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Kathmandu Tour - 4 Days

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The Kathmandu Valley , located in Nepal, lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of Asia, and has at least 130 important monuments, including several pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites within this valley.

Historically, the valley and adjoining areas made up a confederation known as Nepal Mandala. Until the 15th century, Bhaktapur was its capital when two other capitals, Kathmandu and Lalitpur, were established.[1] After the annexation of the valley by the Gorkha Kingdom, and subsequent conversion of the valley as the capital of their empire, the designation of “Nepal” was extended to every land they conquered.

Some Place to Visit in Kathmandu Valley Are

KATHMANDU DURBAR SQUARE (UNESCO World Heritage Site):

Situated in the heart of old Kathmandu city at Basantapur, Kathmandu Durbar Square never fails to impress first time visitors with its ensemble of palaces, courtyards and temples built during the Malla period. The Durbar Square includes the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace, the historic seat of the royalty; the magnificent Taleju Temple towering more than 40 meters; Kumari Ghar, the residence of the Living Goddess, Kumari; Ashok Vinayak, also called Kathmandu Ganesh, a temple without a filial ; and Kal Bhairav, the God of Wrath. The capital takes its name from the giant pagoda of Kasthamandap, which is said to have been built out of a single tree. Since the time of the Malla kings, the Durbar Square has been the city’s social, religious and political focal point.

AKASH BHAIRAV:

Believed to have been built in the 12th century, the temple enshrines Akash Bhairav, a ferocious manifestation of Lord Shiva. The three-storey temple with tiled roofs, a hanging balcony, gilded and latticed windows and an artistic doorway lies in the main market avenue called Indra Chowk.
ASAN:

Once the center of old Kathmandu, the Asan market square is located about midway on the only diagonal thoroughfare in Kathmandu that links Durbar Square with Durbar Marg. At Asan, there are six roads radiating in all directions. The three-storied pagoda style Annapurna Temple of Annapurna, the Goddess of Grains, presides over the ever-lively bazaar. Asan is still an important shopping center and one of the busiest market places with shops selling anything from imported spices to kitchenware, fresh vegetables, Chinese goods, hardware and clothes.

SWAYAMBHUNATH STUPA (UNESCO World Heritage Site):

Resting on a hillock 3 km west of Kathmandu, it is one of the holiest Buddhist Chaityas in Nepal. It is said to have evolved spontaneously when the valley was created out of a primordial lake more than 2,000 years ago. This stupa is the oldest of its kind in Nepal and has numerous shrines and monasteries on its premises.

PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE (UNESCO World Heritage Site):

Situated 5 km east of Kathmandu, the temple of Lord Shiva is considered one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. The two-tiered pagoda with golden roofs and silver doors houses the sacred linga, or phallic symbol, of Lord Shiva. Chronicles indicate the temple existed before 400 A.D. Near the Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River lies Guheswari, where, according to mythology, a portion of Sati Devi, Lord Shiva’s consort, fell when a grief-stricken Shiva wandered aimlessly across the earth carrying her dead body on his shoulders following her self-immolation.

BOUDDHANATH STUPA (UNESCO World Heritage Site):

Situated 8 km to the east of downtown Kathmandu, Bauddhanath is one of the most imposing landmarks in Kathmandu, visible as soon as you land at the Tribhuvan International Airport. It is the largest stupa in the Kathmandu Valley and is the center of Tibetan Buddhism.

BALAJU GARDEN:

Three kilometers north-west of Kathmandu lies the Balaju Garden, a quiet park ideal for relaxation just below the Nargarjun hill. The park has a line of 22 stone water spouts built in the 18th century, each of which has an ornately carved crocodile head. During an annual festival, people come here to take a ritual bath. A replica of the stone image of Budhanilkantha was built here specifically for the royal family who were barred from visiting the real one. Above Balaju lies the Nagarjun forest (5 km northwest of Kathmandu). The summit (2,096 m) is a two-hour walk, from where great views of the Kathmandu Valley and a number of Himalayan peaks can be had. There is a Buddhist stupa and a view tower on the summit.

THAMEL:

As the tourist district of Kathmandu, Thamel bustles with activity late into the night. It is a mere10-minute walk from the center of Kathmandu, yet completely different from the rest of the city. Thamel caters entirely to tourists with its scores of hotels, rows of restaurants and bars, book shops, inviting souvenir shops, cyber cafes and travel agencies. All that a tourist needs can be found here, even friends and traveling companions.

BUDHANILKANTHA:

The largest of Vishnu’s stone statues, Budhanikantha lies at the foothills of the Shivapuri hills, 8 km north of the Kathmandu city center. The large granite figure of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of serpents known as ‘Nagas’, seems to float in a pond. This shrine dates back to the 5th century.

DAKSHINKALI:

Four kilometers further south of Pharping on the valley rim is the temple of Dakshinkali dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. The shrine is especially crowded on Tuesdays and Saturdays when animal sacrifices are offered to the deity. On the way lies Chobhar gorge. The Bodhisatva Manjushree is said to have cut an incision here to drain out the lake which once covered the valley. There is a small but picturesque temple of Adinath on the top of a hill from where one can have a panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains.

SHESHA NARAYAN:

Situated between Chobhar and Dakshinkali, the temple of Shesha Narayan represents one of the four Narayans of the Kathmandu Valley. The other three Narayans are Changu Narayan of Bhaktapur, Visankhu Narayan of Patan and Ichangu Narayan of Kathmandu.

PATAN DURBAR SQUARE (UNESCO World Heritage Site):

Like its counterpart in Kathmandu, Patan Durbar Square is located in the heart of the city and was once the palace of the kings of Patan. The square is an enchanting mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples – a display of Newari architecture that had reached its pinnacle during the reign of the Malla kings. Among its numerous courtyards, the renovated Keshav Narayan Chowk has been converted into a bronze artifact museum. The Sundari Chowk with the sunken bath of Tusha Hiti is a showcase of exquisite woodcarvings, and stone and metal sculptures. The magnificent Krishna Temple with its 21 gilded spires, built in 1637, and the Manga Hiti, the sunken stone water spout, found in the palace complex are but a few examples of its opulence. The Krishna Temple, built entirely of stone, is said to be the first specimen of Shikhara-style architecture in Nepal.

MAHABOUDDHA:

To the east of Patan Durbar Square is Mahabouddha, an exceptional Buddhist monument of exquisite terra cotta art form. On this 14th-century architectural masterpiece are engraved thousands of images of Lord Buddha.

RUDRA VARNA MAHAVIHAR:

Also known as Uku Bahal, it is situated a few steps past Mahabouddha and contains an amazing collection of images and statues in metal, stone and wood. The stone-paved courtyard is enclosed by a two-story building with gilded roofs. The kings in ancient times were believed to have been crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by devotees can be seen here even today.

HIRANYA VARNA MAHABIHAR:

Dating from the 12th century, the three-storied shrine, also known as the Golden Temple, houses an image of the Buddha inside the courtyard or Kwa Bahal. The monastery is known for its exceptionally fine wood-carvings and repousse work. It is a five-minute walk west and north from the northern end of Durbar Square.

KUMBHESHWAR:

The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is the only five-storied pagoda in Patan and one of the only three surviving five-storey temples in the country. A natural spring within the courtyard of this temple built in 1392 is said to have its source in the glacial lake of Gosainkunda in northern Kathmandu. A large gathering of devotees arrive here for a ritual bath on the day of Janai Poornima in August.

JAGAT NARAYAN:

The Jagat Narayan Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River at Sankhamul is a tall shikhara-style temple consecrated to Lord Vishnu. Built of red bricks, the temple has many fine images. An attractive metal statue of Garuda mounted on a stone monolith is accompanied by several images of Ganesh and Hanuman.

ASHOKA STUPAS:

There are four stupas, supposed to have been built by Emperor Ashoka of India in 250 BC, marking the four corners of Patan. They are situated at Pulchowk, Lagankhel, Ibahi and in Teta (way to Sano Gaon) respectively. At the time they were built, Buddhism was flourishing in the Kathmandu Valley.

TIBETAN REFUGEE CAMP:

The camp on the outskirts of Patan is a tourist attraction with its souvenir shops that sell handwoven woollen carpets and handicrafts such as prayer wheels, an assortment of belt buckles, wooden bowls and jewelry. The camp also houses a stupa and a number of shrines.

BHAKTAPUR DURBAR SQUARE (UNESCO World Heritage Site):

Among the three durbar squares, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square is by far the most elegant with its large open space facing south. The 15th century Palace of 55 Carved Windows and the palace entrance, the Golden Gate – a masterpiece in repousse art – have added splendour to this palace square which consists of buildings dating from the 13th century to the 18th century. The extraordinary Durbar Square with its extraordinary monuments reflects the glory days of the Malla dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three cities of the valley. In front of the palace building are innumerable temples and architectural showpieces like the Lion Gate, the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla mounted on a giant stone pillar and the Batsala Temple. The stone temple of Batsala Devi is full of intricate carvings and is a beautiful example of Shikhara-style architecture. There is a bronze bell on the terrace of the temple, which is also known as the Bell of Barking Dogs. Erected by King Ranjit Malla in 1737, its sounding announced the beginning and end of a daily curfew.

NYATAPOLA TEMPLE:

The unique temple of Bhaktapur, the Nyatapola literally means ‘five storied’ and rises above the city’s landscape as a remarkable landmark. It also has the distinction of having withstood the devastating earthquake of 1933. Dedicated to a tantric goddess, the steps leading up to the temple are flanked by stone sculptures of deities and mythical beasts, each 10 times more powerful than the one immediately below.

BHAIRAVNATH TEMPLE:

Dedicated to Bhairav, the God of Terror, the three-storied temple of Bhairavnath has only the head of Bhairav in the inner sanctum. Legend has it that the Bhairav’s head was cut off by a tantric expert in order to keep him in Bhaktapur. Built in pagoda style, the temple is noted for its artistic grandeur and stands adjacent to the famous five-storied Nyatapola Temple.

DATTATREYA SQUARE :

It takes its name from the Dattatreya Temple dedicated to a three-headed combination of the Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. This temple is said to have been built from the trunk of a single tree. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock windows.

SIDDHA POKHARI:

For a small city, Bhaktapur has the largest number of public water tanks built within the city limits. Siddha Pokhari, which dates back to the Lichhavi period, is situated at the bus stop. This large rectangular pond teems with fish and has stone images of different Hindu and Buddhist gods on the walls surrounding it.

THIMI

It is a Newar town situated about 8 km east of Kathmandu on the way to Bhaktapur. Besides farming, most of the households here are engaged in pottery. This laid-back town not only supplies Kathmandu its pottery but also its vegetables. The two important deities here are those of Balkumari Temple, dedicated to the Mother Goddess, and Karunamaya, the Buddha of Compassion.

SURYA BINAYAK:

The temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Ganesh. Situated in a thick forest to the south of Bhaktapur, it is a 20-minute walk from the bus stop. The temple is crowded with devotees especially on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

TIBETAN REFUGEE CAMP:

The camp on the outskirts of Patan is a tourist attraction with its souvenir shops that sell handwoven woollen carpets and handicrafts such as prayer wheels, an assortment of belt buckles, wooden bowls and jewelry. The camp also houses a stupa and a number of shrines.

CHANGU NARAYAN TEMPLE (World Heritage Monument):

It is situated on a ridge overlooking Bhaktapur, about 12 km to the east of Kathmandu. Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, it is one of the oldest specimens of pagoda architecture in the valley. The temple dating from the Licchavi period is embellished with exquisite wood and stone carvings.

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