Some Highlights of Nepal Tours
Kathmandu Durbar Square:
Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the major attractions in Kathmandu Valley.The main things to be seen as follows:
Kumari (The Living Goddess) Gar :
At the West end of the square, is a beautiful house full of woodcarving of different God and Goddesses. This Palace is three storied and in this palace, lives the very famous living Goddess Kumari. Both Hindus and Buddhists equally venerate her. For Hindus she is the reincarnation of Hindu Goddess Kali. She is equally worshiped by Buddhists because she is chosen from Buddhist family. This shows the harmony between Buddhist and Hindus in Nepal.
Kastha Mandap :
One of the popular temples of Kathmandu Durbar Square is Kashamandap locally knows as Maru Sattal. It is believed that the name of Kathmandu City is derived from the name of this temple. Kastha means wood and Mandap means pavilion. And it is said that this temple is built by one single Sal (sorea robusta) tree. At the center of this temple, one can see the statue of a Hindu God Gorakhnath and in the four corners of the temple one can see Ganesh Statues.
Maru Ganesh :
Small yet the most visited temple of Kathmandu is Maru Ganesh. The people of Kathmandu valley believe that the four Ganesh in four corners of Kathmandu valley protect the peoples living in Kathmandu. Every day people go to worship this temple and especially on Tuesdays one can see a long queue of people waiting for hours to worship. Tuesday is considered the day of Ganesh.
Other interesting things to see here are Mahadev Temple, Shiva Parvati Temple, Bhagwati Temple, Old palace, Saraswoti temple, Krishna Octangular Temple, Big drums, Kal Bhairav, Jagannath Temple, and Taleju Temple etc.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and shikhara ? style temples grouped around a fifty-five-window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming valley as it highlights the ancient of the kings perched on top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in very place ? struts, lintels, tympanums, gateways and windows ? all seem to form a well orchestrated symphony
The main items of interest in the Durbar Square are:-
The Lion Gate:
Dating as far back as AD 1696 this gate is guarded on either side by huge statues of lions. Alongside, there are two stone images of (the dreadful aspect of Shiva) and Ugrachandi (the consort of the Shiva in her fearful manifestation).
The Golden Gate:
The Golden Gate is said to be the most beautiful and richly moulded specimen of its kind in the entire world. The door is surmounted by a figure of the goddess Kali and Garuda (the mythical man ? bird) and attended by two heavenly nymphs. It is embellished with mythical creatures of marvelous intricacy. In the words of Percy Brown, and eminent English are critic and historian, the Golden Gate is the most lovely pieces of are in the whole Kingdom; it is places like a jewel, flashing innumerable facets in the handsome setting of its erected by King Ranjit Mala and is the entrance of the main courtyard of the palaces of Fifty ? five windows.
The Palace Of fifty ? five Windows: This magnificent palace was built during the reign of King Yakshay Malla in AD 1427 and was subsequently remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony with fifty-five Windows, considered a unique masterpiece of woodcarving.
The ArtGallery : The Art Gallery contains ancient paintings belonging to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various periods and descriptions. This gallery is open everyday except Tuesday.
Patan Durbar Square:
Patan is probably one of the oldest Buddhist City in the world. It is believed that the city was founded in the 3rd century A.D. Patan is situated on a plateau across Bagmati River. Another name of Patan, is Lalitpur. This city is known for its finest traditional crafts and rich artistic heritage.
Patan is designed and built after Buddhist Dharma Chakra. It is surrounded by 4Stupas as 4 corners of Patan, one at each corner of its cardinal points. These stupas are said to have been built by the famous Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. It is also said that the ancient city got its name Lalitpattan after the Lalitadhara forest was cleared by king Biradava. It must be remembered that the name of Patan used by Newars in Yala. It is said that King Yalamber named this city after himself. Before Malla Dynasty ascended the throne in 1480 the Muslim Emperor Sam Suddin Iliyas destroyed the temples and monuments of Patan. When King Siddhi Nar Singh Malla ascended the throne in 1618, he started to rebuild the city and Shrinivas and Yog Narendra Malla made further contributions to it. These days one can see the beautiful palace complex and squares built during the Malla period.
Things to see here are:
The Krishna Mandir is dedicated to lord Krishna and was build by Siddhi Narsingha Malla in 1637. Many writers have considered this temple as and ornament of Patan. This temple was built in Shikhara style, which is considered to be of Indian influence in Nepal. The temple is three storied and important scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics have been carved inside the temple. The statue of Krishna lies in the first floor and only Hindus are allowed to go in. It is one of the most visited temples in Patan. On the occasion of Krishna Janmasthanmi (Lord Krishna?s Birthday), thousands of devotees come to the temple. The other importance of this temple is a statue of Garuda)(the vehicle of Krishna or Vishnu) in front of the temple.
The Golden Temple or Hiranya Varna Mahavihar is the richest temple in Patan. The temple is just tow minutes walk towards, the north f the Durbar Square. The temple, built in the 12th Century, is popular among the Buddhists of Patan. At the main entrance tow lions are guarding the temple. The building has three roofs with copper golden facades. Inside the temple, there are images of Buddha and Boddisattvas. IN the courtyard, there is a small temple with beautifully decorated pinnacle.
Other interesting things to see here are Mulchowk, Jagat Narayan Temple, Big Bell, Pillar of Yognarendra Malla, Hari Shanker temple, Vishwanath temple, Bhimsen temple, Marga Hiti, and Mani Mandap, Caf? Pagoda, Kumbheswor Temple, Rato Machhendra Temple, Minnath, Rudra Varna Mahavihar and so on.
Pashupatinath is one of the holiest pilgrimage destinations for all the Hindus of the world. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the trinity and the guardian (patron) deity of Nepal. This is one of the oldest temples, situated on the banks of the Holy Bagmati River. It is double ? roofed golden temple with four triple silver doorways. Pashupatinath covers and area of 281 hectares, which is one of the biggest temple complexes in Nepal.
Pashupati is one of the many names of Lord Shiva, which means "Lord of Animals? or ?Lord of the living beings?. Everyday thousands of Hindus go to the temple. It is situated 7km. From the old city of Kathmandu. The date of construction of this temple is unknown. However, it is believed to be built by the Licchavi King Supuspadeva in the 6th Century. It was renovated by King Jyoti Malla in 1416 A.D. King Bhupatindra Malla reconstructed it in 1697. All the Shah kings have splendor. Non ? Hindus are not allowed inside the main temple. They can have a good view of the temple complex from the other side of the Basmati River. There are many Ghats on the bank of River Bagmati, which are rectangular or round ones for ritual bat. There are many small houses behind the Ghats; there are dying near the complex is almost a guarantee for betterment in the next life. After the death ritual of cremation is started immediately, all the ritual can be observed from the other side of the river.
People other than family members are requested not to go very near and disturb the cremation activity. Photos from far are possible.
This Colossal stupa the biggest in Nepal is situated about 7km. East of the capital. The Bouddhhnath stupa is also known as Khasti Chitya and is considered as one of the oldest stupas in the country.
After 1959, many Tibetans came and have settled in Bouddhanath area.
With a diameter of about 100m and a height of 40m, Bouddhanath is among the largest stupas in the world. The Bouddhanath stupa covers a vast area that has a circumbulatory path at the bottom and another path made of three-tier plinth. The stupa looks similar to Swayambhunath but many features in this stupa are pinnacles as well as 108 Buddhist Gods and Goddesses. The most attractive part of the Stupa is the all seeing eyes of the Buddha painted with red, white and blue.
It is believed that King Manadeva built the Bouddhanath stupa during the Lichavi period. It has been renovated time and again and the present form of stupa was renovated in the 17th century.
The most popular festival celebrated here is the Tibetan New Year festival Lhosar that falls in February. The festival starts with prayers and worship. Thousands, of Tibetans dress Traditionally and dance after lighting incense to Buddha. Lots of Tibetan comes from Laddakh, Sikkim, Bhutan as well as other parts of the hills to celebrate this festival.
In Bouddhanath, there are many monasteries or Gompas. They are all beautifully decorated and colorfully painted. One can visit the monasteries and take photographs. It is advisable to give small donation when one takes photographs.
Dakshinkali and Chobhar
The temple of Dakshinkali is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali and is one of the most popular places of worship in Kathmandu. Located 22 km from the city center on the southern rim of the valley past Pharping village, the shrine is especially crowded on Tuesdays and Saturdays when animal sacrifices are offered to the deity. According to a mythology the Goddess Durga has killed the demon and drank the blood of animals. This is the reason blood is scarified to her. The temple was built by Pratap Malla during 17th century, but the construction, seems to be very new. The preparation before and after the offering is very interesting to see.
On the way back, we stop at Chobhar gorge. Legend has it that Manjushree cutout the gorge to drain out Kathmandu valley was then a lake. There is a small but picturesque temple of Adinath on the top of a hill. From this top one can have a completed view of snowcapped mountains peaks.
Budhanilakantha is 10 kilometers north of Kathmandu, at the base of the Sivapuri hills is a remarkable statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of coiled snakes. The statue said to be sculpted from a single block stone, is set in the middle of a small pond and appears to be floating in the water.
The stone image is said to be one of three statues sculpted during the Lichhavi period and called Budhanilkantha named after the huge image of Lord Vishnu. The five meter long statue called Bhuijassi by the local Newaris of the Liccchivi ? age settlement at the base of Shivapuri hills is also known as Budhanilkanta. The village, now also known as Budhanilkantha, used to be called Thaturi Drung? during ancient times.
This is a very old Newar Village in southern Patan. The main attraction of this village is the Bajra Barahi Shrine. Barahi is the name of one of the Mother Goddesses Ajima. It lies in the center of a thick grove, three hundreds meter from the center of the village. The temple was built 500 years ago.
The Kirtipur situated on the top of hillock 6 km southwest of Kathmandu. The ancient township is a natural fortress and has a proud and courageous history. It was founded by Shiva Deva between 1099 and 1126. It was apart of kingdom of Patan after the division of Kathmandu valley in 1482. Historically, this city is famous for its resistance against the invasion of Gorkhas. The King of Gorkha, Prithivi Narayan Shah attacked there time to conquer this city. The city is historically and artistically important. There are many small and big temples and stupas scattered around the city. The Chilamchu Stupa and the temple of Bagh Bhairav are major sights here. Kirtipur offers quaint streets lined with artistic houses and temple squares. The people are known for their skill in building and weaving.
Sanku is a very old Newar city and lies 23 km from Kathmandu. It derives its name from Sankhapura, which means Conch City. It lies on the famous route to Tibet. The traders used this route from 7th to 9th centuries AD. This legendary city is worth a visit, because of its old houses, beautiful wood- carved temples and old stone water taps. The famous temple of Goddess Ugratara Bajrayogini is situated at a 45 minute walking distance from here.
The Goddess Bajrayogini is the Hindu ? Buddhist parallel manifestation of Goddess Kali. The temple complex is supposed to be as old as Changunarayan (467 AD). It is mentioned in Gopal Vamsabali, a research manuscript, which states Manadev, performed penance at this place. The present three- tier structure or the temple is the contribution of King Pratap Malla.
Nagarkot is a famous place to see the mountain ranges and sunrise. It lies at an altitude of 2211m and is located 30 km north east of Kathmandu. If weather is good, one can see great views of Himalayas including Annapurna, Langtang, Dorje Lakpa and Gauri Shanker, Ganesh Himala. The mountain flight that goes each day to show Everest and other Himalayas from Kathmandu goes via the Nagarkot route.
Many visitors go to Nagarkot to see sunrise. Once the sun begins to rise from behind the Himalayas, it looks spectacular as mountain changes its color. However to see the sunrise, visitors has to go to Nagarkot 4 o?clock in the morning.
Nagarkot is also a good place
Since ancient past Nepal has had an unbroken tradition of being the fountainhead of spiritual knowledge in the world. Lord Buddha is a prominent link in the chain of spiritual master incarnates who were born in Nepal to reveal the secrets of the inner realms of mind and soul. He taught how to merge the individual soul with the universal soul and thus attain nirvana and end the cycle of birth, rebirth and suffering...
Shakyamuni Buddha was born in Lumbini, in southern Nepal, two thousand five hundred years ago. Since his time, Nepal has been a sacred ground for Buddhist as the birthplace of Buddha. Lumbini is a small town in the southern Terai plains of Nepal, where the ruins of the old city can still be seen.
Shakyamuni Buddha was born to royal family. His mother queen Maya Devi had a dream foretelling his coming. In her dream, she saw a white elephant with nine tusks come down from heaven and enter her body. When the time for his delivery, she left for her parental home, according to the practice of the time. En route to her parent?s home, she gave birth to Siddharta Gautama in the gardens of Lumbini
Pokhara is the most popular destination for visitors to Nepal. There is little in its past by way of neither history nor culture impact and the only important role that the old Pokhara played was that it was along the route of trade between India and Tibet. Today it is one of the fastest developing cities of Nepal, mainly due to tourism.
The natural beauty of its lakeside location and its proximity to the mountains has made in the natural choice for trekkers and adventures. Pokhara is also the base for some of most famous trekking circuits of Nepal. By itself surrounding area provides ample scope for short walk and day trips, suitable for children or weary trekkers that can be made around the valley.
Pokhara's popularity has led it to accommodate people of many nationalities and there is no dearth of hotels, guesthouses and other lodgings, ranging from the deluxe to the super economy.