The political, commercial and cultural hub of Nepal is the first stop for the majority of visitors to the country. Nepal have three fabled cities – Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. Out of ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Nepal, seven cultural heritage sites are inside Kathmandu Valley.
The history of the Valley begins with the Buddhist saint Manjushree who cut a passage through the surrounding hills to drain out the primordial waters present inside now Kathmandu valley and make it livable. Over the centuries, a refined urban civilization emerged and built unique mixture of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Many Dynasties came and went ruling over Nepal. Trade and the arts flourished accordingly. Its deeply religious Newar inhabitants built fabulous cities and artistic temples that attracted devout pilgrims as well as rampaging invaders. In the late 18th century, following the founding of modern Nepal within more or less the present boundaries, Kathmandu was made the capital. This largest city in Nepal is situated at an altitude of 1,350m.
Ramdung Expedition provides Tourist guide (English or other foreign language) and private vehicle (as per group) for sightseeing facilities.
Based on our previous experience and guest reviews, we suggest following spots and sites to make a pleasant day tour sight-seeing :
– Kathmandu Durbar Square and Swayambhunath Temple
– Kathmandu and Patan Durbar Squares
– Kathmandu Durbar Square and Pashupatinath
– Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath and Bhaktapur Durbar Square
– Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath, Changu Narayan Temple
– Balaju and Budhanilkantha
– Kirtipur, Chobhar and Dakshinkali
Here are some of the major places of interest for sightseeing in and around Kathmandu.
SIGHTSEEING PLACES IN KATHMANDU (population 1,096,865 – 2001 census)
Kathmandu Darbar Square, Goddess Kumari , Machchhendranath Temple, Kasthamandap, Tundikhel, Singha Durbar, Kaisar Libreary, National Museum, Pashupatinath Temple, Boudha Nath Stupa, Budhanilkantha Temple, SwoyambhuNath Stupa, Kirtipur, Dakshinkali etc.
SIGHTSEEING PLACES IN PATAN (population 162,991 – 2001 estimate)
Patan Durbar Square, Krishna Temple, Mahaboudha, Acchheswor Mahavihar, Temple of Machhendranath and Minnath, The Zoo, Patan Industrial Estate, Bajra Barahi, Godavari, Phulchowki, Hiranya Verna Mahavihar, Kumbheshwor, Jagatnarayan Temple, Rudra Varna Mahavihar, The Ashokan Stupas,etc.
SIGHTSEEING PLACES IN BHAKTAPUR (population 74,200 – 2002 estimate)
Bhaktapur Durbar Square, The National Art Gallery, Bhairavnath Temple, Dattatraya Temple, The Golden Gate, The Palace of 55 Windows, The Stone Temple of Batsala Devi, Nyatapola Temple, Surya Vinayak, Nagarkot etc.
Some of the major sightseeing place in Kathmandu are detailed below :
Kathmandu Durbar Square: This complex of palaces, courtyards and temples like Hanuman dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (a home for Living Goddess), Taleju temple, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, used to be the seat of the ancient Malla Kings of Kathmandu. An intriguing piece here is the 17h -century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages. The Durbar Square, protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the social, religious and urban focal point of the city. Even till date, all the major state and social ceremonies, including the solemnization of coronations are performed in one of the courtyards in this complex. There are also museums inside the palace building.
Swayambhunath Stupa : Swayambu watches over the Valley from the top of a hillock on its western side just three kilometers west of the city center. The stupa is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal and its establishment is linked to the creation of the Kathmandu Valley out of a primordial lake. Swayambhu is also known as Samhengu and is listed as a World Heritage Site. It is also one of the oldest and glorious Buddhist shrines in the world which is said to be two thousand years. The four sides of the stupa is painted with the eyes of Lord Buddha and the temple is also known as the watchful eyes of Buddha.
Bouddhanath Stupa : It lies about 6 km east of downtown Kathmandu and is the largest stupa in the Valley and one of the largest in the world. It looms 36 meters high and presents one of the most fascinating specimens of stupa design with hundreds of prayer wheels and 108 small images of Buddha all around. Just like the Swayambhunath, the stupa here is too has four sides with the watchful eyes of Lord Buddha. All the Buddhist throng to this stupa to take part in the sacred rituals during the Buddhist festivals.
Bouddhanath, a World Heritage Site is also known as Khasti. There are more than 45 Buddhist monasteries in the area. Many have schools that teach young monks like those pictured here.
Pashupatinath Temple : One of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world, Pashupatinath lies 5 km east from the city center. The richly-ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga, or phallic symbol, of Lord Shiva as well as the noteworthy gold plated roofs and silver coated doors. This is the abode of God Shiva and is the holiest of all the Shiva shrines.
Chronicles indicate Pashupatinath’s existence prior to 400 AD. Devotees can be seen taking ritual dips in the holy Bagmati river flowing beside the temple, also a World Heritage Site. The crematorium is just outside the temple and it is a dream of almost every Hindu to be cremated by the side of Pashupati Aryaghat after their death.
Patan Durbar Square : Located 7 km away from Kathmandu . This city has many 15th to 17th century, Hindu and Buddhist, monuments built during the Malla dynasty. The most important area with many monuments is the Patan Durbar square. Historical Significances in Patan are ;- the golden gate and golden windows of the old palace, the famous Krishna temple with 21 golden pinnacles, the royal bath with many carvings on stone and the Royal Taleju Temple.
Kirtipur : A small town is situated on a ridge 6 km southwest of Kathmandu having population 40,378 (Census 2001). The ancient township established in 1099 is a natural fortress and has a proud and courageous history. It was the first place to be attacked by Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1768. The Chilamchu stupa and the temple of Bagh Bhairav are major sights here. Kirtipur offers quaint streets lined with artistic houses and temple squares and great views of Kathmandu Valley. The people are known for their skill in building and weaving and other ancient loom. The oldest educational institute, Tribhuvan University is located in the bottom of the hill.
Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon): Also known as city of devotees, Bhaktapur is the home of medieval art and architecture. Lying 14 kilometers/9 miles east of Kathmandu City, this place was founded in the 9th Century and is shaped like a conch shell. The city is at the height of 4,600 ft. above sea level. In Bhadgaon, you will visit the Durbar Square with the Palace of 55 windows built by King Bhupatindra Malla. The famous five-storied Nyatapol temple on the terraces of which stands a pair of figures – two goddesses, two strong men, two elephants, two lions and two griffins is the tallest temple in the valley and was also built by King Bhupatindra Malla. It is one of the best examples of Pagoda styled temples.
Changu Narayan :Narayan or Vishnu is regarded as the preserver of creation of Hinduism. This temple near Changu Village is described as the most ancient temple in the Kathmandu Valley. Changu Narayan was believed to be built by Licchavi king, Haridatta Varma around 325 AD several generations before Manadev. Chronicles say that Haridutta also ordered to built four hilltop Narayan temples around the Valley. Others are Ichangu Narayan at the West, Sikhara Narayan and Lokapalasvamin. The inscription on Garuda Dhwaja, a pillar that tells of the victorious Manadev, erected at the temple in 464 is the oldest inscription to have been discovered in Nepal.
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