Potters’ Square


Potters' Square, Bhaktapur, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, Asia

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

Hidden down shop-lined alleyways leading south from the curving road to Taumadhi Tole, Potters’ Sq is exactly what you would expect – a public square full of potter's wheels and rows of clay pots drying in the sun. Nearby buildings were damaged by the 2015 earthquake, but life – and pottery – in the square continues.

This is the centre of Bhaktapur’s ceramic industry, and it’s a fascinating place to wander around. Several shops sell the finished article, and you can see the firing process at the back of the square, which is lined with mud-covered straw kilns.

On the northern side of the square a small hillock is topped by a shady pipal tree and a Ganesh shrine, surrounded by piles of straw for the pottery kilns. In the square itself is a solid-brick Vishnu Temple, which was constructed from remnants of temples destroyed in the 1934 quake, and the double-roofed Jeth Ganesh Temple, whose priest is chosen from the Kumal (potters’) caste. During the harvest in October, every square inch that is not covered by pots is covered by drying rice.