Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing

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Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing

NepalNepalKathmandu

Maximum number of tourists: 20
Price per tour: 250 USD
Duration: 0 hours
Distance: 0 km
Tour by: karki Baburam (Date: 11.03.2013)

Tour description

The Kathmandu Valley is indeed a sole type of valley, wearing an unusual setting. Twenty-five centuries back it stood as a large lake. The Kathmandu valley (1300m) is surrounded by row of green mountain walls above which tower mighty snow-capped peaks. This tour might be one of the best trips to have a full picturesque view of the valley. The rich arras of the cultural heritage of Nepal is synthesized in the Kathmandu valley as well as further closest religious and cultural destination.

Kathmandu valley is the political, commercial and cultural hub of Nepal and is the first stop for the majority of visitors to the country. The valley today incorporates three major settlements; Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan, each have their own distinctive character with outstanding temples, works of art and architecture and a varied calendar of feasts and festivals, all three have their roots in being capital cities of the valleys three principality's in times gone by. The three cities contain 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The ancient cities of the valley – Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, Kirtipur, Chovar and Dakshinkali represent an epitome of harmony in urban design, elegant architecture and refined culture. The Kathmandu valley tours provide us the chance to have the sightseeing of some places like:-

Kathmandu’s Durbar Square

The Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. 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 preference for the construction of royal palaces at this site dates back to as early as the Licchavi period in the third century. Even though the present palaces and temples have undergone repeated and extensive renovations and nothing physical remains from that period, names like Gunapo and Gupo, which are the names referred to the palaces in the square in early scriptures, imply that the palaces were built by Gunakamadev, a king ruling late in the tenth century. When Kathmandu City became independent under the rule of King Ratna Malla (1484-1520) the palaces in the square became the royal palaces for its Malla kings. When Prithvi Narayan Shah invaded the Kathmandu Valley in 1769, he also favored the Kathmandu Durbar Square for his palace. Other subsequent Shah kings continued to rule from the square until 1896 when they moved to the Narayan Hiti Palace. However, the square is still the center of important royal events like the coronation of King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah in 1975 and King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah in 2001.

Though there are not any written archives stating the history of the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the construction of the palace in the square is credited to Sankharadev (1069-1083). As the first king of the independent Kathmandu City, Ratna Malla is said to have built a Taleju temple at the Northern side of the palace in 1501. For this to be true then the temple would have had to have been built in the vihara style as part of the palace premise surrounding the Mul Chok courtyard for no evidence of a separate structure that would match this temple can be found within the square.

The construction of the Karnel Chok is also not clearly stated in any historical inscriptions although it is probably the oldest among all the courtyards in the square. A Bhagavati Temple, originally known as a Narayan Temple, rises above the mansions surrounding it and was added during the time of Jagajaya Malla in the early eighteenth century. The Narayan idol within the temple was stolen so Prithvi Narayan Shah replaced it with an image of Bhagavati, completely transforming the name of the temple.

The oldest temples in the square are those built by Mahendra Malla (1560-1574). They are the temples of Jagannath, Kotilingeswara Mahadev, Mahendreswara, and the Taleju Temple. This three-roofed Taleju Temple was established in 1564, in a typical Newari architectural style and is elevated on platforms that form a pyramid-like structure. It is said that Mahendra Malla, when he was residing in Bhaktapur, was highly devoted to the Taleju Temple there; the Goddess being pleased with his devotion gave him a vision asking him to build a temple for her in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. Then with a help of a hermit, he designed the temple to give it its present form and the Goddess entered the temple in the form of a bee.

His successors Sadasiva (1575-1581), his son, Shiva Simha (1578-1619), and his grandson, Laksminar Simha (1619-1641), do not seem to have made any major additions to the square. During this period of three generations the only constructions to have occurred were the establishment of Degutale Temple dedicated to Goddess Mother Taleju by Shiva Simha and some enhancement in the royal palace by Laksminar Simha.

It was in the time of Pratap Malla, son of Laksminar Simha, that the square was extensively developed. He was an intellectual, a pious devotee, and he was especially interested in arts. He called himself a Kavindra, king of poets, and boasted that he was learned in fifteen different languages. A passionate builder, following his coronation as a king, he immediately began enlargements to his royal palace, and rebuilt some old temples and constructed new temples, shrines and stupas around his kingdom.

During the construction of his palace, he added a small entrance in the traditional, low and narrow Newari style. The door was elaborately decorated with carvings and paintings of deities and auspicious sings and was later transferred to the entrance of Mohan Chok. In front of the entrance he placed the statue of Hanuman thinking that Hanuman would strengthen his army and protect his home. The entrance leads to Nasal Chok, the courtyard where most royal events such as coronation, performances, and yagyas, holy fire rituals, take place. It was named after Nasadya, the God of Dance, and during the time of Pratap Malla the sacred mask dance dramas performed in Nasal Chok were widely famed. In one of these dramas, it is said that Pratap Malla himself played the role of Lord Vishnu and that the spirit of the Lord remained in the king's body even after the play. After consulting his Tantric leaders, he ordered a stone image of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Nara Simha, the half lion and half human form, and then transferred the spirit into the stone. This fine image of Nara Simha made in 1673 still stands in the Nasal Chok. In 1650, he commissioned for the construction of Mohan Chok in the palace. This chok remained the royal residential courtyard for many years and is believed to store a great amount of treasure under its surface. Pratap Malla also built Sundari Chok about this time. He placed a slab engraved with lines in fifteen languages and proclaimed that he who can understand the inscription would produce the flow of milk instead of water from Tutedhara, a fountain set in the outer walls of Mohan Chok. However elaborate his constructions may have been, they were not simply intended to emphasize his luxuries but also his and the importance of others' devotion towards deities. He made extensive donations to temples and had the older ones renovated. Next to the palace, he built a Krishna temple, the Vamsagopala, in an octagonal shape in 1649. He dedicated this temple to his two Indian wives, Rupamati and Rajamati, as both had died during the year it was built. In Mohan Chok, he erected a three roofed Agamachem temple and a unique temple with five superimposing roofs. After completely restoring the Mul Chok, he also donated to the adjoining Taleju Temple. To the main temple of Taleju, he donated metal doors in 1670. He rebuilt the Degutale Temple built by his grandfather, Siva Simha, and the Taleju Temple in the palace square. As a substitute to the Indreswara Mahadeva Temple in the distant village of Panauti he built a Shiva temple, Indrapura, near his palace in the square. He carved hymns on the walls of the Jagannath Temple as prayers to Taleju in the form of Kali.

At the Southern end of the square, near the Kasthamandapa, which was the main city crossroads for early traders, he built another pavilion named Kavindrapura, the mansion of the king of poets. In this mansion he set an idol of dancing Shiva, Nasadyo, which today is highly worshipped by dancers in the Valley.

In the process of beautifying his palace, he added fountains, ponds, and baths. In Sundari Chok, he established a low bath with a golden fountain. He also built a small pond, the Naga Pokhari, in the palace adorned with Nagakastha, a wooden serpent, which is said he had ordered stolen from the royal pond in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. He also restored the Licchavi stone sculptures such as the Jalasayana Narayana, the Kaliyadamana, and the Kala Bhairav. An idol of Jalasayana Narayana was placed in a newly created pond in the Bhandarkhal garden in the Eastern wing of the palace. As a substitute to the idol of Jalasayana Narayana in Buddhanilkantha, he channeled water from Buddhanilkantha to the pond in Bhandarkhal due bestow authenticity. The Kalyadana, a manifestation of Lord Krishna destroying Kaliya, a water serpent, is placed in Kalindi Chok, which is adjacent to the Mohan Chok. The approximately ten feet high image of terrifyingly portrayed Kal Bhairav is placed near the Jagannath Temple. This image is the focus of worship in the chok especially during Durga Puja.

With the death of Pratap Malla in 1674, the overall emphasis on the importance of the square also came to a halt. His successors retained relatively insignificant power and the prevailing ministers took control of most of the royal rule. The ministers encountered little influence under these kings and, increasingly, interest of the arts and additions to the square was lost on them. They focused less on culture than Pratap Malla during the three decades that followed his death, steering the city and country more towards the arenas of politics and power, with only a few minor constructions made in the square. These projects included Parthivendra Malla building a temple referred to as Trailokya Mohan or Dasavatara, dedicated to Lord Vishnu in 1679. A large statue of Garuda, the mount of Lord Vishnu, was added in front of it a decade later. Parthivendra Malla also added a pillar with image of his family in front of the Taleju Temple.

Around 1692, Radhilasmi, the widowed queen of Pratap Malla, erected the tall temples of Shiva known as Maju Deval near the Garuda image in the square. This temple stands on nine stepped platforms and is one of the tallest buildings in the square. Then her son, Bhupalendra Malla, took the throne and banished the widowed queen to the hills. His death came early at the age of twenty one and his widowed queen, Bhuvanalaksmi, built a temple in the square known as Kageswara Mahadev. The temple was built in the Newari style and acted as a substitute for worship of a distant temple in the hills. After the earthquake in 1934, the temple was restored with a dome roof, which was alien to the Newari architecture.

Jayaprakash Malla, the last Malla king to rule Kathmandu, built a temple for Kumari, Durga in her virginal state. The temple was named Kumari Bahal and was structured like a typical Newari vihara. In his house resides the Kumari, an immature girl who is revered as the living goddess. He also made a chariot for Kumari and in the courtyard had detailed terra cotta tiles of that time laid down.

During the Shah dynasty that followed, the Kathmandu Durbar Square saw a number of changes. Two of the most unique temples in the square were built during this time. One is the Nautale, a nine storied building known as Vasantapur Durbar. It has four roofs and stands at the end of Nasal Chok at the East side of the palace. It is said that this building was set as a pleasure house. The lower three stories were made in the Newari farmhouse style. The upper floors have Newari style windows, sanjhya and tikijhya, and some of them are slightly projected from the wall. The other temple is annexed to the Vasantapur Durbar and has four-stories. This building was initially known as Vilasamandira, or Lohom Chok, but is now commonly known as Basantapur or Tejarat Chok. The lower floors of the Basantapur Chok display extensive woodcarvings and the roofs are made in popular the Mughal style. Archives state that Prthivi Narayan Shah built these two buildings in 1770.

Rana Bahadur Shah was enthroned at the age of two. Bahadur Shah, the second son of Prithivi Narayan Shah, ruled as a regent for his young nephew Rana Bahadur Shah for a close to a decade from 1785 to 1794 and built a temple of Shiva Parvati in the square. This one roofed temple is designed in the Newari style and is remarkably similar to previous temples built by the Mallas. It is rectangular in shape, and enshrines the Navadurga, a group of goddesses, on the ground floor. It has a wooden image of Shiva and Parvati at the window of the upper floor, looking out at the passersby in the square. Another significant donation made during the time of Rana Bahadur Shah is the metal-plated head of Swet Bhairav near the Degutale Temple. It was donated during the festival of Indra Jatra in 1795, and continues to play a major role during the festival every year. This approximately twelve feet high face of Bhairav is concealed behind a latticed wooden screen for the rest of the year. The following this donation Rana Bahadur donated a huge bronze bell as an offering to the Goddess Taleju. Together with the beating of the huge drums donated by his son Girvan Yudha, the bell was rung every day during the daily ritual worship to the goddess. Later these instruments were also used as an alarm system. However, after the death of his beloved third wife Kanimati Devi due to smallpox, Rana Bahadur Shah turned mad with grief and had many images of gods and goddesses smashed including the Taleju statue and bell, and Sitala, the goddess of smallpox.

In 1908, a palace, Gaddi Durbar, was built using European architectural designs. The Rana Prime Ministers who had taken over the power but not the throne of the country from the Shahs Kings from 1846 to 1951 were highly influenced by European styles. The Gaddi Durbar is covered in white plaster, has Greek columns and adjoins a large audience hall, all foreign features to Nepali architecture. The balconies of this durbar were reserved for the royal family during festivals to view the square below.

Time and again the temples and the palaces in the square have gone through reconstruction after being damaged by natural causes or neglect. Presently there are less than ten quadrangles in the square. The temples are being preserved as national heritage sites and the palace is being used as a museum. Only a few parts of the palace are open for visitors and the Taleju Temples are only open for people of Hindu and Buddhist faith.

Some of the parts of the square like the Hatti Chok near the Kumari Bahal in the Southern section of the square were removed during restoration after the devastating earthquake in 1934. While building the New Road, the Southeastern part of the palace was cleared away, leaving only fragments in places as reminders of their past. Though decreased from its original size and attractiveness from its earlier seventeenth century architecture, the Kathmandu Durbar Square still displays an ancient surrounding that spans abound five acres of land. It has palaces, temples, quadrangles, courtyards, ponds, and images that were brought together over three centuries of the Malla, the Shah, and the Rana dynastity.

Patan Duarbar Square

This whole square is a cluster of fine pagoda temples and stone statues; it is at the same time the business hub of the city. At every step one comes across a piece of art or an image of a deity, testifying to the consummate skill of Patan's anonymous artists. The ancient palace of the Malla kings and the stone baths associated with various legends and episodes of history are especially interesting to visitors. The stone temple of Lord Krishna and the Royal Bath (Tushahity) with its intricate stone and bronze carvings are two other masterpieces in the same vicinity.
Hiranya Varna Mahabihar
This three-storey golden pagoda of Lokeshwar in Patan was built in the twelfth century A. D. by King Bhaskar Varma. Located in the courtyard of Kwabahal, this temple is in a class of its own. A golden image of Lord Buddha and a big prayer wheel can be seen on the pedestal of the upper part of the Car while intricate decorative patterns on its outer walls add charm to the mellow richness of the shrine.
Kumbheshwar
This is a five-storey pagoda-style temple of Lord Shiva. Inside the courtyard is a natural spring whose source, it is said. is the famous glacial lake of Gosainkunda. This temple was built by King Jayasthiti Malla while the golden finial was added later, in 1422 A.D. He also cleaned the pond near Kumbheshwar and installed various images of Narayan, Ganesh, Sitala, Basuki, Gauri, Kirtimukh and Agamadevata around the pond and in the courtyard. Ritual bathing takes place here every year on the day of Janai Poornima.
Jagat Narayan
The Jagat Narayan temple is a tall shikhara-style temple consecrated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is built of red bricks on the bank of the Bagmati at Sankhamul and enshrines many stone images. The fine metal statue of Garuda placed on a stone monolith is quite eye-catching and is accompanied by similarly placed images of Ganesh and Hanuman.
Krishna Temple
The temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in Patan's Palace complex. Though its style is not wholly native, it is one of the most perfect specimens of Nepalese templecraft. The three-storey stone temple continues to elicit high praise from lovers of art and beauty. It was built by King Siddhi Narasingha Malla in the sixteenth century A. D. Important scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics have been carved in bas-relief. The minute details of this work clearly show the high level that the art of stone carving attained in the sixteenth century.
Mahaboudha
The temple of Mahabouddha is a masterpiece of terra-cotta. Like the Krishna Mandir, it reveals an artistic tradition which evolved outside of Nepal and shows how native Nepalese craftsmen have been able to do justice to an unfamiliar art form. This temple was built by Abhaya Raj, a priest of Patan and is sometimes referred to as the temple of a million Buddhas because every single brick bears a small image of Buddha. There is an astonishing total of nine thousand bricks. It was levelled to the ground in the great earthquake of 1933 but was rebuilt exactly to the original specifications, proving that the templecraft is still one of the living arts of Nepal.
Ashokan Stupas
Popularly believed, though not proven without doubt to have been built by Ashoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India, these stupas stand at four different corners of Patan, giving the whole city a monastic character. All these Buddhist mounds were built in 250 A.D.at the time when Buddhism was making headway in the Kathmandu Valley.
Machhendranath Temple
The temple of Red Machchhendranath is another center of attraction in Patan. The temple lies in the middle of a wide, spacious quadrangle just at the outer rim of the market place. A fine clay image of Red Machchhendranath Avalokiteshwar is housed here for six months every year, after which it is taken round the city of Patan in a colourful chariot during the festival beginning in April-May and lasting sometimes for several months.
The Tibetan Camp
An attraction of a different kind is the Tibetan Camp on the outskirts of Patan. The small Tibetan population living here has set up a number of shrines and stupas as well as several souvenir shops offering authentic Tibetan handicrafts such as prayer wheels of wood, ivory, silver or bronze, long temple horns made of beaten copper, belt buckles, wooden bowls and jewellery. In this area, the Tibetans can be seen weaving carpets by hand.

Pashupatinath
Pashupatinath, or Pashupati, is a Hindu temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Deopatan, a village 3 km northwest of Kathmandu. It is dedicated to a manifestation of Shiva called Pashupati (Lord of Animals). It attracts thousands of pilgrims each year and has become well known far beyond the Kathmandu Valley. The temple is barred to non-Hindus, but a good view of the temple can be had from the opposite bank of the river.
History

It is not known for certain when Pashupatinath was founded. Tradition says it was constructed by Pashupreksha of the Somadeva Dynasty in the 3rd century BC, but the first historical records date from the 13th century. The ascetic Pashupata sect was likely related to its foundation.

Pashupati was a tutelary deity of the ancient rulers of the Kathmandu Valley; in 605 AD, Amshuvarman considered himself favored by his touching of the god's feet.

By the later Middle Ages, many imitations of the temple had been built, such as in Bhaktapur (1480), Lalitpur (1566) and Benares (early 19th century). The original temple was destroyed several times until it was given its present form under King Bhupalendra Malla in 1697.

According to a legend recorded in local texts, especially the Nepalamahatmya and the Himavatkhanda, the Hindu god Shiva once fled from the other gods in Varanasi to Mrigasthali, the forest on the opposite bank of the Bagmati River from the temple. There, in the form of a gazelle, he slept with his consort Parvati. When the gods discovered him there and tried to bring him back to Varanasi, he leapt across the river to the opposite bank, where one of his horns broke into four pieces. After this, Shiva became manifest as Pashupati (Lord of Animals) in a four-face (chaturmukha) linga.

Boudhanath

Boudhanath is only three and half miles from Kathmandu, and is a busy suburb of the capital. The Boudhanath temple, or Boudhanath Stupa, is the main reason visitors head toward the town. It is the main focus of tourism in the area because of it is the largest stupa found in Nepal and the holiest of all Buddhist temples outside of Tibet. The stupa in Boudhanath is the focal point of Tibetan culture inside of Kathmandu and all major holy Buddhist events and festivals are celebrated there. If you're lucky enough to be in Boudhanath during the Tibetan New Year, or Losar festival, you'll be treated to one of the most distinctive Boudhanath sights and the largest celebration in the country.
Boudhanath was a largely unknown, and infrequently visited town until the mid-1980s. Up until the 1980s, there was little infrastructure or tourist development here. The history of Boudhanath dates back to the fourteenth century, proceeding the infiltration of the Mughal people. No historian truly knows the reasons for its establishment but there are several theories. One is that the area was settled by Tibetan Buddhists after the invasion by the Chinese in 1959 with the Bodnath Stupa being the leading attraction as a place of holy pilgrimage. The Boudhanath temple eventually put the town on the map and the number of visitors have steadily increased.

One of the notable Boudhanath sights is the simple yet strong presence of both mountain Sherpas and Tibetans. The clearest evidence of these cultural groups is in the large number of eateries selling thukpa and momos—two Tibetan favorites—along with a wide variety of other Tibetan food that has come to be an attraction in itself. For those who haven't traveled through a country with strong Buddhist ties, seeing the endless stream of monks and nuns is an experience to remember. Watching an early morning procession is one of the top things to do. Though evidence of these respected figures might sway one to believe Boudhanath is a tranquil place ideal for finding quiet, don't be fooled. Boudhanath is noisy and congested and the only way to find true quiet is to pop in some ear plugs. Most suburbs of Kathmandu still experience the congestion the capital does, although to a much lesser degree due to size differences. Boudhanath is mostly choked by traffic and crowded with people.

The Boudhanath temple appears as a huge mandala, an illustration of the Buddhist macrocosm. The five Buddhas adorning the mandala are found on all Buddhist mandalas the world over. They are the four Dhyani Buddhas which mark the pivotal points, with Vairocana (the fifth Buddha) eulogized in the middle. These five distinct Buddhas represent water, earth, air, fire, and ether which are all evident in the architecture of the stupa. There are endless symbolic carvings and adornments to discover when visiting the Boudhanath temple.
Other top Boudhanath sights include the colorful Shechen Monastery situated in the back alley near the main stupa. Monastery tours are another popular way to explore this important Nepali city. Tours explain the history of the stupa and surrounding temples with guides present to answer any questions. There are a handful of good hotels to choose from for anyone wanting to stay overnight in Boudhanath. There are also several good dining options, from street vendors to small restaurants. Anyone interested in Buddhist temples should make a point to visit the Boudhanath Stupa, even if just during a day trip from Kathmandu.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur is listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and pottery and handicraft. Actually Bhaktapur is really crucial for the Hindu temples, Museums, Newari People.It has own its features which attracts lots of tourists for the sight seeing, tyhere is lots of hindu philoshopy.
Bhaktapur is famous for the following:It is the home of traditional art and architecture, historical monuments and craft works, magnificent which are really local products.windows, pottery and weaving industries, excellent temples, mostly temples are belong to the Hindusm actually Hindus is the not follower of somebody's philoshopy, but it follows some natural attributes, vedic assumptions which unwritten science of overall knoledge of everything in the context of Nepal. Beautiful ponds, rich local customs, culture, religion, festivals, musical mystic and so on these this are einherited by different generation of the local people. Bhaktapure people are follower of Hindusm, they organize and different religious festival and perform too. Every ceremonies and feast gives their own significats, you will gain lots of knowledge regarding the Bhaktapur and its culture, for it you need to take a city guide as well.Bhaktapur is still an untouched as well as preserved ancient city, which in fact, is itself a world to explore for tourist , many tourists used to go there for their day trip programme.

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