Theme: Revisiting the History – Part III ‘Historic City of Bhaktapur’
Hiking Route: Changu Narayan – Bhaktapur Durbar
Day: July 20, 2008, Sunday
Hike Coordinator: Rajiv Shrestha
Participants: Vishnu Kshettri, Hitesh Karki, Sanjeet Baidya, Manish Shakya, Sarjan Gautam, Santosh Pradhan, Babins Shrestha, Sunny Shakya, Prajwal Shrestha, Shristi Rawal, Cindy(Shristi’s friend), Dinesh Bajracharya, Sumit K. Singh, Saroj Dahal, Rajiv Shrestha
Camera: ManishS, SarojD, HiteshK, SanjeetB, SantoshP, ShristiR and SumitS
Creative Support: Dijup/Pallavi
We set out in our time machine-the office vehicle towards the one of the ancient temples of the valley, ChanguNarayan. A pleasant morning with a drizzle it seemed a perfect day for the hike.All of us hoped that the drizzle would not turn into a downpour. It was around 8.30 when the van engine stopped rumbling. We started the way up to ChanguNarayan temple. It was about a 10 minutes’ walk from where we had stopped.
Changu Narayan is one of the most ancient pilgrimage site of Kathmandu Valley. It depicts preservation of the history, art and culture of different periods. The monument is significant from artistic, religious, cultural, historical and archaeological viewpoint. The Lord Vishnu residing in the place is worshipped by the Hindus as Narayan and Buddhists as Hari Vahan Lokeshwor. ChanguNarayan covers sixteen hundred years of Nepalese historyas it temple was built around 3rd Century by King Mandev. The temple is decorated with some of the finest wooden and metallic works. The intricacies of the wooden carvings is amazing- Devas staring you from the wall, fire gusting dragons of the bell, elephants and Garudas at each door.
Art work of the temple was so good we could not help but take out all of our cameras and capture the shot. There were a lot of interesting things to note. One was the “Half Grain of Rice” embedded in the wall of the temple. Legend has it that this grain was enough to make meal for a whole family. Another was a sculpture that is also present in the Nepali currency notes. There was a museum on the way to the temple maintained by a family. The house itself (as told to us by the owner) was more than 180 years old. It had a lot of information about Changu to offer and an excellent collection of ancient, historical, artistic, religious, archaeological, cultural objects and other artifacts dating back to the Lichhavi period.
The actual hike began at about 10 am. It was somehow an unusual hike. Normally, a hike starts from bottom to top and down again and from the urban area to the rural area. But our hike was just the opposite. We started from the top from the rural area towards the urban Bhaktapur area. We descended the hill with a breathtaking view of the Manohara basin. All through the hike there were temporary showers. Our raincoats and umbrella were folded and unfolded countless number of times!!
On our way from Changu Narayan to Bhaktapur Durbar Square we visited the Paropakar Orphanage. Then we moved to ‘Shree Changu Narayan Madhyamik Vidhyalaya’ where children of the orphanage were studying where the hiking team distributed notebooks and pencils to the children.It was really good to see those children smiling. We also visited Siddha Pokhari, which is the largest pond in Bhaktapur. The major feature of this pond is that one finds fishes of different varieties and that too in abundant number.The pond was so big that we could not capture it complete in a single frame.
Finally we reached Bhaktapur which is renowned for art, culture, colorful festivals, traditional dances and the typical Newari lifestyle. Painting, carving, masonry, bronze-casting, jewellery, pottery, etc. are other traditional enterprises still exist at Bhaktapur.Three main squares of the city namely the Pachpanna Jhyaale Durbar Square, the Nyatapola temple square and the Dattatraya Durbar square are remarkably attractive in their artistic exposition of elegant temples, dignified palace, graceful monasteries and Bihars standing around these open public places and connected to one another with quaint streets. Bhaktapur Durbar Square, that houses 55-window Palace was constructed by King Bhupatindra Malla and it is now a National Art Gallery. The Golden Gate, the Big Bell, the stone temple, statue of Bhupatindra Malla paying homage to the God and the palace itself with 55 windows are specially noticeable in the vicinity of Durbar Square.
Few minutes’ walk towards south lay the Taumadhi tole where the PaanchTalle Temple stands so tall that it is visible from any open place in Bhaktapur. The enigma of the temple and the surrounding cannot be explained. Nearby is another temple housing Lord Bhairab, which is huge in itself; its hugeness overshadowed by the gigantic PaanchTalle. The streets, Pottery Square, Dattatraya square and the ancient houses; all reflect the history of ancient art, culture and lifestyle.It was amazing how everything had been preserved so well till this day.
Before wrapping the trip, we took time to enjoy the taste of the representative recipe of Bhaktapur “Ju-Ju dhau – the King of Curds”. A perfect way to end the day!! And none of us could “have just one”.
All in all, the trip helped us re-live the history of art and culture of ancient medieval period.