KATHMANDU VALLEY

Kathmandu Valley comprises the three ancient cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, which were once independent states ruled by the Malla kings from the 12th to the 18th centuries. The three cities house seven UNESCO World Heritage shrines which are together listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Culture). The valley is also home to hundreds of other exquisite monuments, sculptures, artistic temples and magnificent art – reminders of the golden era in Nepal’s architecture.
Legend has it that the valley was was once a primordial lake ringed by verdant mountains.  In this pristine lake lived giant serpents until one fine day, saint Manjushree, the Bodhisatva, raised a mighty sword and in one fell swoop, cut open the side of a mountain at a place now known as Chobar. The voluminous waters of the lake gushed out, leaving behind a fertile valley capable of supporting large urban settlements over the millennia. The Gopala and Kirati dynasties were the earliest rulers here followed by the Licchavi (300-879 A.D.), under whom flourished trade and crafts.
But the valley’s remarkable cities with their ornate palaces, the superbly crafted pagodas and the monumental stupas are testimony of the artistic genius of the Newar craftsmen, the original inhabitants of the valley, whose skills were championed by the Malla kings and appreciated even by the Mongol rulers of 18th century China.
 
UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
KATHMANDU DURBAR SQUARE : Situated in the heart of old Kathmandu city at Basantapur, Kathmandu Durbar Square never fails to impress first time visitors with its ensemble of palaces, courtyards and temples built during the Malla period. The Durbar Square includes the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace, the historic seat of the royalty; the magnificent Taleju Temple towering more than 40 meters; Kumari Ghar, the residence of the Living Goddess, Kumari; Ashok Vinayak, also called Kathmandu Ganesh, a temple without a filial ; and Kal Bhairav, the God of Wrath. The capital takes its name from the giant pagoda of Kasthamandap, which is said to have been built out of a single tree. Since the time of the Malla kings, the Durbar Square has been the city’s social, religious and political focal point.
 
SWAYAMBHUNATH STUPA : Resting on a hillock 3 km west of Kathmandu, it is one of the holiest Buddhist Chaityas in Nepal. It is said to have evolved spontaneously when the valley was created out of a primordial lake more than 2,000 years ago. This stupa is the oldest of its kind in Nepal and has numerous shrines and monasteries on its premises.There are two ways to approach Swayambhunath temple, but by far the most atmospheric is the stone pilgrim stairway that climbs the eastern end of the hill. Constructed by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century, this steep stone staircase is mobbed by troops of rhesus macaques, who have made an artform of sliding down the steep handrails.
 
PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE : Situated 5 km east of Kathmandu, the temple of Lord Shiva is considered one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. The two-tiered pagoda with golden roofs and silver doors houses the sacred linga, or phallic symbol, of Lord Shiva. Chronicles indicate the temple existed before 400 A.D. Near the Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River lies Guheswari, where, according to mythology, a portion of Sati Devi, Lord Shiva’s consort, fell when a grief-stricken Shiva wandered aimlessly across the earth carrying her dead body on his shoulders following her self-immolation.
 
BOUDDHANATH STUPA : Situated 8 km to the east of downtown Kathmandu, Bauddhanath is one of the most imposing landmarks in Kathmandu, visible as soon as you land at the Tribhuvan International Airport. It is the largest stupa in the Kathmandu Valley and is the center of Tibetan Buddhism. It is the religious centre for Nepal's considerable population of Tibetan exiles, and the sides streets are full of maroon-robed Tibetan (and foreign) monks, gleaming monastery roofs and shop fronts full of Tibetan texts and yak butter. This is one of the few places in the world where Tibetan culture is accessible, vibrant and unfettered. The atmosphere of cultural exchange and spiritual curiosity is unrivalled. People (including mountaineers and Sherpas) still come here to pray before undertaking a journey in the Himalaya.Late afternoon is a good time to visit Bodhnath, when the group tours depart and the place once again becomes a Tibetan village. Prayer services are held in the surrounding gompas and, as the sun sets, the community turns out to circumambulate the stupa - a ritual that combines religious observance with social event. It's a wonderful feeling to be swept around by the centrifugal force of faith - remember to walk around the stupa in a clockwise direction.
 
PATAN DURBAR SQUARE :
Like its counterpart in Kathmandu, Patan Durbar Square is located in the heart of the city and was once the palace of the kings of Patan. The square is an enchanting mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples – a display of Newari architecture that had reached its pinnacle during the reign of the Malla kings. Among its numerous courtyards, the renovated Keshav Narayan Chowk has been converted into a bronze artifact museum. The Sundari Chowk with the sunken bath of Tusha Hiti is a showcase of exquisite woodcarvings, and stone and metal sculptures. The magnificent Krishna Temple with its 21 gilded spires, built in 1637, and the Manga Hiti, the sunken stone water spout, found in the palace complex are but a few examples of its opulence. The Krishna Temple, built entirely of stone, is said to be the first specimen of Shikhara-style architecture in Nepal.

 
BHAKTAPUR DURBAR SQUARE :
Among the three durbar squares, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square is by far the most elegant with its large open space facing south. The 15th century Palace of 55 Carved Windows and the palace entrance, the Golden Gate - a masterpiece in repousse art - have added splendour to this palace square which consists of buildings dating from the 13th century to the 18th century. The extraordinary Durbar Square with its extraordinary monuments reflects the glory days of the Malla dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three cities of the valley. In front of the palace building are innumerable temples and architectural showpieces like the Lion Gate, the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla mounted on a giant stone pillar and the Batsala Temple. The stone temple of Batsala Devi is full of intricate carvings and is a beautiful example of Shikhara-style architecture. There is a bronze bell on the terrace of the temple, which is also known as the Bell of Barking Dogs. Erected by King Ranjit Malla in 1737, its sounding announced the beginning and end of a daily curfew.
 
CHANGU NARAYAN TEMPLE (World Heritage Monument):

The beautiful and historic temple of Changu Narayan stands on a hilltop at the eastern end of the valley , situated on a ridge overlooking Bhaktapur, about 12 km to the east of Kathmandu. Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, it is one of the oldest specimens of pagoda architecture in the valley. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple itself, which is normally shut anyway. The temple is embellished with exquisite wood and stone carvings. It dates from 1702, when it was rebuilt after a fire, however its origins go back to the 4th century and many of the stone sculptures date from the Licchavi period (4th to 9th centuries). Despite the temple's beauty, its easy access from Bhaktapur and the proximity of some fine walks nearby, it attracts relatively few visitors. The temple's true gems are the wonderful, much older sculptures dotted around the courtyard. In the southwest corner are several notable images, including one of Vishnu as Narsingha, his man-lion incarnation, disembowelling a demon. The beautifully carved image is around 1500 years old.


 

Kathmandu Tour Package 3N 4D Itinerary
 
Day 01 : Arrival in Kathmandu for Kathmandu Tour. In case of your time adequacy, our guide will take you around the local old market where you will get an opportunity to feel lifestyle of diverse range of Kathmandu. In the evening you will join dinner along with Nepalese cultural show. Overnight at hotel.
 
Day 02 : After Breakfast you will have full day tour in Kathmandu, you will be busy at three of the seven UNESCO cultural sites like Kathmandu Durbar Square,
Swoyambhunath "Monkey Temple" and Patan Durbar Square. Overnight at hotel. 
 
Day 03 : After Breakfast you will have full day tour in Kathmandu, you will be busy at three of the seven UNESCO cultural sites like Pashupatinath Temple, Bouddhanath Stupa and Bhaktapur Durbar Square Tour. Overnight at hotel.
 
Day 04 :Farewell,As this is the last day of Kathmandu tours package, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward journey.

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Kathmandu, the largest city of Nepal, is the political as well as cultural capital of the country. Kathmandu is a city where ancient traditions rub shoulders with the latest technological advances. However, it is the grandeur of the past that enchants the visitor whose gaze may linger on an exquisitely carved wooden window frame, an 18th century bronze sculpture or the spiritually uplifting stupas. Like any big city, Kathmandu has seen rapid expansion in the last decade, but despite the hustle and bustle so typical of metropolitan cities, its people remain as refreshingly friendly as ever. Retaining its ancient traditions, Kathmandu is blessed by a Living Goddess and is enriched by endless ceremonial processions and events that take to the streets every now and then with throngs of devotees seeking blessings. These religious festivals are steeped in legend and are quite a spectacle with chariot processions and masked dancers often possessed by the spirits of deities. AKASH BHAIRAV: Believed to have been built in the 12th century, the temple enshrines Akash Bhairav, a ferocious manifestation of Lord Shiva. The three-storey temple with tiled roofs, a hanging balcony, gilded and latticed windows and an artistic doorway lies in the main market avenue called Indra Chowk.

ASAN: Once the center of old Kathmandu, the Asan market square is located about midway on the only diagonal thoroughfare in Kathmandu that links Durbar Square with Durbar Marg. At Asan, there are six roads radiating in all directions. The three-storied pagoda style Annapurna Temple of Annapurna, the Goddess of Grains, presides over the ever-lively bazaar. Asan is still an important shopping center and one of the busiest market places with shops selling anything from imported spices to kitchenware, fresh vegetables, Chinese goods, hardware and clothes. BALAJU GARDEN: Three kilometers north-west of Kathmandu lies the Balaju Garden, a quiet park ideal for relaxation just below the Nargarjun hill. The park has a line of 22 stone water spouts built in the 18th century, each of which has an ornately carved crocodile head. During an annual festival, people come here to take a ritual bath. A replica of the stone image of Budhanilkantha was built here specifically for the royal family who were barred from visiting the real one. Above Balaju lies the Nagarjun forest (5 km northwest of Kathmandu). The summit (2,096 m) is a two-hour walk, from where great views of the Kathmandu Valley and a number of Himalayan peaks can be had. There is a Buddhist stupa and a view tower on the summit.

THAMEL: As the tourist district of Kathmandu, Thamel bustles with activity late into the night. It is a mere10-minute walk from the center of Kathmandu, yet completely different from the rest of the city. Thamel caters entirely to tourists with its scores of hotels, rows of restaurants and bars, book shops, inviting souvenir shops, cyber cafes and travel agencies. All that a tourist needs can be found here, even friends and traveling companions. DHARAHARA: The soaring landmark of Kathmandu, the Dharahara tower is 50.5 m high and was built by then Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa in 1832. It is open to anyone who can go up after paying the entrance fee. The 360 degree astounding view of the Kathmandu Valley is well worth the long climb up the spiraling staircase. GARDEN OF DREAMS: At the entrance of Thamel, the Garden of Dreams within the Kaiser Mahal complex has now been renovated and restored to its former glory. Major attractions in this 24-acre garden include neo-classical pavilions, fountains, decorative garden furniture, Chinese Moon Gate and European inspired features such as pergolas, balustrades, urns and birdhouses. Today it is open to the public with a restaurant and bar.

BUDHANILKANTHA: The largest of Vishnu’s stone statues, Budhanikantha lies at the foothills of the Shivapuri hills, 8 km north of the Kathmandu city center. The large granite figure of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of serpents known as ‘Nagas’, seems to float in a pond. This shrine dates back to the 5th century. KIRTIPUR: It is situated on a ridge 8 km southwest of Kathmandu. The ancient Newar township - with its brick-paved streets lined with typical red brick houses and tiled roofs, and temple squares - is a natural fortress. The Chilamchu stupa and the temple of Bagh Bhairav are major attractions here. Tribhuvan University, Nepal’s premier seat of education, is located at the foothills of Kirtpur.

PHARPING: Lying 18 km south of Kathmandu on the valley rim, Pharping is perched on a hilltop with a Buddhist monastery. Pharping’s main attraction is an elaborate 17th-century temple which houses a glided image of Goddess Bajra Jogini. Other fascinating sights here include a cave and a hand-imprint of the Buddhist saint Padmasambhav on the rock face over its entrance.

DAKSHINKALI: Four kilometers further south of Pharping on the valley rim is the temple of Dakshinkali dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. The shrine is especially crowded on Tuesdays and Saturdays when animal sacrifices are offered to the deity. On the way lies Chobhar gorge. The Bodhisatva Manjushree is said to have cut an incision here to drain out the lake which once covered the valley. There is a small but picturesque temple of Adinath on the top of a hill from where one can have a panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains. SHESHA NARAYAN: Situated between Chobhar and Dakshinkali, the temple of Shesha Narayan represents one of the four Narayans of the Kathmandu Valley. The other three Narayans are Changu Narayan of Bhaktapur, Visankhu Narayan of Patan and Ichangu Narayan of Kathmandu.
Patan, also known as ‘Lalitpur’, the city of artisans, lies 5 km southeast of Kathmandu, and is home to the valley’s finest craftsmen who have preserved such ancient techniques as the repoussé and lost wax process used to produce exquisite sculptures. The city retains much of the old charm with its narrow streets, brick houses and multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (vihars) and monuments. The predominant sound in Patan is that of the tinkering of craftsmen bent over the statuettes they are shaping. As in Kathmandu, Hinduism and Buddhism have co-existed here for ages, influencing each other, and the religious harmony is exemplary. MAHABOUDDHA: To the east of Patan Durbar Square is Mahabouddha, an exceptional Buddhist monument of exquisite terra cotta art form. On this 14th-century architectural masterpiece are engraved thousands of images of Lord Buddha. RUDRA VARNA MAHAVIHAR: Also known as Uku Bahal, it is situated a few steps past Mahabouddha and contains an amazing collection of images and statues in metal, stone and wood. The stone-paved courtyard is enclosed by a two-story building with gilded roofs. The kings in ancient times were believed to have been crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by devotees can be seen here even today. HIRANYA VARNA MAHABIHAR: Dating from the 12th century, the three-storied shrine, also known as the Golden Temple, houses an image of the Buddha inside the courtyard or Kwa Bahal. The monastery is known for its exceptionally fine wood-carvings and repousse work. It is a five-minute walk west and north from the northern end of Durbar Square. KUMBHESHWAR: The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is the only five-storied pagoda in Patan and one of the only three surviving five-storey temples in the country. A natural spring within the courtyard of this temple built in 1392 is said to have its source in the glacial lake of Gosainkunda in northern Kathmandu. A large gathering of devotees arrive here for a ritual bath on the day of Janai Poornima in August. JAGAT NARAYAN: The Jagat Narayan Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River at Sankhamul is a tall shikhara-style temple consecrated to Lord Vishnu. Built of red bricks, the temple has many fine images. An attractive metal statue of Garuda mounted on a stone monolith is accompanied by several images of Ganesh and Hanuman. ASHOKA STUPAS: There are four stupas, supposed to have been built by Emperor Ashoka of India in 250 BC, marking the four corners of Patan. They are situated at Pulchowk, Lagankhel, Ibahi and in Teta (way to Sano Gaon) respectively. At the time they were built, Buddhism was flourishing in the Kathmandu Valley. TIBETAN REFUGEE CAMP: The camp on the outskirts of Patan is a tourist attraction with its souvenir shops that sell handwoven woollen carpets and handicrafts such as prayer wheels, an assortment of belt buckles, wooden bowls and jewelry. The camp also houses a stupa and a number of shrines. PATAN INDUSTRIAL ESTATE: Situated at Lagankhel near Sat Dobato, it is known for handicrafts such as wood carvings, metalcraft, handwoven woollen carpets and thanka paintings. There is a shopping arcade where handicrafts are on exhibition.
Perched on a hill at an altitude of 1,401 m, Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon, literally the City of Devotees, is a major tourist destination that takes visitors back in time. Bhaktapur lies 12 km to the east of Kathmandu on the Arniko Highway that leads to the Chinese border. Covering an area of 6.4 sq. km, Bhaktapur is still untouched by rapid urbanisation and has managed to retain its brickpaved roads, charming red brick houses and a way of life that goes back to medieval times. This ancient city is also famous for pottery and woodcarving amply displayed on the squares and windows respectively. NYATAPOLA TEMPLE: The unique temple of Bhaktapur, the Nyatapola literally means ‘five storied’ and rises above the city’s landscape as a remarkable landmark. It also has the distinction of having withstood the devastating earthquake of 1933. Dedicated to a tantric goddess, the steps leading up to the temple are flanked by stone sculptures of deities and mythical beasts, each 10 times more powerful than the one immediately below. BHAIRAVNATH TEMPLE: Dedicated to Bhairav, the God of Terror, the three-storied temple of Bhairavnath has only the head of Bhairav in the inner sanctum. Legend has it that the Bhairav’s head was cut off by a tantric expert in order to keep him in Bhaktapur. Built in pagoda style, the temple is noted for its artistic grandeur and stands adjacent to the famous five-storied Nyatapola Temple. DATTATREYA SQUARE : It takes its name from the Dattatreya Temple dedicated to a three-headed combination of the Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. This temple is said to have been built from the trunk of a single tree. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock windows. SIDDHA POKHARI: For a small city, Bhaktapur has the largest number of public water tanks built within the city limits. Siddha Pokhari, which dates back to the Lichhavi period, is situated at the bus stop. This large rectangular pond teems with fish and has stone images of different Hindu and Buddhist gods on the walls surrounding it. THIMI It is a Newar town situated about 8 km east of Kathmandu on the way to Bhaktapur. Besides farming, most of the households here are engaged in pottery. This laid-back town not only supplies Kathmandu its pottery but also its vegetables. The two important deities here are those of Balkumari Temple, dedicated to the Mother Goddess, and Karunamaya, the Buddha of Compassion. SURYA BINAYAK: The temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Ganesh. Situated in a thick forest to the south of Bhaktapur, it is a 20-minute walk from the bus stop. The temple is crowded with devotees especially on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
NATIONAL MUSEUM: Located at Chauni, at the foot of the Swayambhu hill, the building that houses the National Museum was once the residence of Nepal’s Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa who built the Dharahara. It has a fine collection of bronze images and paubha scroll paintings. It also has a splendid collection of firearms from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal as well as a sword gifted by Napoleon. NATIONAL NUMISMATIC MUSEUM: It is housed in the National Museum, has an exceptional collection of Nepali coins of the Lichhavi and Malla period (2nd to 18th century A.D.) as well as the Shah period. NATIONAL ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM: It is housed on the first floor of the Tourist Service Center at Bhrikuti Mandap. It has dioramas depicting the lifestyles of 11 ethnic communities of Nepal. HANUMAN DHOKA PALACE MUSEUM: There are three museums housed in the sprawling historical Hanuman Dhoka Palace at Kathmandu Durbar Square dedicated to three Shah kings Tribhuvan, Mahendra and Birendra. They showcase the lifestyle of the three generations of the Shah kings and include gifts, decorations, the clothes they wore and their hobbies. One of the highlights of visiting the old palace is the nine-storied durbar with its exquisitely carved giant windows that lean out of the building. PATAN MUSEUM: The museum in Patan Durbar Square specialises in bronze statues and religious objects. There are nearly 200 items on display. Some of the art dates from the 11th century. Most of the statues are of the Buddha, Vishnu, Lokeswar and Devi, covering both the Hindu and the Buddhist iconology. THE NATIONAL ART GALLERY: The museum in Bhaktapur is housed in the old Malla Palace of 55 Windows in the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The gallery has a rich collection of paubha scroll paintings, bronze, brass, stone and wooden images. THE NATIONAL WOODWORKING MUSEUM: The museum in Dattatreya Square is in the restored 15th-century Pujari Math building. The Pujari Math is a museum in itself, with the very finest of Newar woodcarving including the famous Peacock Window. It has ancient and medieval paintings belonging to the Hindu and Buddhist schools. THE BRONZE AND BRASS MUSEUM : It is in a 15th-century building opposite the Pujari Math at Tachapal Tol, Bhaktapur. A rich collection of domestic and ceremonial metalware is exhibited in the museum.
SIGHTSEEING: Speckled with temples, ancient palaces and courtyards, World Heritage monuments; surrounded by hills and snow-capped mountains; and inhabited by the most hospitable people, Kathmandu is an ideal place to go sightseeing. WINING & DINING : It is a serious sport in Kathmandu. There are more than a thousand pubs and restaurants in the capital - from cultural evenings at the star hotels to simple trekkers’ joints. At Kathmandu’s restaurants, one gets infinite choices - from traditional Nepali food to Italian delicacies, Russian delights and spicy Indian specialties. NIGHT LIFE: After a day of touring the valley’s cities, there are plenty of ways to relax and entertain yourself in the evening - upbeat music, exciting dances, tasty food, choicest drinks, good cinema halls and casinos. CASINOS: For a small town, Kathmandu has quite a number of casinos, all providing non-stop fun and games. Besides gaming, there is regular entertainment in the form of concerts and dance performances. SHOPPING: Nepal is a shopping destination for designer products such as Christian Dior, Gucci, Yves Laurent, Chanel, Nike, Givanchy, you name it. And thanks to lower overhead costs, Nepal’s departmental stores and malls offer them at unbeatable bargain prices. SOURVENIRS: As for Nepal’s handicrafts, they need no introduction. They have been coveted items since ancient times for their fine craftsmanship and supreme quality. The shops at Thamel, Kathmandu Durbar Square and Durbar Marg sell hand-knotted woolen carpets, jewelry, pashmina shawls, woolen knitwares, embroidery, thanka paintings, wood carvings, metal works, ceramics and pottery, rice paper and stationery. GOLF: Kathmandu offers two golf courses ranging from 9 to 18 holes and have been developed by world-class developers MOUNTAIN FLIGHT: It’s an hour-long flight usually in the morning to see the Himalayan peaks, several of them above eight thousand meters, including Mount Everest, the world’s tallest at 8,848 m. It is something not to be missed.
Kathmandu Valley is blessed by a temperate climate. The temperature does not exceed 34 degrees Celsius even during the scorching summer months and does not drop below 3 degrees Celsius in winter.

One can directly fly into the Tribhuvan International Airport in the Kathmandu Valley. One can ride buses or drive to Kathmandu from border towns and other parts of the country. There are five-star hotels, resorts to moderate accommodations with modern amenities available in and around Kathmandu Valley.