In Nepal one breakfasts up on the roof. It makes sense to get above the dust and dirt. Om and the boys at Rupakot Hotel and Rooftop Restaurant do a great job and the view is without equal. I suspect that given a modest amount of time most of Bhaktapur will walk, chant, dance, or parade past our front door. Back to breakfast, which is up one more flight of stairs from our room. From here we have a 360 degree view of this magical ancient city but those shy Himalayan mountains just north of us are still AWOL.
Across the street we can see down into what must have been a temple but due to the earthquake has slumped down into a pile of rubble.
Still, every day we see two people separating roofing tile from bricks, stacking tens of thousands of those clay colored bricks against what was once their back wall while avoiding the angled wooden props stabilizing the next door wall.
A few steps from us a small group of workers are reconstructing another ancient temple lost to the earthquake. The bricks from the original structure were saved and neatly stacked. Bearers load them into a basket they carry via a strap across the forehead leaving their hands free to climb ladders up to the second story where they throw the bricks one by one up to the third story. We watch their progress every day.
A few steps from this rebuild site is a beautiful conical temple that has been completely restored.
By this point you would have been encouraged to add to your baggage allowance with a brass singing bowl, carved wooden masks, pottery, spices, tea, jewelry, t-shirts, curved daggers, all at a special price just for you because you’re the first customer this morning.
Moving farther into Taumadhi square is a beautiful four-story cafe that we frequent.
The square is dominated by the tallest temple in Bhaktapur with a long climb up steep uneven stairs past restored lions, elephants, and fantastical creatures.
An early morning climb shows a rare quiet moment at the square.
This temple seems to gather a lot of attention.
Almost everyone stops to light something, bow in Namaste, or breathe in incense, and most nights feature a couple of hypnotic tunes and chanting by the band.
Streets head off in every direction promising weeks of adventurous discovery. We’re up to the challenge.