The People of Bhaktapur
Life in Bhaktapur, Nepal flows at a slower pace, despite the honking impatience of motorised vehicles that intrude upon it with an intolerance that seems out of place in a city where people always have time for social interactions. The women, especially, in their colourful clothing, contrast sharply with their environment. Their beauty and grace are transferred to their daily tasks: fetching water, doing laundry, raising children, knitting, weaving, sweeping, cooking, haggling, selling, spinning, sewing, or even when they carry heavy things or work in the fields.
All generations are equally represented in this city they call home, but it is the children in their neat school uniforms and wide, open smiles, who imprint a multitude of special moments upon my heart. They blow me kisses, smile, wave, and sometimes even start conversations in English. Some are shy, some are bold, some are curious, and some have learned the art of begging.
The faces of the elderly have a weathered look that tells the story of a life lived well. People here often laugh amongst themselves, and their eyes mostly shine with curiosity. Smiles that light up faces and connect hearts over a cultural divide come easily and often.
Economic activity focused on the tourists that visit this city, often described as Nepal’s Cultural Gem, can mostly be found in and around the different squares they come to see: Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Potter’s Square and Dattatrya Square. The main and backstreets though, are filled with shops that serve the local economy, and if one sits still for long enough many ‘movable shops’ will pass one by.
Begging, although minor compared to many other places, is still a sad reality of life here. The old people that engage in the act of begging, unlike the handful of children, do not just target the tourists, but often approach the locals or sit at the temples where the locals come to pray. The community itself seems to takes care of the destitute, and I have witnessed local people giving money to cripples without them asking, and alms and money to the frail-looking women that seem older than time itself, and I assume, have no one to take care of them.
The cultural treasures in the form of temples and palaces that the brochures and guide books highlight pale in the presence of the people that live here. Their beauty, grace and friendliness have captured my heart.
So many great photos! Would be hard to put the camera down in such a colorful and interesting place. Nicely captured.
Thank you, Lynda. It was hard to put my camera down, hence the multitude of photographs. There were so many photo opportunities, and luckily I wasn’t in a hurry, as one often needs plenty of time to capture these fleeting moments.
Beautiful pics 🙂
Thank you. With beautiful subjects like these one’s photographs are bound to beautiful.
Gorgeous photos! They capture so much movement and life!
Thank you. Life in Bhaktapur flows with a whole lot of beauty and grace. It felt very different from other places I’ve visited.
Oy,hard to pick a favorite photo! More people 3? 5? Beggars 6 or shops 31? Great shots!
Thank you kindly. I had a wonderful time photographing the people of Bhaktapur. It was a new experience to me, as I do not often have people as the focus of photographs.
Sometimes families in Thailand take their elderly or their children out to beg and then pick them up again. It’s difficult to say if this is the case in Nepal, but I wouldn’t be surprised. What an amazing experience, though, to travel to Nepal. I love the contrast between the muddy background and the bright clothing and colors. Will there be more Nepalese posts to come? 🙂
Not sure what is up with the begging in Bhaktapur. It always makes me very uncomfortable, and leaves me with a whole bunch of mixed feelings, though. I was completely captivated by the colourful clothing, and couldn’t stop taking photographs. I think there may just be one or two more posts lurking in my head, Lani. We’ll see. 😉
You really capture the depth of the experience. I can almost smell and taste this place; I certainly can touch the textures and various materials. That stone street is a work of art. These people draw me to the edge of weeping; they are beautiful and intense and dedicated to basic life. That is so attractive. Thank you for taking me with you. If you were to make this a Shutterfly book, I would enjoy purchasing it. Bless you, Jolandi. You are so gifted and tender-hearted with both your words and your camera.
Bless you for your kind words, Sarah. My artistic expression feels validated when it touches the hearts of those who notice. I am so happy I could take you with me.
Hi Jollandi! Great blog! About Interesting people and their cultures! Just what I like to read, and what I like to write about my self!
I am now a new follower. Looking much forward to see more! 🙂
Thanks a lot Hanne. I can see from your blog that we both appreciate and are touched by the people we encounter on our travels.
This is such an incredible photo-essay, the people of Bhaktapur, Nepal would be so proud to see themselves in both your writing and photos. A great thing about travel, which you definitely show is that as much as the people of the culture touch you, you reciprocate as well and positively touch their lives too! Great post!
Thank you, Randall. I did not expect to find this kind of beauty when I went there. I guess that is another thing about travel, you never know how your heart will be touched, and what wonders await you beforehand. It is always a good idea to keep an open mind when traveling.
You are so right, that is one of those great things about travel when a place surprises you with things you could not have imagined before. Have a great week!
you have captured all pictures so amazingly …really nice collection, it makes me feel as if I am visiting Bhaktapur at the moment…Great post !!
Thank you Alisha. It is such a pity I missed you when I was there, but Nepal is a short hop away, and it certainly captured my heart. Next time I’ll let you know in advance.
You have done very good job.Its really very heart touchings $ photos are great
Thank you, Prishma.