It is difficult at best to explain Bhaktapur to someone who has not been there. It is, in many ways, a timewarp, a mideival city pockmarked with internet cafes and ATM machines next to open sewers on cobblestone streets. To a large extent, life continues in Bhaktapur as it has for centuries, a constant drumming of rituals and devotion. And, for me, it was wonderful to return once again to this favorite place of mine and to be able to share it with our team.
One of the original four principalities of the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur, or Bhadgaon, was known as the City of Devotees, for it was a place of deep religion with Hinduism and Buddhism leaving poignant marks on the city as a whole. Once the valley and much of Nepal itself was united by Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1768, Kathmandu (Kantipur) and Patan (Lalitpur) became the epicenters of modern Kathmandu, while Bhaktapur remained isolated, almost stuck in time.
The result is an entrancing city of fabulous achitecture - brick houses with tile roofs, intricately carved windows and doors, and stunning temples with pagoda-style roofs arching skyward - and amazing people. It is a city made for walking, and that is the best way to take in the sights, sounds, smells, and smiles of the place.
And, today it did not rain on us, so we're hopeful that this latest bout of monsoon is weakening and we'll get to Simikot quickly.
Tomorrow we're off to Pashupatinath, the sacred Hindu temple complex along the Bagmati River - there will be lots of stories from there for certain!