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Sightseeing Kathmandu

Bouddhanath
Bouddhanath is among the largest stupas in South Asia, and it has become the focal point of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. The white mound looms thirty-six meters overhead. The stupa is located on the ancient trade route to Tibet, and Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayers here for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many of them decided to live around Bouddhanath. They established many gompa's, and the "Little Tibet " of Nepal was born. This is still the best place in the valley to observe Tibetan lifestyle.

Bhaktapur
The city of the devotees is the marvel of Kathmandu Valley. It is also known as Bhadgaon and was founded in 889 AD by King Anand Dev. Today it covers an area of four square miles and is flanked by Khasa Khusung and Hanumante Rivers. Baktapur is perhaps the most popular of the three Newar towns of the Kathmandu Valley.Baktapur is perhaps the most popular of the three Newar towns of the Kathmandu Valley. Newar art and architecture here rival the best craftsmanship of the Malla period (from the 12th to the the 18th century). Though a massive earthquake of 1934 destroyed many temples, bahals(monastery courtyards), and residences, the city is still a living proof of the highest craft standards in this part of the world. As the visitor wanders through the narrow brick paved streets, many alleys will show hidden shrines and statues. Clay craftsmanship as well as cloth weaving is still practiced here very much as in the past. Fourteen kilometers east of Kathmandu, this peaceful, conservative town stands in sharp contrast to the bustle of its two adjacent cities.
After seeing one or all of these monuments of the Kathmandu Valley, the visitor needs to realize that, of course, the world Heritage sites are only the trip of the iceberg. There are countless other monuments to see in the Kathmandu Valley, as there are shrines, statues, and religious images in almost every alley. Only the gods know how old most of these are. There are many pleasant walks and hikes around the Valley, with the
Himalayas as a grand backdrop. And the original charm which lured Lord Shiva still welcomes you. Welcome to Nepal, the country where the gods come to holiday!

Budhanilkantha
The Vishnu statue at Budhanilkantha was found buried in the ground in its original state. The statue is estimated to be a thousand years old and shows Vishnu lying on the cosmic water before the universe was created. Shivapuri looms over Budhanilkantha and visitors find much peace there. You will be able to observe local people perform

Changu Narayan
Changu Narayan: Narayan, or Vishnu, is the preserver of creation to Hindus. His temple near Changu village is often described as the most ancient temple in the Kathmandu Valley. a fifth century stone inscription, the oldest to be discovered in Nepal, is located in the temple compound and it tells of the victorious King Mandev. The temple, now covers sixteen hundred years of Nepalese art history. The temple, built around the third century, is decorated by some of the best samples of stone, wood, and metal craft in the valley. In the words of one tourist guide,"When you look upon Changu Narayan, you observe the complete cultural development of the Valley".
On the struts of the two-tiered Changu Narayan Temple, are the ten incarnations in which Narayan destroyed evil-doers. A sixth-century stone statue shows the cosmic from of Vishnu, while another statue recalls his dwarf incarnation when he crushed the evil King Bali. Vishnu as Narsingha disemboweling a demon is particularly stunning. The western bronze doors sparkle in the evening sunlight, dragons decorate the bells, and handsome devas stare from the walls. Garuda, half man and half birds, is the steed of Vishnu, and his life-sized statue kneels before the temple. The favorite of many tourists is the statue of Vishnu sitting astride his steed.A couple of hours' drive from
Kathmandu takes you to the hilltop temple. Baktapur, a medieval city and aWorld Heritage Site, is en route and is worth a trip. puja every morning and evening.

Daksinkali
The temple at Daksinkali is dedicated to the ferocious mother goddess who has much energy an power. It is said that she gives strong will power and energy to those who come to her and she loves sacrifices. The temple is tantric in nature and is a favorite worship place of the Hindus. Saturdays are good days to visit as there is always a massive crowd of worshippers who come from all parts of Nepal to offer prayers.

Kathmandu Durbar Square
It is easy to be overwhelmed by the seemingly unaccountable monuments in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. The house of the Living Goddess, the ferocious Kal Bhairab, the red monkey god, and hundreds of erotic carvings are a few examples of the sights at the Square. The buildings are the greatest achievements of the Malla dynasty, and the resulted from the great rivalry between the three palaces of Kathmandu, Patan and Baktapur. For visitors today, and for the Nepalese, it was serendipitous that they and later their offspring's, began an artistic warfare trying to outdo each other in splendid constructions. Kathmandu Durbar Square is amongst the most important sights for travelers to see.

Pashupati
One day Lord Shiva got tired of his glittering place on Mt.Kailash, his armies of ghosts and spirits, and even Parbati - his beautiful wife. Through his cosmic powers, he searched for a perfect place where he could holiday. Without telling anyone, he ran away from his place and came to live in Slesmantak Forest in the Kathmandu Valley. He gained great fame here as Pashupati - Lord of the animals - before other gods discovered his hiding place and came to fetch him.
The Pashupati where he stayed has received the attention of worshippers for at least fifteen hundred years;it is the holiest Hindu pilgrimage destination in Nepal. There are linga images of Shiva along with statues, shrines, and temple dedicated to other deities in the complex. A temple dedicated to Shiva existed at this site in AD 879. However, the present temples was built by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1697. A gold-plated roof, silver doors, and wood carvings of the finest quality decorate the pagoda construction. Guheswari Temple, restored in AD 1653, represents the female "force". It is wife, who gave up her life in the flames of her father's fire ritual.
Lord Shiva once more escaped from Kailash and came back to Pashupati as a hunter, but Parbati followed him disguised as a beautiful huntress. Shiva tried to seduce her, and discovering her true identity returned home shamefully. Kirateswar Temple commemorates this rather unfortunate jaunt.
A circuit of the Pashupati area takes visitors past a sixth-century statue of the Buddha, an eighth-century statue Brahma the creator and numerous other temples. Some other places to visit are Rajrajeswari Temple, built in 1407, Kailash with lingas more than 1,400 years old, Gorakhnatemple, and the courtyard of Biswarup. There are rows of Shiva shines and Hindu pilgrims from all over
South Asia offering puja worship to Shiva, the Lord of Destruction.
The
Bagmati River flows close by and the Arya Ghat cremation grounds are here. We strongly advise photographers not to take photos of cremations and of bereaved families. Sadhus, sages who follow the lifestyle of Shiva, may be seen covered in ashes and loin- cloths. They ask for money in case you want to take their photos. The main Pashupatinath courtyard may be entered by those of Hindu faith only.

Patan
The ancient city is situated on the southern bank of the river Bagmati and is about 5 km southeast of Kathmandu. The city is full of Buddhist monuments and Hindu temples with fine bronze gateways, guardian deities and wonderful carvings.

Patan Durbar Square
The square boasts of many famous sites and unique architecture.Krishna Mandir in the Patan Durbar Square was built to honor the incarnation of Vishnu. The Bhimsen temple which honors Bhim, a great wrestler, brother of the Pandavs, and the deity to Nepalese businessmen, contains fine samples of metal craft. The best place however to see metal sculpture is the Hiranya Karna Mahabinar, the Golden Temple. The Sundari Chowk contains exquisite samples of woodcarvings, stone and metal sculptures. A must to visit !

Swayambhu
The history of the valley, according to the legends, begins with Swayambhu, or "the self-existent". In times uncharted by history Bodhisattva Manjusri came across a beautiful lake during his travel. He saw a lotus that emitted brilliant light at the lake's center, so he cut a gorge in a southern hill and drained the waters to worship the lotus. Men settled on the bed of the lake and called it the Kathmandu Valley. From then on, the hilltop of the self-existent Lord has been a holy place.
Swayambhu's light was covered in time because few could bear its intensity. By the thirteenth century, after many layers were added to the original structure that enveloped the Lord's power, a dome-like shape had been acquired. The stupas central mast was damaged and replaced at that time. Peripheral sources of power were discovered on the hilltop as well and stupas, temples and rest houses were built to honor them. Images of important deities, both Buddhist and Hindu, were also installed. Today, ago-old statues and shrines dot the stupa complex. Behind the hilltop is a temple dedicated to Manjusri of Saraswati the goddess of learning.
Swayambhu is, perhaps, the best place to observe the religious harmony in Nepal. The stupa is among the most ancient in this part of the world, and its worshippers are diverse from Newar nuns, Tibetan monks, and Brahmin priests to lay Buddhist and Hindus. The largest image of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal is in a monastery next to the stupa. Other monasteries here have huge prayer wheels, fine Buddhist paintings, and special butter lamps, which may be lit after presenting monetary offerings.
Swayambhu is a major landmark of the Valley and looks like a beacon below the Nagarjun hill. It provides an excellent view of the Kathmandu Valley. Devotees have climbed the steps on the eastern side for centuries. Statues of the Buddha, mini stupas, monasteries and monkeys make the climb to Swayambhu - which is fairly steep - worthwhile. But for someone who is physically disabled or is pressed for time, the western road allows you to get off your transport almost at the base of the stupa.



 

 
 
 

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