The major tourist attractions in Kathmandu
The temple of Sweta Machchhendra Bahal between Indra Chowk and Asan. It is a Pagoda of considerable artistic beauty is also called as “Janmadyo” or “Machchhendra” deity.
Akash Bhairav Temple:
A three storey temple in the main market avenue, called Indra Chowk, the image of Akash Bhairav is displayed outside for a week during Indara Jatra, the festival of Indra – the God of Rain.
Hanumandhoka (Durbar Square):
It is the historic seat of royalty. The Durbar Square, with its old temples and places, epitomizes the religiuous and cultural life of the people. It is here that kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations solemnized.
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.
On the right hand corner, larger wooden lattice screen hides an enormous gilded face of Sweta Bhairav. The screen is removed only during the Indra Jatra festival. There are also Numismatic Museum and Tribhuvan museum inside the Hanuman Dhoka Palace building. Photography is prohibited inside the museums. Both the museums remain closed on Tuesdays and government holidays.
Temple Of Kumari (Kumar 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. The Kumari – the Living Goddess, acknowledges the greetings from her balcony window. Photography is prohibited.
The Capital City of Nepal – KathmanduLocated near the Temple of Kumari, it is said to have been built by King Laxmi Narsingha Malla in the beginning of the 16th century. It is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree. The city of Kathmandu derives its name from this temple.
A huge green field, flanks one entire side of the old city Tundikhel. Some of the important landmarks of Kathmandu valley are located in the periphery of this area. At the south-western end of Tundihkel is a 59.29m tower built by prime minister Bhimsen Thapa in 1832 A.D. known as Dharahara or Bhimsen Stambha. Sundhara – fountains with golden water spouts is situated at the foot of this great tower also belonging to the same period.
As the eastern edge of the Tundikhel, near Shahid Gate stands the temple of Goddess Bhadrakali. This temple is also known as Lumarhi temple and is one of the main “Shakta” temples of Kathmandu city.
About 8-kms north of Kathmandu, at the base of sivapuri hill is a remarkable colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining of the bed of snake. This is one of the masterpieces of stone sculptures of Lichchhavi period. This 5th century statue is in the middle of a small pond and seems to float in water.
This is one of the world’s most glorious Buddhist Chaityas. It is said to be 2,000-years-old. Painted on the four-sides of the spire bases are the all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. It is 3-kms west of Kathmandu City and is situated on a hillock about 77m. Above the level of the Kathmandu valley.
Two and half kilometers west of Kathmandu, the National Museum has splendid collection of weapons, artifacts from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal. Its archaeological and historical displays are worth seeing. The museum is open everyday except Tuesday and government holidays.
Natural History Museum:
Situated 3-kms west of Kathmandu City behind the famous Swayambhunath hillock. This museum has a unique collection of butterflies, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, plants and a variety of fossils collected within the country. Photography inside the museum is prohibited.
Situated 5-kms east of Kathmandu, the temple of Lord Shiva-Pashupatinath with two tiered golden roof and silver doors is famous for its superb architecture. Visitors can clearly seen the temple and the activities performed in the temple premises from the eastern bank of the Bagmati River.
Near Pashupatinath is located another historic and holy temple of Guheswari. Only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple courtyard.
The lovely stupa of Chabahil is believed to have been built by Charumati, the daughter of the Indian emperor Ashoka, in the 3rd century B.C. There are ancient statues around the stupa.
The temple of Chandra Vinayak is situated about 200 m. north of Chabahil stupa. This double tiered brass roofed temple houses a tiny image of Lord Ganesh, the Elephant-headed God.
The Stupa of Bouddhnath lies 8-kms east of Kathmandu. This colossal and ancient stupa is one of the biggest in the world.
This lovely Toyal Game Sanctuary, also known as Gokarna Safari Park, lies about 10-kms north-east of Kathmandu. Many wild animals such as Spotted Deer can be viewed in the sanctuary from an Elephant back. On the northern side of Gokarna, is a Pagoda of Gokarneshwor Mahadev.
It is a small town, 8-kms south-west of Kathmandu on the top of a hill. Tribhuvan University is located at the foot of the hill. This historic town has many things to offer like old shrines and temples, old houses, the people typically dressed in old traditional costumes, people working on ancient loom etc.
Situated 9-kms south-west of Kathmandu, this place is famous for its gorge. All the water of the valley drain through it. There is a small but picturesque temple of adinath on the top of a hill. From this top one can have a panoramic view of snow capped mountain peaks.
Situated between Chobhar and Dakshinkali the temple of Shekha 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.
The temple of Dashinkali is situated about 2-kms south of Shekha Narayan. Dakshinkali is regarded as one of most important Hindu Goddesses pilgrims visit this temple to offer their prayer and animal sacrifices to the Goddess. Besides, this place has been developed as a popular picnic spot.
The major tourist attractions in Lalitpur (Patan):
This ancient city of Patan also known as Lalitpur of the city of fine arts is about 5-kms south-east of Kathmandu. The city is full of Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments. The major tourist attractions of Patan are
Durbar SquarePatan Durbar Square, situated in the heart of the city consitutes the focus of visitor’s attraction. The square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisitevings. 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 centre a masterpiece of stone architecture, the royal bath called “Tushahity”.
Built in the 17th century, the temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in the palace complex of Patan. It is supposed to be the first specimen of Shikhara style architecture in Nepal. It is the only temple in Nepal having 21 spires and is completely made of stone.
A little further east from Patan Durbar Square lies this Buddhist temple made of clay bricks in which thousands of images of Lord Buddha engraved. The terra-cotta structure is one of the 14th century Nepalese architectural masterpieces.
Hiranya Verna Mahavihar:
Located inside, kwabadehal, this three storey golden pagoda of lokshwor (Lord Buddha) was built in the twelfth century by king bhaskar verma. Inside the upper storey of the pagoda,a re the golden image of lord buddha and a large prayer wheel.
Rudra Varna Mahavihar:
This unique buddhist monastery contains fine and amazing collection of images and statues in metal, stone and wood. It is believed that the kings in the ancient times were crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by the devotees can be seen here even today.
The Ashokan Stupas:
There are four ancient stupas popularly believed to have been built in 250 B.C. by emperor ahoka at the four corners of patan. The four stupas are situated in Pulchowk, lagankhel, ebahi and in teta (way to sano gaon) respectively. These stupas give evidence to the city’s ancient religious importance.
Temple Of Machhendranath And Minnath:
The Pagoda of red Machhendranath built in 1408 A.D. is situated in Tabahal. For six months the deity is taken to its other shrine in Bungmati. The temple of Minnath is situated in Tangal on the way to Tabahal.
Situated at Jawalakhel, the zoo has many animals, birds and reptiles in its collections mostly representing the Himalayan fauna. There is a beautiful pond built in 17th century A.D.
Located around 10-km south-east of Patan, this mountain, 2,758 m. High, is a good spot for hiking. A Buddhist shrine is situated on the top of the hill, which can be reached through a jeepable road.
The major tourist attractions in Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon):
Situated at an altitude of 1,401m Bhaktapur covers an area of 4-sq-miles. Shaped like a conch-shell, Bhaktapur means the city of devotees. Pottery and weaving are its traditional industries. The city lies about 14-kms east of Kathmandu and can be reached by public transport and by trolley buses. 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, etc. The statue of the King Bhupatindra Malla in the act of worship is placed on a column facing the palace of the many statues available in Nepal this is considered to be the most magnificent.
The National Art Gallery:
Contains ancient and medieval paintings belonging to Hindu and Buddhist schools depicting Tantrism of various periods and descriptions.
The Golden Gate is the entrance to the main countyard of the palace of 55 windows. Built King Ranjit Malla, the gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters of marvellous intricacy.
The Palace of 55 Windows was built in the 17th 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.
The Stone Temple of Batsala Devi which is also located in the Durbar Square is full of intricate carvings. This temple also sets a beautiful example of Shikhara style of architecture in nepal. There is a bronze be on the terrace of the temple which is also known as“ the bell of barking dogs”. This colossal bell, placed in 1737 A.D. was used to sound curfew during that time.
Nyatapola Temple – NepalThis five storey Pagoda was built in 1702 A.D. by King Bhupatindra Malla. It stands in a five-terraced platform. On each of the terraces squat a pair of figures; two famous wrestlers, two Elephants, two Lions, two Griffins and Baghini and Singhini – the Tiger and the Lion Goddesses. This is one of the tallest Pagodas and is famous for its massive structure and subtle workmanship.
This temple was first built as a one storey pagoda but later chaned into a three storey temple in 1718 A.D. by king bhupatindra malla. The temple is noted for its artistic grandeur. It is dedicated to lord bhairav- the god of terror.
Built in 1427 A.D. this temple is said to have been built from trunk of a single tree. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock windows
Situated in a beautiful surrounding of Bhadgaon, the temple of Ganesh is placed in a sylvan setting to catch the first rays of the rising sun. It is a good picnic spot flanked by many attractive landscapes.
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. and said to be the oldest temple in the valley.
Nagarkot is a popular tourist resort of Nepal. It is situated 32-kms East of kathmandu at an altitude of 2,175 m. Above the sealevel. The panorama of the major peaks of eastern nepal himalayas including sagarmatha (MT. Everest) can be seen from here.