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Kathmandu

Introduction :


Kathmandu is the capital and largest city of Nepal. It is situated in a valley and is truly the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 4,500 ft (1,400 m) above sea level. The entire landscape of Kathmandu is like a steep incline, descending from the Himalayan heights to the Terai flatland that too within a short distance. The  history of this city goes back to about two hundred years with its refined culture being one of the richest in Asia. This capital city is not only famous for being a major tourist hub but is also an important business hub and a sacred place for pilgrims. The whole valley with its seven heritage sites has been enlisted in cultural World Heritage Site list.


According to history the area where Kathmandu lies was a lake in the past. Manjushri a disciple of the Shakyamuni Buddha, cut open a hill to the south and allowed the water to flow out, thus making the region habitable. The name of this capital city is said to have originated from Kastha-Mandap ("temple of wood" in Sanskrit), after a pagoda carved from the single tree on the order of King Lakshmi Narasingha Malla in 1596.


Kathmandu is dotted with many Buddhist and Hindu Temples among which some date back to the 17th century. The Durbar Square is one good example of such. The Durbar Square which was built in the 16th century contains a marvelous royal palace and many temples which were built in the traditional Newar and Pagoda style. The Durbar square also houses the Kumari Chowk which is the home of Nepal’s Kumari. The Kumari is a small girl who has not yet attained puberty and is believed to be the living incarnation of the hindu goddess. The old royal palace still remains the traditional heart of the old town and a spectacular legacy of traditional architecture.


 
Places of Interest / Sightscene Information :
 

Hanuman Dhoka (Durbar Square):

Built between the 12th and the 18th centuries, this complex of palaces, courtyards and temples is the historic seat of royalty. It is the former Royal Palace of the Malla kings and sequentially of the Shah dynasty. The Durbar Square, protected as a UNESCO World heritage site, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people. The eastern wing of the palace was built in the mid-16th century, and is the oldest part of the palace. It has ten courtyards. King Pratap Malla enlarged the original building in the 17th century, adding many of the temples. Outside the palace is a stone inscription put there by Pratap Malla in 15 different languages. Other interesting things to see  here are the Taleju Temple (Built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 A.D. it is a triple roofed temple dedicated to Taleju, the family deity of the Mallas, Kal Bhairav, the god of Destruction in Nautalle Darbar, Coronation Nasal Chowk, the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of king Pratap Malla, the big bell, big drum, the Jagannath Temple, three museums including the numismatic museum and the Tribhuvan Museum.

Kumari Ghar:

Situated in the vicinity of Hanuman Dhoka Palace is the temple of Kumari - the living Goddess. She is a small child who has not yet reached her puberty and is acknowledged as the living incarnation of the the hindu goddess. The kumari gets changed once she attains puberty and a new child is selected to take her places. On a visit to this place one can see the Kumari acknowledging the greetings from her balcony. With profusely carved wooden balconies and window screens, the building is simply majestic.

The temple of lord Shiva - Pashupatinath is a richly ornamented pagoda with two tiered golden roof and silver doors.

Guheswari Temple:

Its another historic and holy shrine dedicated to the goddess Guheswari, near Pashupatinath.

Akash Bhairav Temple:

Situated in the main market avenue, called Indra Chowk, it is a three storey temple. The image of lord Akash Bhairav is displayed on the occasion of Indra Jatra, the festival of Indra, The rain God.

Kashthamandap:

A temple located near the temple of kumari, from which the city of Kathmandu derives its name. according to historians King Laxmi Narasingha Malla was the builder of this sixteenth century temple. As per the legends, this marvelous temple was constructed from the wood of a single tree.

Ashoka Vinayak:

Also Known as Kathmandu Ganesh or Maru Ganesh, this small but very important temple is situated just behind the Kasthamandap.

Jaishi Dewal:

Positioned on one of the main routes of the chariot festivals of Indra Jatra, Gai Jatra and other festivals, the Shiva Temple of Jaishi Dewal is famous for its erotic carvings.

Balaju (Lhuti):

Situated below the Nagarjuna hills, about 4-5 kms northwest of the city center, Balaju (Water) Garden features 22 stone water sprouts (hiti) carved in the shape of sea dragons and dating from the mid eighteenth century. Besides a Sprawling garden of stone water spouts, balaju offers religious shrines, fish ponds, and a replica of the statue of Budhanikantha.

Budhanikantha (Bhuijasi):

 Situated below the shivapuri hills, Buddhanikantha is about eight km north of Kathmandu. The hub of the temple complex is remarkable colossal statue of the hindu god Vishnu reclining on the coils of a cosmic serpent. This great stone figure is one of the masterpiece of stone sculptures of Lichchavi period, and is supposed to have been built in the fifth century.

Swayambhunath (Samhengu):

Listed as a world heritage site, this is one of the world's most glorious Buddhist sites in Nepal. Its established is linked to the creation of the Kathmandu Valley out of a primordial lake. Three km west of Kathmandu this site is situated on a hillock about 77 m. above the valley. Painted on the four-sides of the spire bases are the all seeing eyes of Lord Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

Boudhnath:

(Khasti or Dew Drops) Lying some 6 km to the east of Kathmandu, this colossal and ancient stupa is one of the biggest in the world, and the largest in the valley. A world heritage site, Boudhnath is supposed to have been built by using dew to mix the mortar as Kathmandu was reeling under a severe drought during its construction. The stupa looms 36 meters high and presents one of the most fascinating specimens of stupa design.

Changu Narayan Temple:

A world heritage Site, this temple dedicated to the Hindu god vishnu, is situated on a ridge overlooking the valley, some 12 km to the east of Kathmandu city. The temple is one of the finest specimens of pagoda architecture. Exquisite wood and stone carvings are its remarkable features.

Kirtipur:

Situated on a ridge 8-10 km south-west of Kathmandu, this ancient newar township has many things to offer, from old shrines, temples, artistic old houses to people dressed in old traditional costumes. Chilamchu stupa and the temple of Bagh Bhairav are major attractions here. And so is the natural fortress, this town is, with a proud and courageous history.

Dakshinkali:

Dedicated to the hindugoddess kali, this temple, some 22 kms away from the city center on the southern rim of the valley, is one of the most popular places for worshippers. Tuesday Saturdays are most auspicious ones when the ritual of animal sacrifice is performed before the deity. Moreover, this place has now been developed and has become a popular picnic spot.

Chobhar:

Enroute to Dakshinkali, about 9 km southwest of Kathmandu is the Chobbar Gorge. Lord Manjushree was the one who made the narrow gash in the hills, all the water of valley drain through which. Visiting the temple of Adinath on the top of a hill here. Offers an added advantage of having a panoramic view of snowcapped mountain peaks.

Shekha Narayan:

In between Dikshinkali and chobhar, is situated the temple of Shekha Narayan, representing one of the four Narayans of the valley. Others are: I changu Narayan(Kathmandu Changu Narayan Bhaktapur and Visankhu Narayan (Patan).

Singh Durbar:

Earlier the residence of Rana Prime Minister this grand imposing palace is now the secretariat of the Government of Nepal.

Narayanhity Durbar:

It is Nepal's present Royal Palace. A famous historic spout - Narayanhity - is one of the major attractions in the palace complex.

Sundarijal:

Nature has chosen Sundarijal to unveil some of its exotic scenic beauty. Wondersome waterfalls, cataracts and some some superb rock formations some of the constituents of this magnificent picnic spot.

Tundikhel:

The old city of Tundikhel have some of the precious landmarks of the valley. A 59.29 m tower, built by Bhimsen Thapa in 1832, stands at the south-western end of Tundikhel. The tower is known as Dharahara or Bhimsen stambha. Also belong to the same period is Sundhara fountains with golden water spouts, located at the foot of the Dharahara.

Martyr's Memorial Gate:

 This memorial arch is situated between bhimsen stambha and Bhadrakali temple. It contains the statue of late king Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah as well as the busts of four other martyrs.

Bhadrakali Temple:

 Near the Sahid gate is the temple of goddess Bhadrakali. This is one of the main "Shakta" temples of Kathmandu and is also known as "Lumarshi Temple".

 

 

 

 
 
 
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