Bhaktapur Walking Tour 1: Durbar Square

I wake -up to the sound of bells, something that has defined the Nepalese sonic landscape for me in the past week I have been here.  Everywhere, in both Buddhist and Hindu temples and shrines are iron bells of all sizes being rung by locals sounding out their faith.

I’m glad I chose to spend two nights here in Bhaktapur at a room with a view of the square.  It was magical having the square to myself with only the locals going about the temples making offerings, chanting, and sounding out the bells.  It is just a little past 7 in the morning and the tourists have yet to come.  I soak in the atmosphere.

Pashupatinath Temple is busy with worshippers swinging the damri and ringing the bells.  Nearby, the mighty Teluja Bell sends out its deep ringing sound filling the square.  

In counterpoint to the sacredness of what is going on inside the temple are the sculptured trusses that hold one of the tiers.  Figures in kama sutra that will make anyone blush.

The light is perfect for photographs and I take in the sights of the square.

The Palace of 55 windows.

The octagonal Chyasalin Mandap whose steel retrofitting allowed it to survive the 2015 earthquake.

I enter the Golden Gate past some Nepalese soldiers that guard the Royal Courtyards where photographs are strictly forbidden. 

 

The metalwork is astounding in its detail.

I am unable to enter the Taleju Temple as I am not Hindi.  I head to the Royal Bath instead, a magnificent sunken pool guarded by gilded Nagas. 

The tourists have come and the square becomes busy.  I move on to Taumadi Tole and Dattatreya Square.  I return to the Durbar Square later in the afternoon when there’s less people.
Only the staircase remains of the this temple to which my balcony and room windows open to.

In front of it are two stone lions that face the street that leads to the  Kumari House.  

Just follow the lions!

It is here that the first kumari of Nepal, the living goddess, was installed.

The entrance is easy to miss as it is crammed between souvenir shops.  

It is quiet and peaceful inside.

You know you’re in a Buddhist place when you see prayer wheels.

I  walk the side streets and come upon this beautiful stone shrine tucked in a hidden corner; its bas-reliefs seeming to leap out.


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