Land of potters | Thimi
Thimi, known historically as Madhyapur, was once the fourth-largest town in the valley. Today, it’s a sleepy backwater but its winding, brick-paved streets are lined with medieval temples. The town takes its modern name from the Newari phrase for ‘capable people’, which is fitting as the town is a major centre for the production of pottery and papier-mâché masks. You’ll pass a string of mask shops on the road that cuts across the north end of town towards Bhaktapur.
Its most well-known temple is 16th-century Balkumari Temple, dedicated to one of Bhairab’s shaktis. The goddess’ peacock vehicle is depicted on a column in front of the temple, as well as each corner of the temple. It’s the focus for the Balkumari Jatra, a festival where Thimi welcomes the new year (around mid-April) with riotous scenes as the 32 khats (palanquins) whirl around the temple while red powder is hurled at them.
A passage on the south side of the square leads to Thimi’s potters’ square, which is full of kilns made from straw covered with ash. However, pottery-making here has been affected by the 2015 earthquake, which destroyed several homes around the square.
One kilometre north of Thimi is the village of Bode, with its 17th-century Mahalakshmi Temple, with a small image of Narayan reclining on his snake bed just behind. The village is famous for its annual tongue-piercing festival, during which one lucky volunteer pierces his tongue with a 13-inch spike. The festival is believed to protect the village from natural disasters and takes place just after Bisket Jatra in mid-April; it doesn’t seem to have been effective seeing the many houses that collapsed here in the 2015 earthquake.
Text : Lonely planet