A very old Hindu text has described Kathmandu as the land of gods surrounded by beautiful mountains around. Some two hundred years ago a western Visitor wrote that thereKathmandu were as many temples as there were houses and many idols as there were people. In fact, Kathmandu boasts one of the largest congregations of magnificent historical monuments and shrines ever built. Duly recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO- this particular area best known as Kathmandu Durbar Square lies in the heart of this city.
Locally also called Hanuman Dhoka Palace Square-an an ancient seat of the Nepalese Royalty.
Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex consists of a huge Royal Square imposing a tremendous variety of temples dedicated to different Hindu gods and goddesses. Most of the buildings we see here date from the 15th to the 18th century.
The entire Palace Complex here is named after a monkey god called Hanuman. One can see a huge stone statue of Hanuman painted all red right next to the main entrance ( the golden gate) of the palace. Hanuman here is regarded as a powerful protector of the entire Durbar Square.
Famous Places to Visit & Things to do in Kathmandu
Taleju temple- tallest of all structures built by king Mahendra Malla in 1549 A.D.
Jagannath temple- built in the 16th century, known for fascinating erotic figures carving I the wooden struts eaves.
Kal Bhairav- one of the largest stone idols in Kathmandu representing the terrifying aspects of Shiva.
Statue of King Pratap Malla in praying gesture to Digu Taleju the royal family deity right across.
Kumari Ghar- 17th century Kumari temple, an example of the highly developed Nepalese temple craft.
Kasthamandap- built from the timber of a single tree. The Kathmandu City derives its name from Kasthamandap.
Besides this other fascinating part of this palace complex is the towering Nautale Durbar overlooking the beautiful cityscape and the vast Basantapur square where Prithivi Narayan Shah built a mansion to commemorate his victory in 1768 A.D. This building complex is known for the most intricately carved wooden doorways roof struts and massive lattice windows full of mythical figures.
- Swyambhu Nath Stupa
Located in a lovely little hill rock Swayambhu Nat Stoup is one of the most fascinating architectural jewels of the world. This great Stoup is said to have been built around 250 B.C.
Generally, a holy memorial site Stoup represents a typical Buddhist architecture. Its main feature the white dome is identified with a spotless pure jewel of Nirvana and a thirteen tiered golden spire in conical shape surmounted on the dome. Underneath this towering structure is a pair of all-seeing eyes of Buddha painted on all four sides of the Stupa.
The Stupa of Swayambhunath stands on a typically stylized lotus mandala base-a a long time ago believed to have originated from a legendary lake of Kathmandu Valley.
As the ancient legend goes Kathmandu Valley was a lake a long time ago. Right in the center of this lake was a full-blown lotus with the divine light a top. When Maha Manjushri a saint from China heard about this he came rushing all the way from China to the Valley. He cut through the southern wall hill of the valley with his divine sword. The cleft made by the sword immediately drained the entire lake water making the valley floor open for a close-up view of the divine lotus light.
This holy site in fact is the massive stupa complex ever built in Nepal. Hundreds of votive shrines and other historical monuments built in and around this stupa speak a lot about the significance and antiquity of this famed stupa.
It lies about 3k.m. west of downtown Kathmandu. There are two different ways to reach this site. One is from the west side which is relatively a short cut and another is from the east side where it leads to the main entrance with 360 steps leading all the way to the top, where the most venerated Swayambhu Stupa stands-commanding a magnificent view of Kathmandu Valley and the breathtaking panorama of the northeastern Himalayan range.
Other important things to be seen here include a magnificent two-tiered golden temple dedicated to Harati. She is the grandmother deity of children and smallpox who was said to be the Ogress until Lord Buddha converted her to be the great caretaker of the children.
Not too far from this temple is Dewa Dharma monastery-noted for a bronze icon of Buddha and traditional Tibetan paintings.
The huge gold plated vajra ' tha priestly symbol of Vajrayana Buddhism set on the Dharmadhatu mandala at the side of the stupa is worth a close look.
It is also known as Bhadgaon meaning the city of devotees, this place is the home of medieval art and architecture. This place was founded in the 9th century and is shaped like a conch shell. The city is at a height of 4600 ft. above sea level. You will visit the Durbar Square with its array of temples overlooked by the palace of 55 Windows built by King Bupatindra Malla, the Nytapola Temple. This temple, which was also built by King Bhupatindra Malla, is the best example of the Pagoda style and stands on five terraces, on each of which stands a pair of figures, famous strong men, elephants, lions, griffins, and goddesses.
This stupa, situated 11 Km. from the center of Kathmandu, is one of the biggest in the world of its kind. It stands with four pairs of eyes in the four cardinal directions, keeping a lookout for righteous behavior and human prosperity. This Buddhist stupa was built by King Man Deva at the advice of the Goddess Mani Jogini. It is built on an octagonal base and is contains inset prayer wheels. The shrine is surrounded by the homes of Lamas, or Buddhist priests.
- Changu Narayan
This is the oldest temple of Vishnu built in early 5th century AD situated at the end of a long ridge that runs well into the valley. It commands the most magnificent views of Katmandu valley and the Himalayas range on the background. This is also a most important historical, religious place where one can see the largest number of finest stone sculptures dating back to 5th-9th century AD. This is also known as a living monumental garden.
Literally meaning the Kali of the south, this temple is dedicated to the Goddess Kali, the Hindu goddess of power. Goats, chickens, ducks, etc. are sacrificed on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The temple itself is located in a forested canyon and lies 19 Km. from Kathmandu. Dakshinkali temple is of great importance among those who need her blessing and also among the blessed ones. There is a strong belief in the ability of the goddess to make wishes come true.
- Everest Scenic flight (Mountain Flight)
It is the best flight to see the Everest region by flight. This scenic flight will be around one hour. Even if you have already seen Mt. Everest during your Everest region trek, it is a great experience to do the mountain flight. Just do not miss this while you are in Nepal. You will be just 200 meters away from Mt. Everest and many other mountains. This will be a great experience for life.
- Kathmandu City
Kathmandu is known as Kantipur, the kingdom of Nepal. Here you will visit the temple of the living Goddess, who acknowledges the greetings of her devotees from the balcony of her temple residence, Kasthmandap-the source of the name Kathmandu. It was allegedly made from the timber of a single tree. Next, on to the Durbar Square area with its array of temples overlooked by the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, the ancient palace of the Nepalese Royalty.
It lies about 8 km to the south-west of Katmandu on the top of a hill. This is an old Newar village town and people are farmers and living in old traditional culture. The town offers to see many old temples and Buddhist shrines. One can find people weaving in old traditional looms.
Lying 6 Km from central Kathmandu, Pashupatinath temple is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated amidst a lush green natural setting on the bank of the sacred Bagmati River, the temple, which was built in pagoda style, has a gilded roof and beautifully carved silver doors. Visitors will be permitted to view the temple from the east bank of the Bagmati River, as an entrance into the temple is strictly forbidden to all non-Hindus. Pashupatinath is the center of an annual pilgrimage on the day Shivaratri, which falls in February or March. Behind the temples are the cremation grounds.
It is located 5 Km away from Kathmandu city. Patan, also known as Lalitpur, is a city of fine arts, enclosed within 4 stupas, which are said to have been built in the 3rd century A.D. by Emperor Ashoka. You will see Durbar square, the Patan durbar (palace), which houses a bronze collection, the Krishna temple built by King Siddi Narsinh Malla, Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, and Mahaboudha Temple.
Located approximately 3km from the center of Kathmandu, this Buddist stupa is said to be 2000 years old. The stupa which forms the main structure is composed of a solid hemisphere of brick and earth which supports a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of gilt copper. Painted on the four-sided base below the spire are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. The whole area around the Stupa contains an array of small stupas and temples. This is one of the best places from which to view the Kathmandu valley, as it is situated on a small hillock.
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