Bhaktapur at a Glance
Bhaktapur is the smallest district of Nepal, which occupies an area of 119 square kilometres. It is surrounded by Kavrepalanchwok District in the east, Kathmandu and Lalitpur District in the west, Kathmandu and Kavrepalanchwok District in the north and Lalitpur District in the south. According to National Census 2068 BS, it has population of 3,04,651, out of which 1,54,884(50.83 %) are males and 1,54,767(49.17%) are females. The sex ratio stands at 103.42 while the annual population growth is 2.96 %. A total of 68, 636 families reside in 50,086 households. The average number of family members is 4.44 and the population density is 2,650 per square kilometre. 54.1 % of the total population resides in urban areas. A total of 9,701 residents of this district are abroad for employment of which 7,588 are males and 2, 113 are females.
According to Human Development Report 2011, the average life expectancy in this district is 70.87 years. In this district, human development indicator stands at 0.625 while human poverty indicator, gender development indicator and human empowerment indicator remains 27.9, 0.587 and 0.685 respectively. According to the census, the 15-59 age-group has the largest chunk of population (67.71 %) while the above 60 years age-group holds 7.50 % and 0-14 years age-group bears 24.79 %. According to Religion, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Islam and Kirati population are 87.85 %, 9.18 %, 1.97%, 0.49% and 0.38% respectively. The remaining 0.12 % covers the followers of other religions.
As per the National Census 2068 BS, the literacy rate of this district is 81.68 % in total. Of this, literacy of the male population is 90.48 % and the female have 72.65 %. The net enrolment rate in the primary level is 98 %. The enrolment rate in the school level (1-10) is 82 % while the teacher-student proportion is 1:22. 85% of the teachers are trained. Similarly, there are a total of 749 educational institutes, both community and institutional, ranging from pre-primary school, primary, lower secondary, secondary, higher-secondary to the college level. There are 305 community educational institutions and 444 institutional schools. Among community schools, there are 166 pre-primary schools, 62 primary schools, 37 lower secondary schools, 25 secondary schools, 13 higher secondary schools and 2 colleges. Likewise, the institutional schools include 235 pre-schools, 38 primary schools, 25 lower secondary schools, 124 secondary schools, 11 higher secondary schools and 9 colleges.
Under the political/administrative division, there are 6 municipalites-Bhaktapur, Madhyapur, Anantalingeshwor, Suryavinayak, Nagarkot & Changunaryan. There are two electoral constituencies. Constituency No. 1 includes Changunarayan, Nagarkot Municipalities, 1-6 wards of Madhyapur Municipality and ward no. 1,2,4,5,9,10,13 and 15 of Bhaktapur Municipality. Accordingly, Constituency No. 2 includes Anantalingeshwor, Suryavinayak, 7-17 wards of Madhyapur Municipality and ward no.3, 6, 7, 11, 12, 14, 16 and 17 of Bhaktapur Municipality.
The main income source of the district is revenue from sand, stone and soil mines. There are 295 non-government organizations working in the district. The number of banks and financial institutions established in the district is 40, and 338 industries are in operation. The rising number of cooperatives in both village areas and towns has helped a lot in betterment of livelihood and economic status of the residents.
From geographical point of view, Bhaktapur covers the region between the northern latitude of 27°36′-27°44′ and the eastern longitude of 85°21′-85°32′. The east-west length of the district is 16 kilometres. The altitude ranges from 1,331 meters to 2,191 meters above the sea level. The highest peak of the district is Nagarkot. The geographical features of the districts are almost same as that of Kathmandu and Lalitpur District, the two other districts of Kathmandu valley. The entire eastern region and nearly half of the northern and southern region of district is covered with hills, which are part of the Mahabharata series.
Warm temperate climate is the prominent feature of Bhaktapur. The average temperature ranges from 2 to 35 degree celsius. The average rainfall is 56 millilitres. Summer falls between Chaitra and Asoj and the winter between Ashoj and Falgun. The climate keeps changing in several ways. Besides a host of small streams, there are some major rivers; Manohara, Hanumante, Tabyakhusi, Mahadev Khola, Khasangkhusung and Ghattekhola. Sinilarly, there are 43 ponds including Siddhapokhari, Kamalpokhari and Napokhari. The ponds in the towns have been utilized for drinking water, fishery and aesthetic gains. There are over 56 stone taps. There are some stone taps in rural areas too.
Bhaktapur is also well-known for mask-making and painting. The wall-painting showcased inside 55-window Durbar is popular all over the world. Bhaktapur is also famous for several types of paintings like Pauva (Thanka), Grantha and Vitte.
Self-reliant in agriculture
Out of 11,900 hectors of land in Bhaktapur, 11,106 hectors of land is suitable for agriculture but only 8,077 hectors has been cultivated. 2,620 hectors of land is irrigated round the year whereas the land that has partial irrigation facility is about 3,271 hectors. The land without irrigation facility is about 2,186 hectors. Jhaukhel, Sudal, Bageshowri, Nagarkot, Gundu, Dadhikot and Tathali are the pocket areas for wheat crops. For maize, Sudal and Nagarkot are prominent. For the staple crops of rice, Gundu, Dadhikot, Jhaukhel, Bageshwori, Sudal, Nagarkot, Tathali and Changu VDCs are in the front line. Similarly, Madhyapur Thimi, Bageshwori, Jhaukhel, Duwakot, Sipadol and Dadhikot are considered pocket areas for commercial vegetable production. Nagarkot, Bageshwori, Sudal, Tathali, Nangkhel, Sipadol, Gundu, Dadhikot, Madhyapur Thimi, Jhaukhel and Changunarayan are identified as the core areas for cereal production. Nagarkot, Sudal and Nangkhel have developed their image for organic agriculture.
Livestock in the villages
Livestock is one of the main income sources for the rural areas. Farmers seem to have tamed the livestock basically for dairy production, rather than meat. Milk used for the famous curd (King Curd) also comes from the rural areas. There are four livestock service centres, 7 sub-centres (under District Livestock Service Office), 1 livestock fertilization centre, 39 livestock farmers groups/committees, 39 dairy production cooperatives, 2 milk freezing centres, 6 milk processing industries and11 livestock feed industries. Similarly, there are 10 hatchery industries, 24 livestock medicine stores, 2 private veterinary clinics and 124 trained rural livestock health activists.
Forward in sanitation
A campaign was started in 2068 BS to declare the district free of open defecation. Starting from Katunje VDC, the campaign has been successfully implemented in all 16 VDCs and the 2 municipalities. As a result, Bhaktapur has been able to become the first ODF(Open Defecation Free) district in Kathamandu valley. Around 48, 211 households have access to modern drinking water services. A total of 33,956 household have single private taps. Almost all household have toilets.
Motorable road has reached every VDC and almost all areas in the 2 municipalities. The district has a total of 96.04 kilometres black-topped roads which includes 15 kilometres section of Araniko Highway and 217.32 kilometres of gravelled roads. The 9.1 kilometres Tinkune (Kathmandu)-Suryabinayak (Bhaktapur) road has been upgraded from 2 lanes to 6 lanes.
Easy Access to Health Service
There are 10 hospitals, 2 primary health centres, 14 health posts and 5 sub-health posts in order to provide health service to the inhabitants of the district. Likewise, there are 155 immunization clinics, 45 rural clinics and 279 volunteer health workers. Respiratory diseases, gastritis, fever with unknown reason, dental & oral problems, fall injury, headache, tonsillitis, acute gastro-enteritis, eye problems, skin diseases like impetigo/boils/furunculosis etc. are mostly found among the denizens of Bhaktapur.
Telephone service has been well-networked throughout the district. Mobile services have made communication further easier. There are 1,124 telephone points under 4 exchanges. Accordingly, the number of customers using ADSL, CDMA, prepaid and post-paid mobile is 3000, 579, 19600 and 483 respectively. Still, the postal service is running well with 8 area post offices and 13 additional post services under the District Post Office.
Sour-berry in every village
Under the government’s ‘One Village One Production’ program, Bhaktapur is chosen for sour-berry. The farmers of 12 VDCs have started plantation of sour-berry as an additional cash crop which has replaced cereal crops and vegetables to some extent. A total of 202 hectors has been cultivated with sour-beery plantation. Bageshwori, Nagarkot, Chhaling, Sudal, Tathali, Nangkhel, Chittapol, Sipadol, Gundu, Dadhikot, Changu and Jhaukhel have adopted the sour-berry farming.
The district has enormous greenery. Local plant species like Chilaune, Katus, Khotesalla, Painyu, Kafal and Uttis dominate the forest and agricultural land. Around 1923.79 hectors (14.44 % of the total land) covers forest land. 58 community forests have been handed over to the consumer groups. The forest land is also the source of anti-wood production such as Sugandhwal, Sunakhari, Timur, Gurjo, Laikopodiyam, Dhasingare and Nigalo. Bhakatpur has 1 religious forest, 1leased forest and 2 private forests. The forest of Chittapol provides huge trunks necessary for Lingo Uthaune Jatra (Pole-raising festival) in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur.
Festive and Festivals
Bhaktapur is renowned for several festive and festivals practised over ages. Bisket Jatra, Gaijatra, Navadurga Nach, Nilbarahi Nach of Bode, Jibro-chedane Jatra (Tongue-piercing festival), Siddhiganesh Jatra, Balkumari Jatra of Thimi and Sindhure Jatra are the chief ones. Bisket Jatra is celebrated in all VDCs and Municipalities. Thousands of tourists from all over the world visit Bhaktapur to study art, culture and festivals celebrated here.
Tourists from almost every country of the world visit Bhaktapur to observe the ancient arts and cultural practices. Due to the newly upgraded six-lane highway, the number of visitors has surged up. Changunarayan Temple and Bhaktapur Durbar Square are enlisted in the World Heritage. Fifty-five-window Palace, Datatraya Temple, Nyatapole, Bhairab Temple, Suryabinayak Temple, Doleshwor Mahadev Temple and Nagarkot are the prominent tourist destinations of Bhaktapur. Similarly, the huge Shiva statue of Chittapol, Pancha Mahalaxmi Temple, Saraswotikhel of Duwakot, Baghhiti of Bageshwori, stone-engraving of Tathali, Saraswoti Temple of Sudal, Asapureshwor of Sipadol and Ranikot of Gundu are other popular tourist destinations. Ponds in municipalities, wells and alleys, clay-made goods, etc. are chief attractions for the tourists. The pottery-art enchants a lot of tourists. Tourists seem to have inclined to visit the suburban and rural areas too. A detailed master-plan for tourism development was drafted in 2067 BS. A host of monuments like temples, religious platforms, palaces, stone taps and ponds, and a plethora of festivals, dances and praying practices together make this district a magnificent tourist hub.
There is a custom in Newar community of playing different musical instruments as per seasons. Newars are considered as a hard-working community. Therefore they require constant entertainment. They also play instruments in religious practices. The art of playing instruments seems to have been handed over to the younger generations too. Each and every Newar household is supposed to have instruments. They have special trusts to train this custom of playing musical instruments.
Bhaktapur is also known through sports. It has a good reputation in producing good players. Bhaktapur seems to have provided international level players to most of the popular games. The largest sports event of the district is Workers Cup Volleyball Tournament. The tournament, started in 2056 BS, has so far been an international event. Sahid Smirti Khel Maidan hosted the first Beach Volleyball Tournament in 1995. Besides that, the district has Sanothimi Ground and Maheshwori Ground for football, Bekhal Covered Hall for table tennis, Kamal Binayak Boxing Hall and Jaganath Hall for Karante. Cricket and Aathletics are played in the ground of Birendra Sainik School.
Capital of Dance and Music
In the history of development of civilization of the Nepal Mandal, every place in Bhaktapur has founded at least one of the gods-goddesses related to their place that are considered as the saviours of the people living there. So people stage processions and conduct dances at least once in a year as their veneration to these gods-goddesses. They are not only means of entertainment but have also played an important role to civilize, socialize and unite the societies. There are varieties of cultural dances in different toles of Bhaktapur and Madhyapur Municipalities.
Kumari has been worshipped as the living goddess in Newari tradition since the Malla period. Gagatjyoti Malla, the then king, is believed to have embarked on the tradition of Kumari Pooja at Kumari Chowk especially with a purpose of maintaining relations with Navadurga and Taleju. The tradition started in Nepal Sambat 611. According to this, a girl of Shakya family is proclaimed Kumari before her menstruation. Meanwhile, the trandition of ‘Kumari Chhen’ of Kathmandu is believed to have dated back further. This tradition is seen as a tool to promote religious tolerance between Hindu and Buddist communities. The Kumari of Bhaktapur is supposed to have lived in her formal residence (Kumari Ghar) only during Dashain and can stay at her own residence at other times. The Kumari of Bhaktapur is picked up from among those Shakya girls aged 7-9 who do not have any injuries while having all the teeth in their mouth.
Hakupatasi is traditional Newari attire which has popularized the identity of this community. Along with Hakupatasi, a white cloth belt (patuka) and white shawl with black border is worn. It is complemented by a garland of Mugas. Some even prefer to wear Shirbandi while donning Hakupatasi. Every married or unmarried Newar woman keeps a set of Hakupatasi at their homes. It soaks sweat in summer and gives warmth in winter. It is woven manually using Tan, the traditional weaving apparatus.
The ancient name of Bhaktapur is Bhangaon. The Bhangaunle Cap is comparatively thick and gives proper safety to the head. One does not wear it before Bratabandha. There has been a trend of gifting this cap on several occasions like marriage, birthday, father’s day, Mha Pooja (Self-body worship) and Dashain. It is a local product. A particular community having surname Chulyadhyo basically fabricates this cap.
Denizens of Bhaktapur still use the clay-made utensils in their day-to-day lives. As of a few years ago, the clay-made utensils were in ample use. However, the plastic and metal materials have now dominated the market causing a low usage of clay-made stuffs. Good news is that the pottery business has witnessed technological advancement with electrical machines replacing the manual apparatuses. Especially the Prajapati community is involved in pottery business. Their strongholds are Bolachhe area, Chhyamasingh and core areas of Madhyapur.
Juju Dhau (King Curd)
Juju Dhau is a superb brand of the nation and is popular in international arena too. Curd from Bhaktapur goes all over the nation with this name. The literal meaning of this word is ‘King of Curd’. It is prepared using high quality milk. This is an unavoidable ingredient in every function and ritual of Newar community. Even pregnant women are given this high-calorie food.