The Kathmandu valley, the political, commercial cultural hub of Nepal is famed for its natural beauty and historic, holistic place. Once a separate kingdom in itself, it contains three fabled cities, Kathmandu, Patan & Bhaktapur. Each is an artistic exposition of graceful temples, elegant palaces, brick paved courtyards and quaint streets. As a whole, the valley is surrounded by tier upon tier of green mountain walls above which tower mighty snow capped peaks. The valley is rich in places of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhists. Both of their deities dwell side by side by both tantric symbolism and ancient animistic beliefs.
A very old Hindu text has described Kathmandu as the land of gods surrounded by beautiful mountain around. It is said that there were as many temples as there were house and many idols as there were people. In fact Kathmandu boasts one of the largest congregations of magnificent historical monuments and shrines ever built.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Duly recognized as a world Heritage site by UNESCO this particular area best known as Kathmandu Durbar Square lies in the heart of this city. The locals know this area by its old name Hanuman Dhoka Palace Square an ancient seat of the Nepalese Royalty.
Hanuman Dhoka Palace complex consists of a huge Royal Square exposing a tremendous variety of temples dedicated to different Hindus gods and goddess. Most of the buildings we see here date from 15th to 18th century.
Swayambu Nath Stupa
Three kilometer west of Kathmandu city complex locates the one of the worlds most glorious Buddhist Stupas, it is said to be 2000 years old. Visitors often call it "Monkey Temple". The main structure brick and clay which supports a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. There are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha on the four sides of spire. Being situated seventy meter above the level of valley, the hill of Swayambhu Nath is a mosaic of small stupas and pagoda temples. Aside, in front of the temple, one of the famous goddess with the shrine of Ajima called "Harati Mata" is there. This temple of goddess believes to be famous in the way of tantric. Both the Stupa of Lord Buddha and temple of a goddess are surrounded by other temples and Tibetan monasteries. Being located in the top level of valley, this place is famous for visitors for sightseeing.
Pasupati Nath Temple
Pashupati Nath temple being the temple of Lord Shiva possessed its two-tiered golden roof and silver doors and is famous for its superb architecture. The temple is situated 5 kilometer east of Kathmandu heart, on the banks of sacred Bagmati River. Being one of the most important Hindu temples, this is a center of annual pilgrimage. From time immortal, the Pashupati area has contained numerous temples, stupas, monasteries, images and inscriptions. Not only is the Pashupati area a pilgrimage site for the Hindus and it is also an important cultural treasury for the whole world. Only Hindus are permitted to enter from the main gate.
Boudha Nath Stupa
One of the oldest and the biggest Buddhist monuments ever built in Nepal, Boudhanath is an imposing structure standing some 36 meters. The Stupa stands on the massive three level mandala style platform surrounded by colorful private family houses. The basic feature of this great stupa is very much like those of Swayambhunath stupa except its finial displaying. It is much bigger than Swayambhu Stupa and lies on the valley floor where s former one stands on the hilltop. This stupa is said to have been built in 5th century AD.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan located on lovely little plateau across the Bagmati is only 7-k.m southeast of Kathmandu. This city roughly inhabited by some 125000 people in considered oldest of all three cities of Kathmandu valley. This city founded in 3rd century AD. By King Veera Dev has a finest Newar crafts since time immemorial. Meaning the city of fine arts has hundreds of fascinating Hindu and Buddhist monuments scattered in and around. The most important monument area of course is Patan Durbar Square. Recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The Square has been described as one of the most picturesque collection of buildings that have been set up so small a place by the piety of oriental man. Most of the monuments in this square date back to the medieval Malla period 15th to 17th century as the golden period of Nepalese art and architecture. The important things to be seen in this area include the G olden Gate and the golden Window of the old Palace; the beautiful piece of traditional metal crafts; the famed Krishna temple with 21 golden pinnacles; the Royal bath of Sundari chowk; a perfect piece of the classic work in stone. Royal Taleju temple; Viswa Nath Temple and Char Narayan temple are the finest examples of the unique craftsmanship in wood; the temple of Bhimsen with the magnificent golden balcony overlooking the square outside plus many other shrines and sculptures scattered in and around the square.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Situated at an altitude of 1401 meter above sea level Bhaktapur only is a very unique old town. This city divided into 24 traditional locality covers an area of 5 square kilometers. Founded by King Anand Dev in 889 AD Bhakatapur is said to have been built in the shape of conch shell a sacred symbol of Lord Vishnu. The word Bhaktapur means the city of devotees. Before the unification of Nepal, Bhaktapur was an independent principality ruled by the Malla Kings, who were very much devoted to religion, culture and art. During the period many magnificent temples and mansions were built. This period is remembered as golden period in the Nepalese art and remains a unique example.
Changu Narayan Temple
The temple of Changu Narayan situated on the hillock of Dolagiri to the north of Bhaktapur is one of the oldest temples in Nepal. Situated at an altitude of 5000ft. This temple has its distinct historical and architectural significance. The most authentic and oldest ever inscription is located in the precinct of Changu Narayan. The oldest inscription dated 464 AD is a credited to have been set up by Lichchhavi King Manadeva. The erection of Garuda Piller by Manadeva is expression of his devotion and reverence to Chang Narayan as learnt from the inscription, points that the temple of Changu Narayan was built sometime before 464 AD.