In the soft, dusty light of evening the old city of Bhaktapur, with its pagoda roofs and its harmonious blend of wood, mud-brick and copper, looked extraordinarily beautiful. It was as though a faded medieval tapestry were tacked on to the pale tea-rose sky….
(Travels in Nepal, Charlie Pye-Smith)
In spite of its status as a much-visited Unesco World Heritage Site, daily life in Bhaktapur still unfolds against the same pastel backdrop
and the lack of electricity most evenings only accentuates the otherworldly atmosphere. At dusk, men gather in the patis, better versions of our mundane park benches,
and chant their bhajans encircled by a wreath of small candles. Soft candlelight illuminates the vegetable vendors’ offerings too- and the small crowds that gather at the mandirs and in the squares.
On particularly auspicious days, half a dozen marching bands accompany jubilant wedding parties through the narrow streets, while impatient motorcyclists thread- and honk- their way in and out of the festive crowds
and wandering strangers aim huge lenses at all and sundry, in their attempts to capture the unique magic of the town
Too bad that many of them will never discover Bhaktapur’s secret higher dimension: Its rooftop roosts-
and the grandiose views that draw all gazes to their lofty heights