It's just 6km from Kathmandu's city centre, but historic Kirtipur may as well be many centuries away.
The picturesque ridge-top town has always fallen between the cracks of the tourist towns of Bhaktapur and Patan. And despite the proximity, one gets the feeling time has passed Kirtipur by.
Kirtipur was the first of the Valley's kingdoms to be attacked by Prithbi Narayan Shah. The resolute inhabitants held out till 1768 after three fierce sieges by the Gorkhalis. Unlike Patan and Kathmandu, Kirtipur is naturally protected on all sides.
Despite the ravages of time, past battles and earthquakes the medieval features of this fortress kingdom are still intact. The ancient town is an open museum for religion, cultural tradition and exceptional Newari craft and architecture. The sounds of women using ugha to beat rice and the whirr of the tan as threads are woven into cloth have all but disappeared elsewhere, but survive in Kirtipur.
At the 600-year-old Bagh Bhairab temple the swords and shields, remnants of the battle against Prithbi Narayan Shah, are proudly displayed and remind visitors of the courage of the defenders.
Up the hill is the Uma Maheswor temple, from where there is a sweeping view of the valley and the mountains beyond.
Kirtipur's glorious history comes right down to the present times: the activism of its inhabitants and the nearby university ushered in democracy in 1990 and in April 2006 with peaceful protests that inspired the nation to stand up against an autocratic monarchy.
A LAND OF OLD AND NEW: A young girl swings free across Kirtipur's skyline
A kitchen hand prepares to winnow freshly pounded rice at Nawa Lahana
The Jugal Himal range and the valley as seen from Uma Maheswor Temple,
the highest point in Kirtipur
A monk rests in peaceful solitude at the Sri Kirti Bihar.
Women weed mustard fields near Naya Bajar
Antique swords and shields used during the battle against Prithvi Narayan Shah hang in the Bagh Bhairab Temple
Nawa Lahana is an open museum cum restaurant (ALL PICS: SAM KANG LI)