magnificent jatra known as Biska Jatra. This festival is celebrated for 8 nights and 9 days. Similarly, there are other jatras such as Gai Jatra (Cow Festival), Indra Jatra etc which makes the city more vibrant and joyful. In layman words, every week of the year is filled with some kind of festival; big or small.
The whole lifestyle of Bhaktapur itself allures and appeals to people from far and wide. Woman draped in Hakupatasi, the black sarees with bright red borders; grandmas weaving threads in their antique charkhas; grandpas carrying kharpans in their soldiers itself stands as a heritage.
The local people here believe in the mantra of ‘Atithi Devo Bhawa’ which means guests are gods. So they offer the visitors with the best of the service they have.
Overall, Bhaktapur is a perfect blend of history, heritage and hospitality. A stay in this beautiful place can promise any visitor life-long memories of beauty, sustainability, preservation of culture and history and rustic life.
The last three Malla rulers of Bhaktapur were Jitamitra Malla, Bhupatindra Malla, and Ranjit Malla. These rulers played key roles in building the palaces and temples of Durbar Square. This city was founded in the 12th century by King Ananda Malla. Many other monarchs ruled over this little space until Prithvi Narayan Shah invaded this city during the reign of Ranjit Malla.
In 1744, Prithvi Narayan Shah, descendent of Dravya Shah, who was the founder of the Gorkha dynasty, began a conquest march in the Kathmandu Valley, capturing and unifying Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, and the smaller towns of the Valley under one rule.
After a period of instability and a bloody coup in 1846, Jang Bahadur Kunwar Ranaji took control of Nepal. His Rana dynasty ruled Nepal until 1951, when the Congress Party formed a new government. In 1960, King Mahendra took control, banned political parties, and instituted land reforms. Political turmoil continued throughout the late 20th century.
In 1934, a major earthquake destroyed over 2,000 houses and severely damaged over 2,000 more homes. Over 1,000 people died in this quake. Restoration of many buildings was undertaken over the years, including efforts funded by West Germany in the late 1980’s and by the U.S. in the 1990’s.