KATHMANDU CITY

The city is previously known as “Kantipur” by its ancient name, which means the city of beauty and Glory. The city got its present name by Kastamanadap, a rest house made of with signal legendry tree. In shape it resembles the sword of Devi (Goddesses). It is said to have been founded by Raja (King) Gunakama Deva in 723 A.D. Durbar squire of Kathmandu, Kumaris Ghar, Shyambhunath Stupa, Pasupatinath Temple, Bouddhanath Stupa, Basantapur Darbar Squire, National Musum, Taleju Mandir, Kastamandap, Machchhendranath Temple, Dharahara, Budahanilkantha, Singha Darbar and Narayanhiti Royal Palace etc., epitomizes a grand show-pieces of architecture and religious importance.



Kathmandu Durbar Square

The Kathmandu valley with its tri-cities- Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktpur (Bhadgaou), (an open-air museum) was divided by King Yaksha Malla in 15th Century. These cities are full of historical monuments, temples, stupas and many other places of cultural and artistic heritage. In fact one can find more temples than houses. Green hills and mountains surround the Kathmandu valley with snow-caped peaks along its northern and eastern horizons. The beautiful view of glittering pagodas, temples, white edifices and red hamlets seen in romantic setting of hills and dale remains an ineffable memory. Kathmandu, the capital of the Kingdom of Nepal lies in the heart of the valley. It length from east to west is about 20 miles and its breadth from north to south is about 15. It is situated at an elavation of 1350 meters above the sea level at the confluence of the two rivers The Bagmati and Bisnumati inside the valley.

Kathmandu Durbar Square is in the heart of the city. The locals rather than Kathmandu Durbar Square most often call it the Hanuman Dhoka Palace on account of the big sculpture of the Monkey god – Hanuman placed at the entrance of the Palace, which is now a museum that houses the souvenirs of Shah Kings. You must visit the following areas inside the boundary of Durbar squire like The Kumari Ghar – house of Living Goddess, Taleju Mandir, Shiva Parvati Temple, Basantapur Durbar and various shrines situated inside the square premises, carvings, Bhairav temple which is worth visiting. Thus, the Durbar Squares were made, so rich in artifacts and craftsmanship. Kathmandu Durbar Square was listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

The Kumari Ghar

Near the Kathmandu Darbar Squire lies the temple “The Kumari Ghar” of living Goddess (Vestal virgin) with profusely carved wooden balconies and windows. The temple built in 1757 A.D. by king Jaya Prakash Malla. It is the palace where “Kumari”, (The living Goddess, chosen by the priests out of Sakya clan, who lives in the temple until she attains womanhood) resides. This Temple of a three storied structure is decorated with carved pillars all around the courtyard. Sometimes the Kumari can be seen appearing behind the latticed bay window. At the time of the grand Indra Jatra festival, She emerges from the temple and goes in a procession through the thoroughfare of the city to receive homage from the people. But photography is strictly prohibited.

Pashupatinath

This is the most imposing pagoda styled two-tiered, golden-roofed temple, which holds a very strong religious belief. Pashupatinath is the sacred shrine of Lord Shiva, the guardian deity of Nepal. Situated at the banks of the Bagmati, the Secret River, 5km east of Katmandu city center, this holy place is picturesque collection of temples and shrines. It is strongly believed by Nepalese that if a Hindu takes his/her last breath at Pashupatinath and his/her body is cremated here and ashes are sprinkled in the holy water of Bagmati. This act releases a soul from the cycle of rebirth and finds the ultimate nirvana or salvation. Pashupatinath dates back to 400A.D. On the annual festival of Shivaratri (February/March), many pilgrims not only from all parts of Nepal but also from the neighboring India visit to pay homage to Lord Shiva. The Pasupatinath Temple was listed in UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 1979.

Swayambhunath

The History of the valley according to the legend begins with the Sayambhunath “The Self-existent’, which means self-creation. Swaymbhunath Stupa is the most ancient and the most mysterious of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu Valley. It is considered to be more than 2000 years old. In time uncharted by history, a Bodhisattva sage, Manjushree came across a beautiful lake during his travel. He saw a lotus that emitted brilliant light at the center of the lake so he cut a gorge in the southern hill and drained the waters to worship the lotus. People settled on the bed of the lake and called Kathmandu valley. From then on, the hilltop of the self was covered with lights in time because few could bear its intensity.


By the end of 12th century A Muslim ruler came to Katmandu and destroyed many stupas and temples including that one. After 13th century it we re-constructed to it original structure in dome-like shape and many stupas and temples, and rest houses were built to honour them. Images of important deities both Buddist and Hindu were also installed. Both Hindus and Buddhists equally worship Swayambhunath even though it is a Buddhist Stupa. Every part of the Stupa holds a religious belief; according to Buddhism the thirteen gilded circles of the spire symbolize the thirteen steps that lead to nirvana or ultimate salvation – Moksha; the eyes on each of Stupa’s four sides symbolize the God’s all-seeing perspective that God is looking everywhere to distinguish justice from injustice. The third eyes on each face of the Stupa symbolize wisdom. It is also believed that the only way to salvation is through Buddhism.The stupa is most ancient in this part of the world. Swayambhunath Stupa was listed in UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979.


Bouddhanath

Boudhanatha is among the largest Stupas in south Asia. And it has been the focal point of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. The Stupa is located 6km east of the city center in ancient trade route to Tibet and Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayed here for many centuries. Boudhanath is believed to have been built by King Man Deva in 5th century. The huge Stupa stands 36m high on the ancient trade route to Tibet. It is believed that Bouddhanath Stupa was built in the 5th century and entombs the remains of a Kasyap sage who is respected by both Hindus and Buddhists. Most Tibetan refugees, who migrated in the 1950s to Nepal, decided to settle around Bouddanath and many Gompas and monasteries were made a little Tibet in Nepal. So, Boudhanath is one of the most auspicious pilgrimage sites for Tibetan Buddhist.

The Boudhanath Area is a visual feast with colorful “Thankas” Tibetan Jewelers, hand Owen, carpets, and Masks and “Khukuris” knives). This little Tibet is still best place in the valley to observe Tibetan lifestyle; monks walk about in maroon rubles. Tibetans walk with prayer wheels in their hands and some of the prayers make circulated the Stupa on the hand and knees going down to their lord. Devotees still hold big functions during celebratory in particular occasions, Buddha Jayanti – Buddha’s Birthday. UNESCO listed Bouddhanath in World Heritage List in 1979.

National Museum

The National Museum located 3 kilometer west, on the way to Swayambhunath hill is most popular among the people of Kathmandu. It holds ancient artifacts and sculptures. It also holds interesting mementoes of previous Shah King’s and the firearms use at the battle at that time. Visitors of the museum will understand how wars were fought in this part of the world and the type of firearms that were used to conquer Nepal and later to protect it from the British regime.

Other artifacts include ancient statues, paintings and murals. You can see the doll collection as well as the stuffed animals there. The collection of coins in the compels includes coins going back to the 2nd century BC as well as excellent samples from dynasties that ruled Nepal after the Christ.

It has separate division to explain about the birthplace of Buddha and the artifacts and sculptures relating to Buddhism. It is open daily except Tuesdays and government holidays from 10:30 am to 3 pm and 10:30 am to 2 pm on Fridays.