Kathmandu valley is situated at an altitude of 1,336 meters above sea level and covers an area of 218 square embriodmiles. The rich y of the cultural heritage of Nepal is synthesized in the Kathmandu Valley, which includes Kathmandu (Kantipur), Patan (Lalitpur) and Bhaktapur (Bhadgaun) cities.
Kathmandu, traditionally, also known as “Kantipur” is the capital of Nepal. A city that offers a perfect blender of modern amenities, exotic setting and ancient arts, cultures and traditions. King Gunakama Dev built the city in its present form in 723 A.D. The major tourist attractions in Kathmandu include:
Built between 12th to 18th centuries by the Malla dynasty Kings, the site is now on World Heritage List of UNESCO. The Durbar Square, with its old temples and palaces, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people.
Temple of Kumari (Vestal Virgin), or “The Living Goddess”, is situated in the vicinity of Hanuman Dhoka Palace. The building has intricately carved wooden balconies with window screens and the Kumari acknowledges greetings from her balcony window.
Located near the temple of Kumari, it is said to have been built by King Laxmi Narsingha Malla in the beginning of the sixteenth century. It is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree. The city of Kathmandu derives its name from this temple.
“The Self Existing One” is located 4 kilometers west of Kathmandu on a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. It is the oldest shrine and a place of pilgrimage, which was listed in UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979 A.D.
Pashupatinath is the temple of the Lord Shiva, which is situated 5kms east from central Kathmandu on the bank of the river Bagmati. Annually hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrimage from different parts of the world visit this sacred temple on special religious occasion. The temple was listed in UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1997 A.D.
Here looms a 36-meter stupa amidst a locality inhabited by members of the Buddhist community. It is on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. It has 45 monasteries in its premises.
Situated on the way to Shivapuri Sanctuary, it environs a remarkable colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of snakes. It is one of the masterpieces of stone sculptures of the Lichchhavi Period of Nepal. This fifth century statue is in the middle of a small pond and seems to float on water.
Located about 2 kilometers west of Kathmandu, the National Museum has a splendid collection of weapons and artifacts from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal. Its archaeological and historical displays are worth seeing.
This ancient city is about five kilometers southeast of Kathmandu, embellished with numerous Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments with bronze gateways, guardian deities and wonderful carvings. Noted for its craftsmen and metal workers, Patan city is known as the “City of Fine Arts”. The major tourist attractions of Patan are:
Patan Durbar Square, situated in the heart of the city constitutes the focus of visitor’s attraction. The square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisite carvings.
This museum inside the Durbar Square specializes in bronze statues and religious objects. It is considered as one of the best museums in Asia.
Situated at Jawalakhel, the zoo has many animals, birds and reptiles in its collection representing mostly the Himalayan fauna. There is a beautiful pond built in the 17th century inside its premises.
Bhaktapur city or the “City of Devotees” is situated 18 kilometers east of Kathmandu. This 19th century town boasts of its architectural splendor and colorful lifestyle full of rituals and festivity where civilization may be a standstill. The major sightseeing places in Bhaktapur include:
The main square of the city contains innumerable temples and other architectural showpieces like the Lion Gate, the Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, the Picture Gallery, the Golden Gate, the Palace of 55 Windows, the Batsala Temple and the Bell of Barking Dogs, the replica of Pashupatinath Temple, etc.
It contains medieval paintings belonging to Hindu and Buddhist schools depicting Tantrism of various periods and description.
The Square takes its name from the Dattratraya Temple. The Square is famous for ornate monasteries known as Maths. The National Wood-working Museum and the Brass and Bronze Museum are housed here.
Thimi is a farming town situated 8 kilometers east of Kathmandu on the way to Bhaktapur. Thimi is famous for earthen pots, homespun cotton cloth and artistic masks.
Some of the most popular tourists spots located in the periphery of the Kathmandu Valley are as follows:
Tucked away in the upper reaches of Kathmandu Valley is Nagarkot with a history that dates back to the first human settlement of the valley. It is situated 32 kms east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2,175 meters above sea level. Besides being a popular location for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the Himalayas, Nagarkot also offers the panoramic view of the major peaks of the eastern Nepal Himalayas including Sagarmatha.
This ancient town is situated 30 kilometers east of Kathmandu on the side of the Arniko Highway. This Newari town Dhulikhel offers a traditional atmosphere along with spectacular views. The pleasant climate is a big attraction of Dhulikhel especially during summer.
Situated at the end of a long ridge, which runs well into the Valley, it is said to have been built by King Hari Dutta in 323 A.D. It is regarded to be the oldest temple in the Valley. It was listed in UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979 A.D.
Though proximate to Kathmandu, it is way off from the pollution and the dust of the valley with an open space, surrounded by green hills, all-around to a place that assures tranquility and warm weather, a place amidst a quaint village with paddy fields and orange trees, and the rustic smell of the hay and the barn, a place far from the madding crowd, is Dakshinkali.
Pokhara, an enchanting valley, nestled in the tranquil laps of the Annapurna Range, is located 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu. It is an ideal vacationer’s paradise with its crystal clear lakes and magnificent views of the western Himalayas of Mount Annapurna and Mount Manaslu range and the Fish Tail Mountain.
It is believed that all miseries and sorrows are relieved once you visit the temple .The name itself signifies, Mukti means Nirvana and Nath means God i.e., the “God of Nirvana”. This famous temple of Lord Muktinath lies in the district of Mustang and is situated about 18 kilometers northeast of Jomsom at an altitude of about 3,749meters.
The birthplace of Siddhartha Gautam, the Shakya prince and the ultimate “Buddha”, the “Enlightened One”, is the pilgrimage destination of the world’s millions of people faithful to all schools of “Buddhism”. This holy place is accessible by air from Kathmandu to Bhairawa. From Kathmandu it takes about eight hours by bus or car.
Shrine of Goddess Manakamana, also known as “the wish fulfilling Goddess” is located 6 kilometers north of Mungling on the Prithwi (Kathmandu-Pokhara) Highway. It is nestled on a top edge (1302meters) gazing the valleys of Trishuli to the south and Marshyangdi to the west. You can reach there by cable car along the highway right up to the temple in less than 10 minutes.
One of the most famous pilgrimage destinations of Nepal is Gosainkunda Lake, which is situated at an altitude of about 4,360 meters. The best approach to Gosainkunda is through Dhunche, 132 kilometers to the northeast of Kathmandu.
It is the threshold to the Everest Region and is 214 kilometers from Kathmandu. The distance is generally covered within 3 days by trekking from Lukla airport. Nowhere else can you immerse yourself so totally among the highest mountains on earth and travel among the legendary Sherpas.
The Janaki Mandir is in Janakpur, the birthplace of the Hindu goddess Sita. Janakpur is a Terai town in the Central Nepal. It’s also place of great importance for the followers of Hinduism. This town is the capital of ancient Mithila Kingdom described in the holy literature of Ramayana.
Devghat is a popular pilgrimage spot situated at the confluence of the Kali Gandaki and Trisuli rivers. It lies just north of the Chitwan National Park. During the Magay Sakranti festival in January, Hindu devotees gather here to take holy dips in the river. There are a number of scared and history sites around Devghat which provide interesting side trips: the Triveni temple and Balmiki ashram where the great sage Balmiki had his retreat, the Someswar Kalika temple and fort, Pandavanag where the protagonists of the Mahabharat once lived and the Kabilaspur fort built by the old kings of Palpa.
Pathibhara situated at the top of Kutidanda and Haaspokhari in Mechi Highway is called as small Pathibhara regarded as the younger sister of Pathibhara in Taplejung. From this hill covered with green forest one can have a view of Terain plains, Mahabharat Range and Mount Kanchanjunga. This place with plenty of transportation facilities seems to have abundant feasibility for Gliding. Thousands of people pay homage to the goddess Pathibhara daily.
This historic of Jaleshwar lies in the city of Jaleswar, the headquaters of Janakpur zone. Jaleswar Mahadev is one of Nepal’s prominent places of pilgrimage and is mentioned in the Hindu epic, Padam Purana. According to legend, a hermit named Jagadish arrived in the lonesome forest of Jaleshwar and had a dream in which he was directed to conduct excavation at the spot. In accordance with the dream, he began digging and soon found an image of Jaleshwar Mahadev. He then built a temple with some gold, which he brought from a place called Sunukhadagarh.
Just in front of Jaleshwar Mahadev temple there are two sacred ponds, called Barunsar and Kshiresar. During the Ram Navami Bivaha Panchami feativals, thousands of pilgrims assemble at these ponds.
In the upper part of Dolakha Township lies the temple of Bhimeshwar, popularly known as Dolakha Bhimsen. The people of Dolakha regard Bhimeswar as their supreme lord. The roofless temple houses a Shiva Linga, underneath which is a holy pond. Fairs are held at this temple on such occasions as Bala Chaturdashi, Ram Nava, Chaitra Astami and Bhima Ekadashi. During the Dashain festival, goats are sacrificed here.
Approximately 200 meter from the Bhimeshwar temple is the temple of Tripurasundari where devotees assemble during the festivals of Chaitrastami and Dashian. Only the priest of this temple is allowed a glimpse of the image enshrined within.
In the western part of the district of Pyuthan (Rapti Zone) lies Swargadwari, a place of Hindu pilgrimage. Swaragadwari lies almost 26 kilometers south of Khalanga Bazar, the district headquarters of Pyuthan. During the festivals of Baisakh Poornima and Kartik Poornima pilgrims from different parts of Nepal and India come to pay homage