The Kathmandu valley has its origins in lake, which saint Manjushri who came from China to worship at Swayambhu and drained off the water by cutting a gorge through the surrounding hills to the south. The fertile land supported large settlement, and over the millenniums, the different dynasties that ruled the valley patronized an urban civilization the was itricately woven around Hinduism and Buddhism.
The Gopals and Kirati dynasties of the earliest times were followed by the Lichchhavi. Trade and crafts flourished under them, and they built magnificent temples, palaces and monuments. But the valley's fabulous cities with their exquisite architecture, ornate Palaces and artistic temples that we have come to appreciate so much owe their ingenuty to the Malla kings who ruled the valley from the 12th to the 18th centuries. Kathmandu is known as a "city of the temples".
Sightseeing in Nepal
Kathmandu Durbar Square:
Kathmandu Durbar Square with its numerous pagoda temples, sacred courtyards, the historic Hanuman Dhoka, Royal Palace and the Kumari Chhen (residence of the Living Goddess), it has been the ceremonial focal point of many state-level rituals and religious festivals since Malla times. The capital takes its name from the Kasthamandap pavilion, which is said to have been built out of a single tree. Entrance Rs. 750 for foreigners and 100 for SAARC nationals. Kathmandu Durbar Square is listed in the World Heritage Site in 1979 (A.D.) by UNESCO.
Swayambhu stupa also called monkey's temple is watching over Kathmandu from a hillock 3 KM to the west, the Stupa is believed to have evolved spontaneously at the time of the valley’s creation. Also known as Sengu, the more than 2,000 year old Stupa is one of the holiest Buddhist shrines in the country. Encircling the base of the structure is prayer wheel which pilgrims spin as they circumambulate the Stupa. There are numerous other shrines and monasteries on the premises. Entrance Rs. 250 for foreigners and 50 for SAARC nationals. Swayambhunath Stupa is listed in the World Heritage Site in 1979 (A.D.) by UNESCO.
Pashupatinath is one of the holiest Hindu temples in the world, situated just 5 km to east of the city center. Straddling both shores of the Bagmati river, the glided-roofed pagoda houses one of only a few multi-faced Shiva lingas (phallic symbol of Lord Shiva). Besides the main temple, there are hundreds of other images, shrines, rest houses and the ghats (platform for cremation). Entrance Rs. 500 for foreigners and Rs.50 for SAARC nationals. Pashupatinath Temple is listed in the World Heritage Site in 1979 (A.D.) by UNESCO.
Boudhanath Stupa lies 1 km north of the Pasupatinath Temple and is a center of Buddhist pilgrimage. The stupa is one of the most imposing landmarks in Kathmandu. Around the stupa are more than 45 monasteries belonging to different Buddhist sects. Entrance Rs. 150 for foreigners and Rs. 50 for SAARC nationals. Boudhanath Stupa is listed in the World Heritage Site in 1979 (A.D.) by UNESCO.
Changu Narayan Temple:
Changu Narayan Temple in one of the oldest specimens of pagoda architecture in the valley. Stone tables at the entrance have inscriptions dating to the Lichhavi period. Situated on a hill 12 km to the east of Kathmandu, and overlooking Bhaktapur, this Bishnu temple is rich in wood and stone carvings. Around the temple are many fine images dating from the Lichhavi and Malla times. Changunarayan Temple is listed in the World Heritage Site in 1979 (A.D.) by UNESCO.
Patan Durbar Square:
Patan Durbar Square once the seat of the Malla kings, it is a complex of palace buildings, courtyards with exquisitely carved sunken baths and pagodas. The Krishna Mandir is one of the finest specimens of Shikhara architecture in the country. You can take a tour of the palace complex as well as the nearby monasteries of Oku Bahal, Mahabouddha and Acheswar Mahabihar and Hindu temple of Kumbheswar. Entrance Rs. 500 for foreigners and Rs.100 for SAARC nationals. Patan Durbar Square is listed in the World Heritage Site in 19799 A.D.) by UNESCO.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the showpiece of this palace complex, with its many courtyards and pagoda and Shikara style temples, is the 15th- century Palace of 55 windows and the Golden gate, which is rich in repousse art. The ancient city of Bhaktapur is home to some of the rarest and probably the finest examples of Nepalese woodcarving art and architecture. Entrance Rs. 1100 for foreigners and Rs.150 for SAARC nationals. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is listed in the World Heritage Site in 1979 (A.D.) by UNESCO.
Kirtipur lies 6 km to the southwest of Kathmandu, just past the prestigious Tribhuban University.
The town, which dates from 1099 A.D., straddles two hills with a large pond in between. It is a natural fortress with deep hillsides. It offers quaint streets leading to temple squares. The people here have a reputation as weavers and builders. Things to see here include the Chilamchu Stupa atop the southern hill and the temple of Bagh bhairav on the northern one. The Shiva Parvati Temple offers a magnificent view of the capital. It is recommended that you can visit by a short walk to nearby village of Panga in you have some time.