apprehensive after learning that some of my friends were left aghast by the scale of devastation in
Bhaktapur. However, off we went.
As always, our first stop was Siddha Pokhari, the fish pond, which to my delight didn’t seem to have
suffered any damage at all. We bought some fish food at the small stall by the pond and fed the hungry
fishes while enjoying the morning sun rays. It was amazing to see just how many voracious fishes
populated this small pond. Before we knew it, all the food was gone and we decided to head next to the
This square has been where local families have gathered to make potteries for centuries. It was nice to
see that the earthquake had not prevented them from continuing on with their traditions. My daughter
Liya had a blast through her first pottery lesson at the Pottery Training Center, just off the square.
Admittedly, the square was quieter than usual and we hardly saw any tourists at all. But on the upside,
it meant that we could take our time to talk to the locals and learn about their culture from them.
Interestingly, Bhaktapur is currently full of wooden poles for the Indra Jatra festival. I learn that the
poles are representations of Indra’s son who was killed by a demon. During the festival, the story of how
Pulu Kisi, the elephant carrier of Indra – the God of Rain – searched for Indra’s son is retold via the Pulu
Kisi Dance. Again, I am amazed by the resilience and determination of the locals to carry on with their
tradition and festivities, so soon after the quake.
We found ourselves people-watching while sipping on our lovely Mango Lassies and grabbing a bite for
lunch. The square was alive with activity – children flying kites from the top of the temple ruins, Sadhu’s
taking respite from the heat in the shadowy alcoves, tourists strolling by casually with souvenir sellers in
hot pursuit of new business – and I deducted, Bhaktapur was still the enchanting city I knew it to be
before the quake.
Sure, a few alleyways remained closed for security reasons, a few collapsed temples dotted the square,
a few shelter tents punctuated the old city … but that did not take away from its ancient charm and
beauty. To the contrary, Bhaktapur still managed to thrill and delight even its most seasoned visitors like
I have to admit, I have always favored Bhaktapur over the other Newar Kingdoms of the Kathmandu valley; not
necessarily because of its beauty alone, but for the sense of ease and calm it imbues me with. And in
that regard, I found Bhaktapur unchanged, despite the quake.
All in all, it was the perfect weekend destination for me and my little girl.