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A walk through UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Nepal

In 2018 I traveled with Photographers without Borders to Nepal for two weeks. I was lucky enough to meet, learn from and work with fantastic photographers (and people) Ben Marans and Matt Stirn. In the two weeks, we traveled to many locations around Nepal both on and off the beaten path.

Cotton candy vendor in front of Nge Nyapa Jhya Laaykoo (the Palace of 55 windows)

We spent one afternoon at the UNESCO World Heritage site, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, about 13 km outside of Kathmandu. A popular tourist destination in the Kathmandu valley, the area is actually made up of four distinct squares.

Nyatapola Temple- In Newari language Nyatapola means five stories and is symbolic of five basic elements.
Daily life in Bhaktapur

While the medieval architecture is stunning, I was really drawn to the people who live within the city that dates back to 1400 AD. The energy of the city life with all of the traffic and people and street vendors swirling around under the midday sun and dust just carried me through the streets and alleyways.

Street Vendors Bhaktapul, Nepal
Woman buying citrus fruit from a street vendor in Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Street vendors and customers in Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Unlike Kathmandu, Bhaktapur has been slow to adopt the change that comes with a more modern world. Many still live a very traditional lifestyle through pottery, farming, singing in the temples, as well as traditional dress, a lifestyle that is still very similar to that of their ancestors from centuries ago.

Citrus fruit vendor
Young men chatting on the steps of Bhaktapur city
Man sitting in tower near Bhaktapur Durbar Square

If anything, Bhaktapur leaves an impression of a city straddling two time periods, holding on to the ways of the past, while also embracing the future. If you are someone interested in walking through the history of a location, it is absolutely worth the visit while in Nepal.


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