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Kathmandu is one of an ancient
cities of Nepal with great historic and cultural
values.
Kathmandu (Kantipur)

Brief introduction to Kathmandu city:
It is one of an ancient cities of Nepal with great historic and cultural values. It is the Capital of Nepal now and named as Kathmandu after Kasthamandap. In ancient period this city was called as a Nepal which is now called out for the whole country as the Kingdom of Nepal. Most of the administrative works of the country is handled from this city.

Some of the major spots to visit in Kathmandu:

Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar square, also known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar, used to be the residence of the Nepali royal family and administrators. This ancient palace lies in the heart of the city. It consists of huge Royal Palace with different temples, inside as well as outside the temple, dating from the 15th to the 18th century. This palace is named after Hanuman, the monkey god, as a stone statue of Hanuman is placed right next to the main entrance protecting the whole palace.

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Karunamaya Temple
It is a Buddhist pagoda of considerable artistic beauty located in a holy courtyard called Jana Bahal which is full of Stupas and statues nearby Indra-Chowk. It consists of a two tiered bronze roof built by King Yachhya Malla in 1502 AD. This authentic temple is surrounded by residential houses and busy shops. The chariot festival of white Karunamaya, the "God of Mercy" is annually celebrated in Kathmandu city.

Hanuman Dhoka
This falls to be the historic seat of the past royalty, particularly belonging to the Malla dynasty. The Durbar Square, which is itself the old Royal Palace Complex dedicated to the Malla monarchs, is today classified as a World Heritage Site of Culture. The age old temples and palaces epitomize the religious and cultural life-style of the people. The interesting things to view include Taleju Temple built by late King Mahendra Malla in 1549 AD, a gigantic stone figure exposing the fearful manifestation of the Black Bhairab which the Hindus regard as the God of Destruction, the tall stone pillar on the plinth-top of which sits late King Pratap Malla with his two beloved queens on either sides plus an infant child in the middle, the colossal image of the White Bhairab the lattice of which is removed for a week during the Kumari Yatra festival, the nine-storied Basantapur Palace (literally meaning the spring season palace), the Gigantic Bell and the Great Drums. The main golden-gate called Hanuman. He is the King of the Monkeys and a faithful servant to Lord Ram Chandra-the unanimous Hero of the ancient epic "Ramayan". Being guarded by a sle protector, the gate itself has come to be known as Hanuman Dhoka. With a commercial umbrella suspended above his head and wrapped in a scarlet cloak, he squats on a stone plinth to be respected by hundreds of Nepalese Hindu plus Indian Hindu. (He is actually blind-folded as he was a chaste bachelor and wishes not to come in vision of any female figures).

Temple of Kumari
The temple and the holy quadrangle with a Buddhist Stupa at the center form the residential quarters of the Chaste Virgin Living Goddess called Kumari. The traditional building has profusely carved wooden balconies and window screens. The non-Buddhist and the non-Hindu visitors may enter the courtyard called the 'bahal' but may not beyond upstairs. The Kumari acknowledges their greetings from the central window of the balcony particularly saved for her alone and snapshot is strictly prohibited.

Kastha Mandap
Located nearby the Temple of Kumari, this is a unique type of wooden temple also known as Maru Satal. It was built in 1596 AD by king Laxmi Narsingh Malla. They say the timber used for its relevant construction was sawed out of a single tree. It is also believed that the capital of Kathmandu derived its new name from this very 'Kastha Mandap'. Today it houses the Hindu God namely Gorakh-Nath.

National Museum
Situated two and a half kilometers west of Kathmandu City, the National Museum has a splendid collection of arms, artifacts, statues, etc from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal. Its archaeological and historical displays are real worth-seeing. The museum remains closed on Tuesdays.

Singha Durbar
Literally meaning Lion Palace, it is a grand imposing palace built on the neo-classical style surrounded by a colossal compound. It was built by His Excellency Maharaja Chandra Shamsher J.B. Rana Premiers till 1950 but now remains the Secretarial Building of His Majesty's Government. The Parliament (including the Upper House and the Lower House), the Radio Station, the Television Station, etc are all located in the very premises.

Marty's Memorial
This is located on the way to Singha Durbar. The memorial arch contains the effigies of four political leaders who were mercilessly martyred in 1940. Two were hung and two were shot. They include Dharma Bhakta Mathema, Shukra Raj Shastri, Dashrath Chand and Ganga Lal Shrestha. The fatherly statue of late King Tribhuwan Bir Bikram Shah Dev appears high in the middle. Late King Tribhuwan is solely held responsible to lead the historical revolution of 1950-1951 for laying the foundation of today's democratic system, virtually replacing the cruel family autocracy of the Ranas.

Aakash Bhairab Temple
Also referred to as the Blue Bhairab sometimes, it is a three-storied temple in the principal market called Indra Chowk. The devine image of the Aakash Bhairab is displayed outside for a week long period during the great festival of honors Indra Jatra. The celebration of Indra Jatra honors Indra-The King of Heaven and The God of Rain. The Newars call him 'Aajudyo.'

Dharahara
Also known as Dharahara to the local people, it is a 165 feel tall tower built by Premier Vimsen Thapa in 1932 BS. One fetches a panoramic view of the whole valley of Kathmandu from the top of the monument. This structure is getting old and in the weakening stage day by day. But some of its preserving steps are applied these days.

Narayanhity Royal Palace
This is the current Royal Palace where the Himalayan Monarch of the Shah dynasty resides. It is built on a site of a much older one and owns a colossal compound. During the reign of late King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, the main gate was facing west. Today the main gate eventually faces south. Especial Permission has to be gotten to enter the palace premises on days of privilege.

Pashupatinath Temple
One if the most important Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Statues and little shrines, some a thousand years old, are scattered along the Bagmati River and up into the surrounding forest. A quite, powerful place that will give you an insight into one of the world's greatest religions.

The holiest of shrines of the Hindus all over the world is about six kilometers east of hanuman Dhoka Royal Complex. The golden temple of Lord Pashupati on the bank of holy Bagmati River in Kathmandu, is in the centre surrounded by numerous shrines and rest houses. Lord Pashupati is represented by the holy Lingam which is a stylized phallic symbol based on the cosmic principle. The temple has four doors on four sides with the figurative head facing each of the four doors from which the Hindus have Darshan of the Lord, but they cannot enter the temple. Only the King of Nepal, and Shankaracharyas of India can enter the shrine to worship.

Pashupatinath is worshipped from time immemorial. The origin of the Lingam is unknown. There is a height near the Pashupati temple from where tourists can have a look at the temple just to get the feel how Hindus think of the holiest of the holy shrines. Tourists can take their position on the stone terrace just across the Bagmati east of the temple, from where they can see people taking a holy dip in the Bagmati river before going to pay homage to Lord Pashupati. You are free to take photographs. Another interesting sight for tourists will be the Ghats, the round stone pavements on which the dead are cremated. These rounded Ghats are all along the Bagmati river and these are the Ghats where the mortal remains even of kings and queens are ritualistically consigned to flames like those of other Hindus. You can go around the forested hill dotted with countless idols, some with shelters and other without, but take care of the monkeys some of which become quite aggressive when they are teased.

Guheshwori Temple
On a forested knoll further behind Pashupati Nath Temple to the eastern direction and also by the side of the bending or winding Bagmati River appears the gracious temple of Guheshwori sometimes known as Akash Yogini. It is another famous spot of Hindu pilgrimages. It houses the shrine of Goddess Parbati who is Lord Shibas spouse. In this case also, only Hindus are authorized to enter the premises.

Swayambhu Shrine
This is believed to be 25 centuries old and stands as one of the world's oldest Buddhist Chaityas. The Great Stupa of Swayambhu is the wonder for Nepal. It is indeed listed a World Heritage Site of Culture to prove that it serves as the nerve center of faithful worship for all the devout Buddhist of the universe. Swayambhu embraces the authentic philosophy of Bajrayan in particular and honors Lord Adi Buddha. It is dedicated to the self-originating flame God. The Stupa which forms the salient structure is well composed of a solid hemisphere of terra-cotta bricks and the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha, keeping an eternal watch on the Valley distinguishing between vice and virtue. It is some two miles west of Kathmandu City proper across the holy Bishnumati River. Situated on the top of a hillock, it is about 500 feet above  the level of Valley. The whole hill is a mosaic of small Chaityas and pagoda temples possessing great dignity plus beauty. There also exist six big Buddhist monasteries in all-five Mahayan (Lamaist) and one Hinyan (Therbadist). On the hind hill is located another important Buddhist shrine; it is called Manjushree. This compassionate Chinese Buddha is the God of Knowledge.

Kimdol Monastery
Situated within Ward No. 15 of Kathmandu city adjacent to Swayambhu Hill is another famous Buddhist monastery called Kimdol. It is a small town itself full of Buddhist citizens. Kimdol resumes a hillock a top which sits a Buddhist bahal embracing the major aspects of Buddhism including Mahayan (Lamaism) and Hinyan (Therbad). Apart from that we find numerous stupas, chaityas and chhortens around.

Boudha Nath Stupa
This is declared to stand as the largest Buddhist shrine of South Asia. The ancient colossal chhorten was built in the 6th century AD by King Man Dev belonging to the Lichhabi dynasti. It rests on a series of three terraces and from the bird's eye view it takes the relevant shape of a lotus flower which indeed remains a very holy object for the devout Buddhists of the entire world. The chhorten is surrounded by a circular market which forms a part of Tibet Town. In this case also the four pairs of the Buddha's eyes give a vivid flash to the four cardinal directions, meaning to keep a diligent watch over the people and their commitments all day all night. The chhorten embraces the authentic philosophy of Mahayan the faith of which is known as Lamaism in Sikkim, Ladakh, Bhutan and Tibet. It also proves a world Heritage Site.

Buddhanilkantha
Situated in the northern suburbs of the Valley just at the foot of Mt. Shibapuri, this is an enchanting Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Bishnu Narayan. So the locality is also known as Narayanthan. He lies in a bed of serpents amidst the pious pool and seems to float on water. The surrounding pond actually represents the sea. The reclining statue was built in the 5th century AD. The season of religious celebration here takes place right after the festival of Tihar. Although it is a renowned spot of worship, the reigning king of Nepal (may it be contemporary or any Hindu monarch) may not visit this place for reasons particularly unknown. Thus to please the king a replica of it has been built elsewhere if he wishes to visit it much.

Balaju Water Garden
This is an interesting large compound sitting at the foot of Mount Nagarjun in the north-east corner of the worthy items. The important ones are the Twenty-Two Water Spouts, the replica image of Lord Buddhanilkantha, the Olympic size swimming pool etc. Among all the attraction, the major one stands as the Twenty Two Water Spouts and whole compound uphill and downhill itself makes an enchanting picnic-spot for holiday makers. It is here that the stone statue of Lord Bishnu Narayan,, an imitation of the genuine previous one at Buddhanilkantha, exists in order for the Nepalese monarch to pay decent homage. The annual festival is celebrated on a full moon day of the spring season. It is a merry day when many Nepalese Buddhists and Tibetan Buddhists hike up to the summit of Jamacho the starting point being Balaju or Lhuti. A jeep able road does lead to the top of Mount Nagarjun. This precise full moon is known as 'Lhuti Punhi'.

Sundarijal
At the north-eastern edge of the Valley, the cool streams that eventually join the holy Bagmati River flow over the waterfalls at Sundarijal into a hundred year old reservoir. This large reservoir was built during the time of the Ranas. Sundarijal is fifteen kilometers away from Kathmandu City and is also the starting point for the popular trek to Helambu the nearest Sherpa village. The main reservoir which supplies drinking water to the valley is roughly an hour walk uphill from here. A tinier trail forks off before the reservoir to a small rock cave, where a thirteenth century image of Mahadevi can be found. It is a pleasant bike ride along the quite roads past Gokarna. The long valley rim walk, a minor trek that is, from Sundarijal to Nagarkot or vice versa is suggestive to every enthusiastic trekker.

Sankhu
This is a peaceful small town the old name of which goes Shankharpur according to classical Sanskrit. The current name as referred by the local citizens goes Sakwo as well. It is situated at the north eastern corner of the Valley and served to be the exit point to Lhasa of Tibet in the earlier days. This trekking route was much used by the lucrative merchants of Nepal called the Lhasa Newa. The whole town takes the shape of a Shankhu which signifies the conch shell. This falls to be the sheer reason why it has come to be lilted Shankharpur and inhabitant by the bonafide indigenous natives of Newars who speak a special tonal dialect Tibeto-Burmese in nature. Adjacent to the town is located the famous Buddhist temple dedicated to Goddess Khadga Yogini up the hillock. Lovely chlorophyll fields and forestations surround the area.

Fhurping
This is a popular village amidst a lovely setting by the hillside. It is situated at the south west corner of the Valley. Inhabited mostly by the Newars and the Tamangs both of whom are Buddhists by faith, the village is dotted with numerous Mahayan monasteries. Another important sight is the Buddhist temple of Bajra Yogini pertaining to the authentic philosophy of Bajrayan. A cave temple also bears an interesting  tale of its own. There are healthy sectors abound with pine woods apart from the local bazaar. The Newars call this settlement Fumpi. The green premises of the one and only famous boarding high school established in 1952 assumes the name of 'Paradise Garden'.

Dachhinkali
Kali is a bloodthirsty Hindu Goddess. This particular temple lies in the southernmost suburbs of the Valley, beyond Fhurping downward in a solitary ravine. So she is termed 'Dachhin-Kali' meaning South Kali. The important days for religious pilgrimage include Tuesdays and Saturdays. A ritual worship attached by animal sacrifice would not be an uncommon scene here the practice of which is totally against Buddha. The poor victims include the fowls, birds and sheep in general.



 
 
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