Thimi or Madhyapur is situated between Kathmandu city and Bhaktapur city. In recent years Thimi has changed its name back to its original name of "Madhyapur" which means "middle place".
Often overlooked by tourists who pass by on their way to Bhaktapur Thimi contains a virtual treasure trove of heritage along its quiet dusty streets. All of which are free to visit.
Virtually forgotten, off the beaten path, yet easy to visit. Thimi is as close to finding a lost city in the Kathmandu valley as you will get these days. Simply put, if you love heritage do not miss out on a quick visit to Thimi!
Thimi's outstanding collection of buildings, shrines and monuments have little protection due to its ambiguity. In recent years there are reports of up to one statue being stolen every three months.
Did you know?
Tradition dictates that a portion of all the rice sold in Ason Chowk must first be offered to the Goddess Annapurna.
While Saturday mornings are great for most heritage walks in Kathmandu, it's a day off for many vendors. So Ason on a Saturday morning will not have the same vibe as it does during the rest of the week.
There are many transportation methods to Thimi depending on your budget and schedule. Thimi is only 12 km east from Kathmandu and 4km west of Bhaktapur.
Buses run from Ratna bus park every 15 or so minutes to Bhaktapur for 25 rupees which will drop you off at Thimi is you tell them too. Likewise from Bhaktapur to Kathmandu.
Taxi's tend to rack up the price a bit as they want a full journey. It should cost only 600 rupees to Thimi but most will charge 1,000. A return trip with a waiting time of one to two hours is about 2,000.
Thimi's name change is rather ironic. Being sandwiched between the commercial capital of Kathmandu and the preservation conscious city of Bhaktapur has led to Thimi being stuck - quite literally in the middle. The townsfolk seem rather dour about all this too. Don't let that put you off though. Thimi is easy to get around.
In my guidebook to Kathmandu Valley and Nepal I have detailed maps of Thimi with everything laid out and every temple listed.
Basically Thimi's sights can be visited in a slow 1.5-2 hour walk. It's that easy. The start of the road is right by the highway and the heritage trail heads north on foot.
The very first rare 16th century temple you will come across in Thimi is protected behind a large metal fence. It used to contain a statue of the Balkumari goddess before it was stolen a few years ago. Nevertheless this temple still contains rare artifacts around it including the Balkumari goddess' peacock mount. Another Balkumari temple can be found in Patan.
It's also good to note that every April for Nepali new year Thimi celebrates with the Balkumari Jatra. 32 khats or decorated palanquins are carried around the temple as red dye is thrown at them. Most of the people surrounding the area also get cover in red powder too!
Just up the main road from the Balkumari temple is another fenced in temple dedicated to Lokeshwor. Across from it is a vajra (lightening bolt) which is one of many symbols found in Thimi showing it's tantric blend of Buddhist and Hindu ways of life.
Further along the main road to the right is a large courtyard area. There's temple to Vishnu there surrounded by several stone statues worth a closer look. Including a Shiva Lingam that's surrounded by a fence that is also used for butter lamps. Just along the main road is a unique very slim raised temple to Ganesh.
The large Bhairab temple that takes up most of the street at a major junction is quite impressive. Pataka run down from the roof and the building is well preserved. However in 2015 the solid gold Bhairab statue inside was sadly stolen and never recovered.
Thimi has a vast number of potters. More so than Bhaktapur! Most of the pottery is commercial and the dozens of ash kilns found along Thimi's streets are testament to that. You can buy anything you see here with a little bargaining and could pick up some great non-tourist rates.
The most popular and well preserved temple in Thimi is the very impressive Siddhikali temple to the rear of the township. The temple is also known as Chamunda and Inayeko Ganedyo (Ganesh) temple due to the deities inside the main shrine area. Built in the 17th century the Siddhikali temple is dedicated to Shiva.
The temple itself is adorned with more patankas then just about any other encountered in Nepal. Surrounding the temple is a hiti and several other smaller shrines.
The above descriptions of temples, monument and things to see in Thimi are just a small sample. Do get my Nepal guidebook or Kathmandu Valley Guidebook for full descriptions,
heritage walks, maps and more.
Culturally there's lots more to see in Thimi. It's all in both my Kathmandu Valley guidebook and Nepal guidebook. I've also written up a how to get to Thimi guide.
Here are some frequently asked questions.
How to visit Thimi?
Just jump on any bus going to Bhaktapur and tell the you want to get off at Thimi. Otherwise a taxi will take you. Likewise any bus coming back from Bhaktapur or Dhulikhel.
How long should I stay in Thimi?
As long as you want! But, realistically unless you are a cultural heritage fanatic you can walk through Thimi with ease in an hour or two at the most.
Are the people in Thimi really unfriendly?
They certainly aren't as smiling and welcoming as others. This is mainly due to the fact that many people have come to Thimi and stolen it's great works of art leaving the township suspicious of newcomers.
If you smile first and are respectful of the cultural heritage you'll nearly always get a typical Nepali smile back!
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