MIDWAY: Magic of Bhaktapur

As I enter the white gates of Bhaktapur city I feel as if I have stepped into a different world. This is one place which still retains its primal purity and festive fervour. This is also the place where I was born. It has been seven years since my family moved to Kathmandu, yet every time I come here the sheer beauty of this place captivates me.

I stand outside my old house and admire its elegance. It is a traditional house made up of mud and bricks with elaborately carved doors and windows. I remember tourists clicking our pictures as I and my cousins smiled from our window some 13 years ago. Our elders used to tease us saying that the tourists would show the pictures to the whole world and we would be ‘famous.’ We used to run and stand in front of the visitors as they took pictures of the cultural sites, hoping to get ‘famous.’

I turn around to face the holy temple on the opposite side of my house. It is the same temple that I used to visit every day with my late grandparents. I follow a labyrinth of intricate alleys and reach the famous Durbar Square. The feeling that I get as I marvel at the exquisite works of art is simply ineffable. Each temple is embellished, each monument lavish and each piece of sculpture magnificent. That aura of regal glory and dignified splendour from the bygone era is still omnipresent. I feel transported back by centuries. I can clearly envision ancient kings and queens walking the same brick-paved paths that I happen to walk. I wonder if any historically significant event had occurred right at the spot where I am standing.

I rest on the stairs of Nyatapola, Nepal’s tallest temple, and gaze around. I am amazed at how everything is so lively and colourful — women carrying urns of water, men making pots and selling vegetables, shops displaying handicrafts and antiques, children playing carelessly and the elderly singing devotional songs and playing esoteric instruments.

As the sun casts its golden red rays all over the splendid canvas, a sense of exhilaration and veneration sweeps across me. I realise how blessed I have been to have the opportunity of spending my childhood amidst the rich heritage and aestheticism of this magical city called Bhaktapur.