Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing
Kathmandu Valley Tour
The Kathmandu valley is bursting with activities, in the city itself encounter the Kalo Bhairav, the huge stone image if the terrifying Black Bhairav and then recover with a bike ride out to the 11th Century Sleeping Vishnu, the god Nepali Kings are incarnations of. Imagine you are a king for a few hours as you ride the Royal Elephants through the King’s game park, and then find a bargain at the Tibetan refugee carpet factory. Visit the Swayambhunath Stupa, the holy Monkey Temple that hovers above Kathmandu or see the Kumari Devi, home of the young girl revered as living goddess. Join Tibetans as they end their pilgrimage at the 500 years old Bouddhanath stupa or see medieval Bhaktapur, where much of the Little Buddha film was shot. Or if the mountains beckon, take a flight and view Everest and the rest of the Eastern Himalayas.
Hanuman Dhoka (Durbar Square):
It is the historic seat of royalty. The Durbar Square, with its old temples and places, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people. This complex of palace, courtyards and temples were built between the 12th and 18th century. The Kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations are solemnized here.
Interesting things to see here are: Taleju Temple built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 A.D. Kal Bhairav, the God of destruction, Nautalle Durbar, Coronation Nasal Chowk, the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of King Pratap Malla, the Big Bell, Big Drum and the Jagannath temple. The Durbar Square is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the social, religious and urban focal point of the city.
Temple of Kumari (Kumari Ghar):
The temple or the residence of Living goddess, Kumari, is situated in the vicinity of Hanuman Dhoka Palace. The building has profusely carved wooden balconies and window screens. It was built by the last Malla King ‘Jaya Prakash Malla’ and the chariot festival was inaugurated in the mid-eighteenth century by him.
Kumari is also known as virgin goddess and is selected from the Shakya (Buddhist) cast. She should not have any body marks or injuries and once she achieves puberty, she is replaced by another Kumari. The living Goddess-Kumari acknowledges the greetings from her balcony window and photography is prohibited. Non-Hindu visitors are allowed to enter the courtyard but not beyond that point.
Kasthamandap is said to have been built by King Laxmi Narshingha Malla in the beginning of the sixteenth century. It is located near the temple of Kumari. The temple is believed to be constructed from the wood of single tree. The city derives its name Kathmandu from this temple.
Swayambhunath Temple (Monkey Temple):
Three kilometer west of Kathmandu city lies one of the world’s most glorious Buddhist Chaityas. It is said to be 2000 years old and tourist often call it the ‘Monkey temple’. The main structure of stupa is made of a solid hemisphere of brick and clay supporting a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. Painted on the four-sides of the spire bases are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. This hill is a mosaic of small stupas and pagoda temples.
Eight kilometers east of Kathmandu lies the Stupa of Bouddhanath. This colossal and ancient Stupa is one of the biggest in the world. It is believed to have been built by Lichchhavi King Man Dev in the fifth century A.D. it is built on an octagonal base inset with prayer wheels.
One of the most sacred Hindu shrine in the world. The temple of Lord Shiva- Pashupatinath lies five kilometers east of Kathmandu on the banks of sacred Bagmati River. The richly-ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga, or phallic symbol, of Lord Shiva. Chronicles indicate the temple’s existence prior to 400 A.D. The temple has two-tiered golden roof and silver doors and is famous for its exquisite architecture. Kings through the centuries made votive structural additions, giving the monument its present look. Devotees can seen taking ritual dips in the holy Bagmati river flowing beside the temple, also a World Heritage Site. Hindus are only permitted to enter through the main gate but still the visitor can clearly see the temple and the activities performed in the temple premises from the eastern bank of the Bagmati river.
Patan Durbar Square:
Patan Durbar square, situated in the heart of the city constitutes the focus of visitors attraction. The square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisite carvings. The Patan Durbar square consists of three main chowks or courtyards: the central Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk. The Sundari Chowk holds in its center a masterpiece of stone architecture, the Royal bath called Tushahity. In the northeastern corner of the courtyard is triple roofed octagonal tower, Tajeju Bhawani Temple built by King Shree Niwas Malla in 1667.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
As you walk in, you can not but be overcome by feeling of inner harmony. Such is the art and innumerable temples and other architectural showpieces like: the Lion Gate, a Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, a Picture Gallery, the Golden Gate, The Palace of 55 Windows, the Batsala Temple, the Bell of Barking Dogs, and a replica of Pashupatinath Temple. The Lion Gate built during the region of King Bhupatindra Malla is adorned with stone figures of Hanuman, Bhairav, and Narasingh Narayan. A statue of the Malla King in the act of worship is placed on a column facing the palace. This is considered to be the most magnificent statute of Nepal. the Picture Gallery contains ancient paintings belonging to Hindu and Buddhist school of Trantrism of various periods and descriptions.
The Golden Gate is the entrance to the main courtyard and the Palace of 55 Windows. It was built by King Ranjit Malla and is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind showing the Goddess Kali and Garuda (the winged carrier of Lord Vishnu). This gate is embellished with monsters of marvelous intricacy. The Palace of 55 Windows was built in the seventeenth century by King Bhupatindra Malla. Among the brick walls, with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony of 55 windows. This balcony is a masterpiece of wood carving. There is a fee of US $ 15 to enter the Durbar Square.
This temple is said to have been built in 323 A.D. by King Hari Dutta Verma and is richly decorated with sculptures/carvings. It is believed to be the oldest temple in the valley and is situated about 153 meters above the Kathmandu Valley. One can see beautiful view of the surrounding countryside. An all weather motorable road connects it with Bhaktapur city and about 12 Kilometer to the east of the city.