Places to visit in Nepal
Nepal is blessed with diverse cultures, ancient arts and crafts, religions and world heritage sites. The country quietly nestles itself in the Himalayas and cast its magic on the travelers who visit Nepal to experience.
There are many sightseeing spots within and outside Kathmandu valley that offer the travelers to visit beautiful villages, farmlands, national parks, shrines and monuments. Trek Himalayan organizes various tours and sightseeing packages that include cultural excursions, river rafting, wildlife safari, village tours and many others tourism related activities in different popular destinations of tourist interest in Nepal for individuals and groups.
Kathmandu is a capital city of Nepal, enriched with temples more than homes and festivals exceeding the number of days in a year. The whole valley with its seven heritages sites has been enlisted in Cultural World Heritage Site list. The city, with three Durbar Squares- Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur along with Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath, Swoyambhunath and Changunarayan are the familiar places for sightseeing within the Kathmandu valley and Dhulikhel, Nagarkot, Dakshinkali, Phulchoki, Kirtipur at the rim of Kathmandu valley are most popular sites to explore the ancient art and architecture.
Major attractions in Kathmandu
Kathmandu Durbar Square (World Heritage Site)
The Kathmandu Durbar Square is an overwhelming frenzy of art and architecture. The medieval palace complex belongs to Malla and Shah Kings who ruled over Kathmandu in the past. Along with these palaces, the square also surrounds quadrangles revealing courtyards and temples. The square is presently known as Hanuman Dhoka, a name derived from the statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, near the entrance of the palace. The royal palaces at this site dates back to as early as the Licchavi period in the third century.
Pashupatinath Temple (World Heritage Site)
One of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated on the banks of the sacred river Bagmati and has been considered the pilgrimage site for the Hindus. It is built in the familiar pagoda style with its two-tiered golden roof and silver doors, displaying superb Nepalese architectural craftsmanship. Entrance to the main temple is permitted only to Hindus, however visitors can clearly see the temple and the activities performed on the temple premises from the eastern bank of the Bagmati river.
Bouddhanath (World Heritage Site)
It is the world’s biggest stupa located about two kilometers north of Pashupatinath temple. This colossal Stupa with all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha is known by Bouddha Nath, the god of wisdom. It is said to have been built by Lichchhavi King Mana Dev in the fifth century A.D. It is built on an octagonal base inset with prayer wheels. The design is much like the Swayambhu Stupa, except the squares recede instead of circles. Bouddhanath attracts Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world.
Swoyambhunath, Monkey temple (World Heritage Site)
The Swoyambhu Stupa crowns a hillock to the west of Kathmandu. A massive white dome surrounded by a 13stage spire, the stupa is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal. It is said to be 2000 years old. Its origins are linked to the founding of the Kathmandu Valley by draining the water of the lake by Boddisattva Manjushree. Swoyambhu manifested in the lake as a brilliant light emanating from a lotus and Manjushree let the water out by slashing a passage through the surrounding hills to facilitate paying homage to Swoyambhu, thus making the valley inhabitable.
About eight kilometers north of Kathmandu, at the base of Shivapuri hill, is remarkable, colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of snakes. The sculptured statue belongs to Lichchhavi period, the fifth-century. It is placed in the middle of a small pond and seems to float on the surface of the water. It is a popular pilgrimage site for Hindus.
Akash Bhairav Temple
This temple is a three-story structure located on a busy market street, called Indra Chowk. The image of Akash Bhairav is displayed outside for a week during Indra Jatra, the festival of Indra, the god of rain.
Machchhendra Nath Temple
The temple of Sweta Machchhendra Nath is located at Machchhendra Bahal between Indra Chowk and Asan. It is a pagoda of considerable artistic beauty. It has a two-tiered bronze roof and a courtyard full of stupas and statuaries. It is surrounded by residential houses and busy shops. The god within the shrine is Padmapani Avalokiteshwor, worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists. This deity is also called Jammadyo or Machchhendra.
This historical building lies near the temple of Kumari. It is said to have been built by King Laxmi Narsingha Malla in the beginning of the sixteen century although it may be twice as old. Legend says it was constructed from the wood of a single tree, thus its name, Kasthamandap, or “Pavilion of Wood”. The current structures dates back no more than 500 years and houses the beautiful images of four Vinayaks (Surya Vinayak, Chandra Vinayak, Jal Vinayak and Karna Vinayak) of the Kathmandu Valley.
It is the house like pavilion located at the left hand side of the huge courtyard in the vicinity of the Hanuman Dhoka Palace. The building has many carved wooden balconies and window screens. It was built by Jaya Prakash Malla, the last Malla King of Kathmandu. Although certain aspects of Kumari worship and her annual festival parade existed in ancient times, the modern-day chariot festival was inaugurated by Jaya Prakash Malla in the mid-eighteenth century. Non-Hindu visitors can enter the courtyard, but are not allowed beyond that point. The Kumari Goddess acknowledges greetings from well wishers from her balcony window. Photography is prohibited. The Kumari Goddess, is also known as the Virgin Goddess. She is nominated from the Newar Shakya caste and should be virgin with no body marks or injuries. When she achieves puberty she is replaced by another Kumari.
The temple of Dakshinkali is situated about two kilometers south of Shekha Narayan temple. Dakshinkali is an important place for pilgrims who visit this temple to offer prayers and animal sacrifices to the Goddess Kali. Apart from the religious importance, the site has also been popular as a picnic spot.