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IN THE KATHMANDU VALLEY

The Kathmandu valley, the political, commercial & cultural hub of Nepal is the first stop for majority of visitors to the country. Once separate kingdom in itself, contains three important cities:- Kathmandu / Patan / Bhadgaon, each is an artistic exposition of graceful temples, elegant palaces, brick paved courtyards and quaint streets. There are seven UNESCO world heritage sites in the valley.

Hanuman Dhoka (Durbar Square) :

This Durbar Square with its old temples and palaces, epitomizes the religious and the social life of the people. It is here the kings of Nepal are crowned and the coronations solemnized. Interesting things to see are : Taleju temple, Gigantic figure of Kalabhairab, Nautale Durbar, Nasal Chowk, the hall of public audience (Gaddhi Baithak), the statue of King Pratap malla, the big bell, the big drum, Jagannath temple. Temple of "Kumari" the living Goddess.

Swayambhu Stupa :

This stupa watches over the valley from the top of a hillock on its western side. This huge 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 the Monkey temple because of the multitude of the monkeys there. This is 2000 years old stupa.

Boudhnath Stupa :

This lies about 6 kms to the east of downtown Kathmandu and is the largest stupa in the valley. It looms 36 meters high and presents one of the most fascinating specimens of stupa design. There are more than 25 monasteries in the area.

Pashupatinath Temple :

One of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. Pashupatinath lies 5 Kms east of the city center. The richly ornamented pagoda houses the sacred Linga or phallic symbol of lord Shiva. Chronicles indicate the temple’s existance prior to 400 A.D. Near to the temple in the Bank of Bagmati river where human cremations take place .

Budhanilkantha :

This is situated below the Shivapuri hill at the northern end of the valley. It is about 9 kms. from the city center. The hub of the temple complex is a pond in which lies a great figure of the Hindu god Vishnu reclining on the coils of a cosmic serpent.

PATAN

Durbar Square :

It is an enchanting row of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples. Listed as a World heritage site, the former royal palace complex is the center of Patan’s religious and social life, and houses a museum containing an array of bronze statue and religious objects. One remarkable monument here is a 17th century temple dedicated to the Hindu god Krishna, built entirely of stone.

Kwa Bahal :

It is also known as the Golden Temple, a Bhuddhist temple dates back to 12th century. This building is embellished with exceptionally fine wood carvings and repose work. Artistic images are scattered around the courtyard and devotees can be seen offering worship at many shrines here.

Mahaboudha :

This Buddhist monument is an excellent example of terracotta art form which points to the skill of Patan’s ancient craftsmen with a variety of building styles. The 14th century monument is built in Shikhar style which is unusual in a city of pagoda roofs. This is the monument also known as "The Temple of 9000 Buddhas".

Tibetan R. camp :

It was set up in 1960 under the initiative of the International Red Cross and the Swiss Development Corporation, in co-operation with his Majesty’s Government of Nepal. It is aimed to help the Tibetans to support themselves. For those looking to bring home fine Tibetan carpets. This is the best place to shop.

BHAKTAPUR

Durbarsquare :
Once you enter the big gate you find the unique art and architecture and the special layout here. The 15th century Palace of 55 windows, situated to the left as you enter through the city gate, inspires admiration. The national art gallery is also housed inside. The palace entrance, the Golden gate, is a masterpiece. This is the square full of various designed temples.

Taumadhi square:

The towering five roofed Nyatapola temple presides over the square .The monument gracefully soars into the sky a top a five story plinth. The stairway leading up to the temple is flanked by stone figure of deities and mythical beasts, each 10 times more powerful than the one immediately below.

Dattatreya square:

It takes its name from the Dattatreya templ dedicated to a three-headed combination of the Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva. The national woodcarving and bronze museums are also housed here.

Potter’s square:

It has a display of fresh pottery left out to dry in the open square. The elephant headed lord Ganesh is the patron of poters, thus the Jeth Ganesh temple in the square.

Changu Narayan:

It is situated on a ridge overlooking the valley, about 12 kms to the east of the city. It is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. One of the finest and oldest specimens of pagoda architecture the sacred complex is world heritage site.

HILL STATIONS BEYOND THE VALLEY

Nagarkot:

Nagarkot is a popular tourist resort, situated 34 kilometers east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2,250 meters from the mean sea level. The panorama of the major peaks of the eastern Nepal himalayas including Sagarmatha (Mt.Everest) can be seen from here . Peaks like Manaslu,Ganesh himal, Langtang,Choba Bhamre,Gauri Shankar and Numbur are also clearly seen from here.

Dhulikhel:

It is situated at an altitude of 5,500 feet above sea level,30 kms east of Kathmandu on the Kodari / Tibet highway, a scenic and ancient town. From here one can have a panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges from the west to the east and very good for sunset views. This area also offers you the hiking opportunity in the surroundings.

Namobuddha:

This is a place which is situated a top a hill three hours walk to the south of Panauti, is popular as the meditation ground of Nama Buddha. This is an historical important place where a prince sacrificed himself for the sake of sick and hungry tigress and her cubs.

Balaju:

This consists of a sprawling garden of stone water spouts, religious shrines, fish ponds and a replica of the statue of Budhanilakantha . Balaju is known for its bank of 22 stone water spouts (hiti) carved in the shape of
sea – dragons. Peaceful settings of the garden is able to attract people in here.

Nagarjun:

It is named after a famous sage. There is a stupa at the top and the Nagarjun Reserve is well known for its wildlife including Leopard, deer, birds, squirrel and other species are seen. The hill tracks are also good for mountain biking.

Kirtipur:

It is situated on a ridge 6 Kms southwest of Kathmandu. The ancient township is a natural fortress and has a proud and courageous history. Kirtipur offers quaint streets lined with artistic houses and temple squares. The Chilamchu stupa and the Bagh Bhairab temple are the important sights here. The historic 16th Century town has many things to offer.

Dakshinkali :

Literally meaning the Kali of south, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, the Hindu goddess of power and victory. It is located 20 Kms. southwest of Kathmandu and is famous of its natural surroundings. Every Tuesdays and Saturdays, animals are ritually sacrificed at this temple. On the way to this destination there are a lot of scenic things such a river gorge, fishpond, cave and temple, etc.

Gokarna:

This lovely royal game Sanctuary, also known as Gokarna Safari Park, lies about 10 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu. Now this site offers 18 holes GOLF course.

Sankhu:

Sankhu is a sleepy town beneath the Gum Bihar religious complex. Within the complex is the temple of Bajra Yogini built in the 17th century. The area has been an important religious site since 4th century and has excellent woods and bird life. This is also an old Newari town having typical Newari architecture (intricately carved wooden + brick temple and houses) with the traditional living style of the people.

Shivapuri:

Shivapuri provides most of the water to the Kathmandu valley and among the hills. It is closest to the Himalayas. A trekking can be organized in this hill. The wildlife sightseeing here is also excellent as the parks has access to wider lands and areas behind Kathmandu valley. A visit to the Buddhist Monastery and a nunnery set high on the hill, are the added advantages.

Phulchowki:

It is about 2700 meters from sea level, Phulchowki is the tallest hilltop surrounding the Kathmandu valley. This place is described as the bird watcher’s paradise where there are more than 250 species of birds been sight. During the February – March – April this hill looks like a beautiful bride because of the colorful, rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal.

Daman:

To view of the breathtaking grandeur of some of the world’s highest peaks, from far west of Dhaulagiri to east of Mount Everest, there is no better place than Daman. It lies 80 Kilometers southwest of Kathmandu on the old mountain highway, the Tribhuvan Rajpath.

Gorkha:

Gorkha is the birth place of king Prithivi Narayan Shah, the great founder of modern Nepal and is also the ancestral home of the Shah Kings of Nepal. Gorkha can be reached in about 5 hours from Kathmandu.

Manakamana Temple and cable car:

This is the temple which is dedicated to on e of the Hindu goddess situated 125 kms west of kathmandu has the picturesque view of mountains and this place is now accessible by exciting cable car (this cable car ride is one of the best in the whole world) This can be visited on the way to Chitwan or Pokhara.

Tansen:

It is a small Newari town of approximately 20000 people located 4300 meters above the sea level which is on the way from Pokhara to Lumbini (the birth place of Lord Buddha). The great attraction of Tansen are Srinagar Hill, ancient culture of people, friendly people, excellent mountain views and its serene atmosphere. It is charming because it is unspoiled by modernity, pollution and urban bustle. Good hotels available.

Lumbini:

Lumbini is the birth place of Lord Buddha, apostle of peace. It is situated 250 Kilometers southwest of Kathmandu. Ashokan pillar, remains of an old monastery, images of Buddhas mother’s "Mayadevi", etc are still preserved in Lumbini. World peace stupa, Chinese monasteries, Thai Monasteries, Shrilankan Monasteries and Japanese monasteries are the other important landmarks of Lumbini. The international standards of Hotels are available.

Tilaurakot:

Tilaurakot is 27 km to the west of Lumbini is the ancient capital of Kapilbastu, the kingdom of Shakya dynasty in which family Lord Buddha was Born. Chinese traveler who visited this place 2500 years ago reported seeing numerous stupas , monasteries and the palaces here

Royal Chitwan National Park

Royal Chitwan National Park is situated 120 Kilometers southwest of Kathmandu in Chitwan district. The rear great one horned rhinoceros, several species of deer, bear, leopard, dolphin, crocodile, birds and tigers, etc. Live in this park in their natural habitat.

Pokhara

One of the most scenic and exciting valley in Nepal, is the Pokhara valley. This entire area is famous for trekking and lies 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu six hours by car and 30 minutes by flight. It is an enormous sunlit playground of green hills, lakes, forests, rivers, waterfalls, terraced fields. For the mountain lover the Annapurna range and the Fishtail peak, appeared to be just standing in front of you with overwhelming views.

Jomsom:

Amidst the high Himalayan settlement of Tibetan- speaking people is a serene village called Jomsom. It among the very few places in Nepal from where the Himalayan peaks can be admired at such a close range and yet from a safe altitude of only 8000 feet. Giant peaks like Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri and the Annapurna Range seem almost at touching distance. Jomsom is not only the most popular trekking destination in Nepal but also the gateway to Upper Mustang "Kingdom" with in the Hindu Kingdom of Nepal. Jomsom is also the gateway to the Muktinath temple that holds great religious significance to both Buddhists and Hindus.

Namche Bazaar:

The name of Namche Bazaar is generally associated with that of Sagarmatha or Mt. Everest. It is the entrance to the Everest region. It is 241 kms from Kathmandu and the distance is generally covered with 15 days by trekking. Nowhere else can you immerse yourself so totally among the highest mountains on earth and travel among the legendry Sherpas. One can fly from Kathamndu to Lukla or Syangaboche in the Everest region.

Tyangboche monastery and Everest view hotel:

Tyangaboche monastery is the biggest monastery in Khumbu or Everest region. This is the monastery which is situated in the highest altitude. There are a lot of people fly to this monastery by helicopter and fly back to Kathmandu since this is the beautiful site from scenic point of view and strong and spiritually powerful temple for Buddhists. Everest View hotel is equipped with all modern amenities and situated at the highest altitude in the world.

Janakpur:

Janakpur is a great place, famous as the birth place of Sita, the consort of lord Ram. There is an artistic marble temple of Sita (Janaki). This is the area to witness the typical living of the people of Terai.

Barahachhetra :

Baraha is the temple of Lord Baraha, the boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Barahachhetra is the holy place of Hindu pilgrimage and lies on the bank of Koshi river in the east.