Kathmandu valley consists of three main cities of great historic and cultural interest Kathmandu, Lalitpur (Patan) and Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon). Situated at an altitude of 1,336 m, the Kathmandu valley covers an area of 218-sq-miles.
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 AkashAkash Bhairab 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.
Located 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 GoddessBhadrakali. 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 Shesh 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 Dakshinkali is situated about 2-kms south of Shesh 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.
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