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Kathmandu valley is well-known as “The city of temples” as well as “The cultural hub of Nepal”. It is situated in a bowl shaped valley, surrounded by 10,000 feet high mountains. It is the capital of the kingdom of Nepal. It is said that the valley was once a big lake, which was created by Manjushree, who cut open the southern hill of Chovar to drain all the water. According to one of the legends the valley was named after “Kastha-Mandap” (kastha means wood and Mandap means temple in Sanskrit) an imposing pagoda near Hanuman Dhoka palace, which was built out of a single tree in 1596 by King Laxmi Narshingha Malla.

The valley is full of historic, artistic and cultural interests with the visibility of the peaks of majestic Himalaya from several parts. You can find uncountable Numburs of ancient golden pagoda temples and shrines throughout the valley with lots of inspiring Hindu and Buddhist dieties. Here you can find four out of the total ten world heritage sites in Nepal, which are: Pashupatinath temple (one of the most sacred hindu temples in the world), Boudhanath Stupa, Swyambhunath stupa and Basantapur Durbar Square.

Kathmandu Durbar Square (World Heritage Site)


In fact Kathmandu boasts one of the largest congregations of magnificent historical monuments and shrines ever built. Duly recognized as a world Heritage Site by UNESCO- this particular area best known as Kathmandu Durbar Square lies in the heart of the city. It is the historic seat of royalty. Clustered around the central Durbar Square is the old Royal Palace (Hanuman Dhoka), which serves as a museum that chronicles the life of the past rulers of Nepal, numerous interesting temples dedicated to different Hindu gods and goddess, the Kumari Bahal (House of the Living Goddess) and the Kasthamandap (House of Wood), built probably in the 12th century, a wonderful example of craftsmanship made from a single tree & from which Kathmandu derived its present name. An inquisitive exploration in the Durbar Square reveals the ancient art and architecture of Nepal , which has proved to be a masterpiece to everyone accepting its genuineness.

Most of the buildings we see here date from 15th to 18th century. The entire Palace Complex here is named after a monkey god called Hanuman. One can see a huge stone statue of Hanuman painted all red right next to the main entrance (the golden gate) of the palace. Hanuman here is regarded as a powerful protector of the entire Durbar Square . 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.

There are around 50 temples in the vicinity including the temple of titular deity, Taleju Bhawani. The Durbar is divided into two courtyards, the outer comprising Kasthamandap, Kumari Ghar, and Shiva-Parvati Temple, and the inner consisting of Hanuman Dhoka and the main palace. It also houses two museums. Important ceremonies, including the coronation of the Nepali monarch, are held in the Kathmandu Darbar Square. Most parts of the palace premise are open for tourists throughout the week during office hours.

Swayambhunath Stupa (World Heritage Site)


Swyambhunath lies about 3 km west of the city center, and is one of the major tourist attractions inside the Kathmandu valley. Located on the top of a small hill, the stupa commands a magnificent view of Kathmandu valley as well as the breathtaking panorama of the north-eastern Himalayan range. The stupa, believed to be built back in 250 B.C., is one of the holiest Buddhist shrines in Nepal, and is another remarkable UNESCO world heritage site. The holy structure with a thirteen tiered golden spire in conical shape surmounted over the big white dome, which represents the spotless pure jewel of Nirvana, stands over a typically stylized lotus mandala base. This is believed to be originated from a primordial lake whose establishment is linked to the creation of the Kathmandu Valley.

The stupa has four faces with a pair of seeing eyes of Buddha painted on each. There are hundreds of shrines and other historical monuments built in and around this stupa. There are two different ways to reach this site. One is from the west side which is a relatively short cut and another is from the east side where it leads to the main entrance with 360 steps leading all the way to the top.

Bouddhanath Stupa (World Heritage Site)


BoudhaBouddhanath Stupa lies about 6 km to the east of the city center and is one of the largest stupa in South Asia. It looms 36 meters high and presents one of the most fascinating specimens of stupa design, which was renovated by Licchavi rulers in the eighth century. The stupa is also known as Khasti and the mandala design on it’s base is a copy of the one in Gyangtse in Tibet. There are more than 45 Buddhist monasteries in the area, which has become one of the major tourist attractions of Nepal.


This hemi-spherical dome that symbolizes emptiness is one of the ten UNESCO world heritage sites in Nepal. There are many legends about the establishment of the stupa. According to one legend, during the ruling of king Vrishadev, there was a severe drought in the land. The King was very conscious of this problem and consulted his astrologers for the solution. They advised him to find a man with 32 auspicious marks and sacrifice him to propitiate the gods of the rain. The king then summoned his son, Mandev, to wake up early before dawn and sever the head of the person, whom he would find sleeping at a certain place. Mandev did exactly as his father asked and as soon as it was done the rain-fall started. So he got excited to tell this good news to his father, but he was horrified to discover that he had slain his own father. In his misery, the prince started praying infront of the goddess “Bajrayogini”. The goddess appeared and released a bird, commanding Mandev to build a stupa at the spot where the bird landed. This is how this great stupa was established.

Pashupatinath (World Heritage Site)


Pasupati Nath is one of the famous Hindu site of Nepal.Lord Shiva is known by many different names and Pashupatinath is one of them. Breaking down the words; Pashu means animal or leaving being, and Pati means master. In other words Pashupatinath means the master of all living beings of the universe. The Pashupati linga or Jyotirlinga has four faces and a fifth invisible one, which is said to be on top of the others. Pashupatinath Temple is considered one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. The richly-ornamented pagoda structure lies 5 km east of the city center and is situated amidst many other temples on the right bank of the holy river Bagmati. It is a double-roofed golden temple with four triple silver doorways. This holiest temple covers an area of 281 hectares, which is one of the biggest temple complexes in Nepal.

The date of construction of this temple is unknown. However, it is believed to be built by the Licchavi King Supuspadeva in the 6th Century. It was renovated by King Jyoti Malla in 1416 A.D. King Bhupatindra Malla reconstructed it in 1697. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the main temple. They can have a good view of the temple complex from the other side of the holy river Bagmati. There are lots of cremation places (ghats) along the right bank of the river. Hindus still believe that to die and get cremated here will release one from the cycle of repeated birth and death. All the visitors are requested not to go near to the cremation areas, since it can disturb the ritual activities, and are advised to take the photos from far.

Budhanilkantha Temple


Budhanilkantha It is the largest and the most important Vishnu shrines in the valley, which is situated at the Shivapuri foothill some 8 km to the north of Kathmandu. The main shrine consists of a giant granite image of lord Vishnu reclining on a bed of coiled snakes in the middle of a pond. Jalasaya Narayan – popularly known as Budhanilkantha is Lord Vishnu for Vaisnavs, Lord Shiva for Shaivas, and Lord Buddha for Buddhists. Buddhists and different sects of Hindus worship this god in the names of their faith. This outstanding artwork of Lichhavi sculptors dates back to 7th century and is the most beautiful among all the stone engravings within the Kathmandu Valley.


Kirtipur (A world heritage site)


Kirtipur is situated on a ridge 10 Km southwest of Kathmandu. The ancient Newar Township is a natural fortress and has a proud and courageous history. The Chilamchu stupa and the temple of Bagh Bhairab are major sights here. Kirtipur offer quaint streets lined with artistic houses and temple squares. The people are known for their skill in building and weaving.



The temple of Dakshinkali is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali and is one of the most popular places of worship in Kathmandu. Located 22 Km from the city center on the southern rim of the Valley, the shrine is especially crowded on Tuesdays and Saturdays when animal sacrifices are offered to the deity



Situated nine-kilometer southwest 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. On the way back, stop at Chobhar gorge. The narrow gash in the hills was made by Lord Manjushree to drain out the lake, which once covered the Kathmandu valley.


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