Explore Bungamati and enjoy its rich treasures
Because it is not easily reached by road or by air, not many people choose to visit Bungamati in Nepal. However, that does not mean that it is not worth visiting. Quite on the contrary: Bungamati’s lack of easy access to the rest of Nepal has spared it from a lot of the development and cultural degradation that has occurred in some larger cities. The village is only about 10 kilometers south from downtown Kathmandu so it is not far away at all!
There are suspicions that Bungamati existed as early as the 7th century under the name ‘Bugayumi’. However, its official founding date falls somewhere in the 16th century. What makes Bungamati special is the fact that it is a traditional Newari village – a place where not much has changed over the last couple of centuries. As you walk the streets, you will find hundreds of masterful wood carvers and sculptors offering you excellently hand-crafted items at bargain prices. Most of them work from home and they may even offer you other articles for sale on the side. Generally speaking, the Newars who live here live rural lives, following in the steps of their fathers and forefathers which lived long before them. The Bungamati Newari enjoy an incredibly rich culture which extends over the fields of language, writing, art, architecture and even trans-Himalayan commerce. The people who live here have been practicing their skill or trade, which has been passed down for generations, for most of their lives and they always greet you with a smile. The women are also productive, utilizing their spare time to engage in weaving, knitting and hand-sewing. However, the village is probably best known for it’s wood carvers whose expertise in their field really stands out.
You will probably find that apart from the people, culture and craft, the only other attractions in Bungamati are the Karya Binayak Temple and the Rato Machhendranath Temple. The Rato Machhendranath Temple is dedicated to the local deity Rato Macchendranath (also known as Bunga-dya) and it is believed that he spends six months a year in this temple guarding the valley. The view from Karya Binayak, which is dedicated to a natural stone known as Ganesh, is absolutely brilliant and definitely worthwhile. You can reach Bungamati by bus, bicycle or by trekking and you can be sure that visiting this small village will be an experience on its own.