Kathmandu valley consists of three main cities of great historic and cultural interest Kathmandu, Lalitpur (Patan) and Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon).Kathmandu city is the premier cultural and economic hub of Nepal and is considered to have the most advanced infrastructure among urban areas in Nepal. From the point of view of tourism, economy and cultural heritage, the sister cities of Patan(lalitpur) and Bhaktapur are integral to Kathmandu. Kathmandu, as the gateway to Nepal Tourism, is the nerve centre of the country’s economy.
Kathmandu is the capital and largest metropolitan city of Nepal. The city is the urban core of the Kathmandu Valley in the Himalayas, which also contains two sister cities namely Patan or Lalitpur, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to its southeast and Bhaktapur, 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) to its east. It is also acronymed as 'KTM'.
The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) in the bowl-shaped valley in central Nepal surrounded by four major mountains, namely: Shivapuri, Phulchowki, Nagarjun and Chandragiri. It is inhabited by 1,081,845 (2011,Central Bureau of Statistics) people. The Kathmandu valley with its three districts including Kathmandu District accounts for a population density of only 97 per square kilometres whereas Kathmandu metropolitan city has a density of 13,225 per square kilometres. It is by far the largest urban agglomerate in Nepal, accounting for 20% of the urban population in an area of 5,067 hectares (12,520 acres) (50.67 square kilometres (19.56 sq mi)).
Kathmandu is not only the capital of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal but also the headquarters of the Central Region (Madhyamanchal) among the five development regions constituted by the 14 administrative zones of Nepal located at the central part of the country. The Central region has three zones namely, Bagmati, Narayani and Janakpur. Kathmandu is located in the Bagmati Zone
Kathmandu, as the gateway to Nepal Tourism, is the nerve centre of the country’s economy.
The city’s rich history is nearly 2000 years old, as inferred from an inscription in the valley. Its religious affiliations are dominantly Hindu followed by Buddhism. People of other religious beliefs also live in Kathmandu giving it a cosmopolitan culture. Nepali is the common language of the city, though many speak the Nepal Bhasa Newari as it is the center of the Newar people and culture. English is understood by all of the educated population of the city.
Patan also known as ‘Lalitpur’ literally, the City of Artisans, lies 5km southeast of Kathmandu, and is home to the valley’s finest craftsmen who preserve ancient techniques such as repoussé and the lost wax process, still producing exquisite pieces of sculpture. The city retains much of the old charm with its narrow streets, brick houses and the multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries (Vihars). The predominant sound in Patan is not motor vehicles but the tinkering of craftsmen bent over the statuettes they are shaping. As in Kathmandu, Hinduism and Buddhism have co-existed here for ages, influencing each other and the religious harmony is exemplary.
Perched on a hill at an altitude of 1,401m, Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon, literally the City of Devotees, is a major tourist attraction taking visitors back in time. Covering an area of 4 sq. miles, this city retains the charming paved roads, red brick houses and a way of life that goes back to medieval times. The extraordinary ‘Durbar Square’ with its celebrated Golden Gate and extraordinary Palace of Fifty-Five windows reflects the glory days of the Malla Dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three cities of the valley. Situated 14km east of Kathmandu, this ancient city is also famous for pottery and woodcarving amply displayed on the squares and windows respectively.
Places to Visit in Kathmandu
Kathmandu Durbar Square (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Situated in the heart of old Kathmandu city at Basantapur, Kathmandu Durbar Square never fails to impress first time visitors with its ensemble of palaces, courtyards and temples built during the Malla period. The Durbar Square includes the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace, the historic seat of the royalty; the magnificent Taleju Temple towering more than 40 meters; Kumari Ghar, the residence of the Living Goddess, Kumari; Ashok Vinayak, also called Kathmandu Ganesh, a temple without a filial ; and Kal Bhairav, the God of Wrath. The capital takes its name from the giant pagoda of Kasthamandap, which is said to have been built out of a single tree. Since the time of the Malla kings, the Durbar Square has been the city’s social, religious and political focal point.
Believed to have been built in the 12th century, the temple enshrines Akash Bhairav, a ferocious manifestation of Lord Shiva. The three-storey temple with tiled roofs, a hanging balcony, gilded and latticed windows and an artistic doorway lies in the main market avenue called Indra Chowk.
Once the center of old Kathmandu, the Asan market square is located about midway on the only diagonal thoroughfare in Kathmandu that links Durbar Square with Durbar Marg. At Asan, there are six roads radiating in all directions. The three-storied pagoda style Annapurna Temple of Annapurna, the Goddess of Grains, presides over the ever-lively bazaar. Asan is still an important shopping center and one of the busiest market places with shops selling anything from imported spices to kitchenware, fresh vegetables, Chinese goods, hardware and clothes.
Swyambhunath Stupa (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Resting on a hillock 3 km west of Kathmandu, it is one of the holiest Buddhist Chaityas in Nepal. It is said to have evolved spontaneously when the valley was created out of a primordial lake more than 2,000 years ago. This stupa is the oldest of its kind in Nepal and has numerous shrines and monasteries on its premises.
Pasupatinath Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Situated 5 km east of Kathmandu, the temple of Lord Shiva is considered one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. The two-tiered pagoda with golden roofs and silver doors houses the sacred linga, or phallic symbol, of Lord Shiva. Chronicles indicate the temple existed before 400 A.D. Near the Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River lies Guheswari, where, according to mythology, a portion of Sati Devi, Lord Shiva’s consort, fell when a grief-stricken Shiva wandered aimlessly across the earth carrying her dead body on his shoulders following her self-immolation.
Bouddhanath Stupa (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Situated 8 km to the east of downtown Kathmandu, Bauddhanath is one of the most imposing landmarks in Kathmandu, visible as soon as you land at the Tribhuvan International Airport. It is the largest stupa in the Kathmandu Valley and is the center of Tibetan Buddhism.
Three kilometers north-west of Kathmandu lies the Balaju Garden, a quiet park ideal for relaxation just below the Nargarjun hill. The park has a line of 22 stone water spouts built in the 18th century, each of which has an ornately carved crocodile head. During an annual festival, people come here to take a ritual bath. A replica of the stone image of Budhanilkantha was built here specifically for the royal family who were barred from visiting the real one. Above Balaju lies the Nagarjun forest (5 km northwest of Kathmandu). The summit (2,096 m) is a two-hour walk, from where great views of the Kathmandu Valley and a number of Himalayan peaks can be had. There is a Buddhist stupa and a view tower on the summit.
As the tourist district of Kathmandu, Thamel bustles with activity late into the night. It is a mere10-minute walk from the center of Kathmandu, yet completely different from the rest of the city. Thamel caters entirely to tourists with its scores of hotels, rows of restaurants and bars, book shops, inviting souvenir shops, cyber cafes and travel agencies. All that a tourist needs can be found here, even friends and traveling companions.
Garden of Dreams
At the entrance of Thamel, the Garden of Dreams within the Kaiser Mahal complex has now been renovated and restored to its former glory. Major attractions in this 24-acre garden include neo-classical pavilions, fountains, decorative garden furniture, Chinese Moon Gate and European inspired features such as pergolas, balustrades, urns and birdhouses. Today it is open to the public with a restaurant and bar.
The largest of Vishnu’s stone statues, Budhanikantha lies at the foothills of the Shivapuri hills, 8 km north of the Kathmandu city center. The large granite figure of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of serpents known as ‘Nagas’, seems to float in a pond. This shrine dates back to the 5th century.
It is situated on a ridge 8 km southwest of Kathmandu. The ancient Newar township - with its brick-paved streets lined with typical red brick houses and tiled roofs, and temple squares - is a natural fortress. The Chilamchu stupa and the temple of Bagh Bhairav are major attractions here. Tribhuvan University, Nepal’s premier seat of education, is located at the foothills of Kirtpur.
Lying 18 km south of Kathmandu on the valley rim, Pharping is perched on a hilltop with a Buddhist monastery. Pharping’s main attraction is an elaborate 17th-century temple which houses a glided image of Goddess Bajra Jogini. Other fascinating sights here include a cave and a hand-imprint of the Buddhist saint Padmasambhav on the rock face over its entrance.
Four kilometers further south of Pharping on the valley rim is the temple of Dakshinkali dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. The shrine is especially crowded on Tuesdays and Saturdays when animal sacrifices are offered to the deity. On the way lies Chobhar gorge. The Bodhisatva Manjushree is said to have cut an incision here to drain out the lake which once covered the valley. There is a small but picturesque temple of Adinath on the top of a hill from where one can have a panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains.
Situated between Chobhar and Dakshinkali, the temple of Shesha 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.
Places to Visit in Patan or Lalitpur
Patan Durbar Square
Patan durbar sq. an area to go to within the capital is organized at the put concentration of Lalitpur town close to the national capital. As we all know it’s one amongst the 3 room Squares within the national capital depression. Talking concerning one amongst the simplest attractions in Patan is that the Ancient Royal Palace. This place is wherever Malla Kings of Lalitpur one amongst the therefore known as and best ruler resided. The room sq. could be a marvel of Newa design. The sq. floor is covered with red blocks. Their square measure varied sanctuaries and symbols within the vary.
The principal sanctuaries square measure adjusted inverse of the western face of the royal residence. The passage of the sanctuaries confronts east, towards the royal residence. there’s to boot a chime organized within the arrangement near to the first sanctuaries. The sq. likewise holds recent Newari personal homes. The Malla Kings created important changes to the sq.. the bulk of this engineering is from the 1600s, engineered amid the rule of King Siddhinarasimha Malla and his kid Srinivasa. some of the placing Mallas Kings World Health Organization increased the sq. incorporates Purandarasimha, Shivashimmha Malla, and Yoganarendra Malla. Patan is one amongst the foremost seasoned understand Buddhist town. it’s a put concentration of each Hinduism and Buddhism with 136 bahals or patios and fifty-five note-worthy sanctuaries. an oversized portion of those structures squares measures within the region of the room sq.
It is organized within the core of town it’s the concentration purpose for a few guests. The sq. is loaded with antediluvian royal residences, sanctuaries and holy places, to boot noted for his or her pretty carvings. The Patan room sq. includes 3 primary chocks or yards, the Central Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshar Narayan Chowk. The Sundari Chowk holds in its middle an ideal work of art of stone style, the Royal bathtub known as Tushahity. it had been recorded within the United Nations agency World Heritage Monument list in 1979.
Somewhat more east from Patan room sq. lies this Buddhist sanctuary manufactured from earth blocks during which an enormous range of images of Lord Buddha incised. The ceramic ware structure is one among the fourteenth-century Nepalese engineering good works of art.
In the southeast patio of Patan, you will all of a sudden observe the approaching shadows of an engineering wonder. This is the sanctuary of Mahabouddha, a holy place in the district. The sanctuary, which was initially worked in 1585 was completely recreated after the 1934 tremor. In any case, since the place didn’t have any outlines or plans for work, the real developed sanctuary is unique in relation to the first one. The sanctuary has a considerable measure of daylight and is worked in the common Shikhara style. The many earthenware tiles that cover it have picture of Buddha. The sanctuary is additionally demonstrated on the real Mahabouddha Temple at Bodhgaya in India. The Patan-style metal statues can be shopped close to this place. While strolling here you will likewise run over little Shaivite and Vasihnavite Temples.
Rudra group Mahavihar
This exceptional Buddhist cloister contains a fine and gorgeous accumulation of images and statues in metal, stone, and wood. it’s sure that the Kings within the archaic circumstances were delegated during this nonsecular community. a substantial heap of the fortunes offered by the aficionados is seen here even these days.
Ganga and Jamuna, goddesses in Mul Chowk broken amid the quake plan is regarding total. these days it’s frequently used as a reclamation region by craftsman. The area was worked in 1666 and is thought because of the core of room sq. it’s presently terribly plain beside the plated figures straight ahead Ganga and Jamuna, goddesses of the waterway framework that keeps running from the chain of mountains and therefore the copper sanctum within the center. twenty years previous the yard was lavishly improved in wood work till the purpose once many robberies left it exposed. Proceed through to Sundari Chowk.
Tushahiti step-well in Sundari Chowk The centerpiece fascination is while not question the stunning Tushahiti step-well within the put attentiveness of the area. Worked in 1647 by King Siddhinarasimha Malla for custom ablutions.
Places to Visit in Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar is a diamond for the whole country, and the most interesting structure here is the incredibly famous 55 window royal residence. The extravagantly cut windows and entryways are something that guests can’t resist respecting. The seat of eminence before 1769 AC, the building now houses the National Art Gallery; this historical center is best known for its rich gathering of paubha scroll canvases and amazing works of art in stone. The world-renowned Golden Gate rubs bear with the 55 window castle. An unparalleled example of craftsmanship going back to 1756, it is the passageway to the radiant Taleju Temple Complex. Getting into it prompts various imaginatively outlined patios including the Royal Bath, which is enhanced with the all-around appreciated Golden Faucet among others.
Another work of art that unfailingly entrances the guests in the square is the Big Bell. Sufficiently huge to coordinate its name, the chime was raised by Ranajit Malla, Bhaktapur’s last Malla King. It was utilized as a part of those days for paying respect to Goddess Taleju, the genealogy god of Malla rulers, and in addition to calling congregations of the residents to talk about on given subjects concerning the state. Today, it is rung twice per day as a sign of tribute to the goddess. Appropriate beside it is a littler Barking Bell, shockingly, all mutts around it begin crying the minute it is ringed by its guardian.
The Yaksheswor Mahadev Temple similarly adds to the Square’s unparallel excellence. Named after its manufacturer Lord, Yaksha Malla, the two-storied pagoda was built after Kathmandu’s reality popular Pashupatinath sanctuary. It is noted for its wooden struts loaded with sensual journey locales.
Other eminent landmarks in and around the notable Durbar Square are: he octagonal Chyasin Mandap, Siddhi Laxmi Temple, Shiva Temple (Fasi-dega), Vatsala Temple, Bhandarkhal Complex, Chatu Brahma Mahavihar, Indrayani Temple, Balakhu Ganesh Temple, Tripura-sundari Temple and the Char Dham symbolizing the four biggest Hindu journey destinations.
The Palace of 55 Windows:
The Palace of 55 Windows was worked in the seventeenth century by King Bhupatindra Malla. Among the block dividers with their charitable setting and sculptural outline, is an overhang of 55 windows. This gallery is an artful culmination of wood carving.The Stone Temple of Batsala Devi which is likewise situated in the Durbar Square is loaded with many-sided carvings. This sanctuary additionally sets a lovely case of Shikhara style of engineering in Nepal. There is a bronze be on the patio of the sanctuary which is otherwise called the “ringer of yapping mutts”. This enormous chime, put in 1737 A.D. was utilized to sound check in time amid that time.
The Nyataponla Temple directs the Taumadhi Square. Going back to 1702 AD, the giant five-storied building is the nation’s tallest pagoda sanctuary. The struts, entryways, windows, and tympanums – each adorned with alluringly cut awesome figures – impeccably depicts the innovative custom of Newar experts. The sanctuary is committed to Goddess Siddhi Laxmi, the appearance of female power and innovativeness. The most recent significant redesign of this landmark was done in 1997 AD by Bhaktapur Municipality utilizing the income it gathered from sightseers. By the Naytaponla Temple is the rectangular molded Bhairavnath Temple. It houses a floated bust of Bhairav, the savage indication of Lord Shiva. The three-storied pagoda was annihilated to the grounds by the 1934 seismic tremor, and its most recent redesign was embraced by Bhaktapur Municipality in 1995 AD.
The encased complex confronting the Nyataponla Temple is devoted to Tilmadhav Narayan, an appearance of Lord Vishnu, who is one of the Supreme Triumvirate of Hindu pantheons. A couple of ventures ahead it, toward the southwest, lays the popular Pottery Square, where guests can see the city’s outstanding potters making differently molded and estimated stoneware. The major amazing feature of this square is a sanctuary of Jeth Ganesh, which goes back to the fourteenth century. There are different sanctuaries in Taumadi Square like Nyataponla Temple, Bhairav Temple, Teel Mahadeva Narayan Temple and some more.
This is Bhaktapur’s third astonishing pearl. The seat of sovereignty till the fifteenth century, the territory still houses an awesome number of noteworthy landmarks including numerous wondrous chateaus and sanctuaries. The Dattatreya sanctuary is the fundamental fascination of the square. Developed by King Yaksha Malla, the mammoth three-story sanctuary is accepted to have been worked from a solitary tree. Having challenged arrangement of catastrophes, despite everything it bears declaration to the staggering accomplishment made in those glorious days of the Nepalese history.
The Wane Layaku complex, which misleads the south-western corner of the Dattatreya sanctuary, is noted for Bhaktapur’s second Taleju hallowed place. Encased with old houses, the yard sees throngs of individuals, particularly amid the Dashain celebration, when an uncommon Ghau-batacha (water clock) is put on the open show. Amid the Malla period, the water-clock was utilized by the then rulers and celestial prophets for settling “hopeful minutes” for starting and closing different state and social functions. The peacock window, which is likewise called the Mona Lisa of Nepal, is an uncommon magnum opus in wood.
Going back to the mid fifteenth century, the one of a kind latticed window has a demonstratively cut peacock in its inside. The window embellishes the Pujari Math which, with columns of impeccably cut windows and entryways, is similarly engaging. The building directly houses the Woodcarving Museum. The gallery has a rich accumulation of exceptional pieces in wood. The Brass and Bronze Museum, housed in the memorable Chikanpha Math, is the following feature of the square. It has a wide accumulation of bronze and brasswares including the custom containers, utensils, water vessels, pots, spittoons and comparable other family things. Close to the Dattatreya Square is the Wakupati.
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