Long ago in the Kingdom of Nepal, there was a King with three strong sons. They each wanted to be King themselves, so to avoid squabbling, the wise King divided his kingdom in three and gave a piece to each of his sons. Though content with that solution, the sons continued to be very competitive with each other, each striving to make his kingdom the best, strongest, most beautiful. And so we have the three districts Kathmandu, Patton, and Bhaktapur.
To avoid their citizens straying to the other kingdoms, each King had to make sure he had one of each Temple, Shop, Service that the other kingdoms had. So, somewhat ironically, in spite of the competitions these areas ended up looking remarkably similar.
The Durbar, or Palace Square, is home to several Hindu Temples and each has a Golden Temple which is actually a Buddhist monastery.
Of the three Bhaktapur is the best preserved and most lovely. We spent a whole morning and afternoon there viewing the temples and walking the narrow cobblestone and brick streets. The craftsmen of Bhaktapur are famous for their pottery and woodcarvings which are on display everywhere you look. The center courtyards are busy markets where the local people come to sell and buy goods, dry rice, work on crafts and socialize with each other.
Unlike the historical sights in the USA, these are not isolated areas, turned into museums behind rope and glass. People live here, use these structure still everyday. Its amazing how well they have lasted, under constant use for hundred of years, and is a very telling mark of the quality craftsmanship that went into building them. The King in fact felt that the head craftsman for most of the stone statues was so good, he had his hands cut off after the work was completed so that he could never again create such a masterpiece.
Additional images below prove that you will never be as cool as the Nepali people.