Kathmandu Basic Information
The Sights and Sounds of Kathmandu Valley with its three fabled cities Yen ( Kathmandu ), Yala ( Patan) and khopa ( Bhaktapur) and seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Once a big lake, the valley was created by a Buddhist saint Manjushree by draining out the water. The valley's civilization over the centuries can be seen at couple of palaces, temples and traditional art of culture and it is protected as the Heritage Site in the social, religious and urban focal point of the city. It is called as Hanuman Dhoka. The site guarded by God Hanuman, the temple-resident of Kumari (Living Goddes) as Kasthamandap, after which the word Kathmandu is named.
Places to visit in Kathmandu
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square, also known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar, used to be the residence of the Nepali royal family and administrators. This ancient palace lies in the heart of the city. It consists of huge Palace with different temples, inside as well as outside the temple, dating from the 15th to the 18th century. This palace is named after Hanuman, the monkey god, as a stone statue of Hanuman is placed right next to the main entrance protecting the whole palace. The key attractions of this place are Taleju temple; built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 AD. Jagannath temple, Kala Bhairab; the god of destruction, Kumari Temple (living goddess temple) Nautalle Durbar (nine storied palace), the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of King Pratrap Malla, the huge Drum etc. Just on the right corner, a large wooden pattern screen hides an enormous gilded face of Sweta Vairav. This screen is removed only during the Indra (the god of rain) Jatra festival. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monuments in 1979.
Temple of Kumari
The temple and the holy quadrangle with a Buddhist stupa at the center form the residential quarters of the Chaste Virgin Living Goddess called KUMARI. The traditional building has profusely carved wooden balconies and window screens. The non-Buddhist and the non-Hindu visitors may enter the courtyard called the 'bahal' but may not proceed beyond upstairs. The KUMARI acknowledges their greetings from the central window of the balcony particularly saved for Her alone and snapshot is strictly prohibited.
Located nearby the Temple of Kumari, this is a unique type of wooden temple also known as Maru Satal. It was built in 1596 A.D. by King Laxmi Narsingh Malla. They say the timber used for its relevant construction was sawed out of a single tree. It is also believed that the capital of Kathmandu derived its new name from this very 'Kastha Mandap.' Today it houses the Hindu God namely Gorakh-Nath.
The Pashupatinath Temple is the largest Hindu temple and is considered to be the holiest of all Hindu Temples in world. This is a two-tiered golden temple with four silver doorways, hundreds of Shiva linga's, shrines and holy symbols. It is located on the holy river-Bagmati, 6km east of Kathmandu, the temple of Lord Shiva. Non-Hindus are not allowed into this temple. But the visitors can see the temple and the other activities performed in the temple from the eastern bank of the Bagmati River clearly.
It is believed that this temple was built long before the Christian era begins. Its original beauty still remains with the beautifully sculpted stone sculptures found here. Thousands of Hindus come here each year on Shivaratri. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monuments in 1979.
This is the largest stupa in Nepal and it displays typical Buddhist architecture was built in 250 B.C. This white dome is regarded as a spotless and pure jewel or Nirvana. It has thirteen tiers representing the elevator to Nirvana and a pair of painted eyes on all four sides of this stupa symbolizing the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha. The key attractions are Dewa Dharma Monastery noted for a bronze icon of Buddha and traditional Tibetan paintings. The huge gold plated Vajra set in the east side of the stupa etc. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monuments in 1979.
This is a huge Buddhist stupa located about 7 km east of Kathmandu. This ancient huge stupa stands on a massive mandala style platform and has features similar to the Swayambhunath though its final is bigger. This stupa is one of the biggest in the world. It is said that this stupa was built during the 5th century A.D. Every year in winter; thousands of pilgrims from neighboring countries come to visit this place. Visitors also use to come here on the occasion of Lord Buddha's birthday.
It is situated about 8km north from Kathmandu, at the base of Shivapuri hill (watershed area). It has remarkable huge statue of Lord Vishnu reclining on a bed of snakes. This is one of the masterpieces of stone sculptures of the Lichhavi period (Nepal had many rulers before Shah Dynasty). This is the statue from 5th century is in the middle of a small pond and seems to float in water.
The temple of Dakshinkali is located about 2km south of Kathmandu. It is regarded as one of most important Hindu goddesses. Pilgrims visit this temple to offer their prayers and animal sacrifices are made to the goddess.