The Durbar Square tour will take visitors to the well-known places, having housed kings of different dynasties and temple symbolising the
finest examples of Hindu and Buddhist architectures.
It is the residence of the Living Goddess and is built in traditional
design with intricate woodcarvings. The virgin Goddess comes from the Newari Shakya caste, should not have any body marks,
injuries and should be fearless to live alone in a dark room. She
is replaced by another when she reaches puberty.
One of the world’s most ancient, glorious, enigmatic and the
holiest of Buddhist Chaityas, dating back more than 2,000 years.
a little hill, Swayambhunath, literally “the
Self-Created or Existent”, is a mixture of small stupas
and pagoda temples contributed over time by the succession of kings
and noblemen. The major
of the stupa is built with a solid
hemisphere of brick and clay,
sustaining a very high conical spire and
capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. Painting on the 4 sides on
the base are the “All Seeing Eyes” of Lord Buddha. The
key features of Swayambhunath are “The Five Buddhas.”
A short stroll will take visitors to the temple of Lord Shiva-Pasupatinath
with a two-tiered golden roof and silver doors. This construction is
renowned for its grand Newari architecture, and is located close to the
riverside of the sacred Bagmati River. Entrance to the temple area
is allowed to “Hindus Only”; however, travellers
can see the temple from the eastern
riverfront of the Bagmati River.
Pashupati, the “Lord of the Animals”
is the patron deity of Nepal and thought to have been discovered
by a herder while 1 of his cattle was showering the earth with
milk. Across the sacred river, above the furnished monuments, is
the “Slasmantak or Mrigasthali Ban (forest)”
where legend has it that Lord Siva inhabited a form of an antelope
to evade the demigods.
This massive and ancient Stupa is one of Nepal’s most stunning
monuments and believed to be the world's biggest. It interests Nepalese
pilgrimage of Tibetan stock from as far as Dolpo and Mugu including Tibet, Ladhak in India and Bhutan. Baudhanath Stupa, with
all seeing eyes of the Adi Buddha on all the 4 sides of the stupa,
is said to support the remains of Kasyapa - the Buddha of the former
time. The monument is 100 metres in diameter and was constructed on an
At the base are prayer wheels created by the Lichchivi King
Mana Deva in the 5th century. The stupa is 36 metres high above
the base including the spire. The “all seeing eyes”
and the pinnacle reflects the stages of enlightenment, symbol
of royalty, compassion, knowing and nirvana. Many myths exist about
the origins of the stupa.
Also known as Bhadgaon, at an altitude of 1,401 metres, is
home to medieval art and architecture and was the site for Burtoluchhi’s
Little Buddha. The urban city covers an area of 4 square miles.
Shaped like a conch-shell, Bhaktapur, meaning city of
Devotees, produces pottery and weaving as its traditional industries.
Bhaktapur is in essence the Newari City and is 14 kilometres east of Kathmandu,
one of Nepal’s greatest treasures. Further is the Patan (The
City of Finest Arts).
Also called “Lalitpur” literally the city of fine
arts, is perhaps a living museum as it retains a medieval air of
the ancient times. Almost half the residents are craftsmen in their
own right. Patan was one of the major Buddhist cities in Asia by
the 7th century as scholars, pilgrims, monks from India, Tibet and
China visited the city.
Legends say that at one stage the entire population of Patan
City was comprised of monks and craftsmen only. The city is
filled with Hindu temples, Buddhist monuments and structures with
bronze gateways, guardian deities and intricate metal and woodcarvings.
In ancient times the ancestors of present day craftsmen were invited
to Tibet and as far as Peking to built pagodas, monasteries, and
images of Buddha and other revered deities.
Attractions in Kathmandu
Durbar Square is the heart of old Kathmandu and a group
of temples and shrines, with
carved roofs, doors and
windows. A number of ancient buildings existed despite the huge earthquake
of 1933; others were entirely reconstructed, not normally in their original
An ideal place to start travelling is the unprepossessing Kasthamandap,
claimed to be the oldest building in the valley. Though its history
imprecise, it is said to have been constructed around the 12th
century. It was first a community centre, then a temple to the
god Gorakhnath, and more currently, a gathering place for
porters in search of customers. Close by is the Maju Deval,
a Shiva temple with steps that are great for watching peddlers,
rickshaw wallahs and souvenir vendors providing all kinds of services
places include: the Great Bell, when rung,
is believed to ward off evil spirits; the Jaganath Temple,
famous for its blush-inducing array of erotic carvings; the fearsome
stone image of the 6-armed Kala Bhairab; and the Taleju
Temple, probably the most marvellous of the square's many
it is not open to the public; even the
Nepalese are not allowed to enter and can only visit during the yearly Dasain festival.
Kathmandu's most renowned street from the hippy days of the 1960s
and 70s runs south from Basantapur Square. Its real name
is Jochne but since the early 1970s it has been known as
Freak Street. In its heyday, the street's squalor and beauty was
irresistible: the smell of sweet incense, children fluttering
prayer wheels, cheap hotels, restaurants, and shops selling enlightenment,
epiphany - anything. Not surprisingly, it made an instant attraction
with the dusty-haired 'freaks' who gave the street its name. Freak
Street's history and plum position in the heart of old Kathmandu
still make it a popular destination.
Hanuman Dhoka (Old Royal Palace)
This palace was originally established during the Licchavi period,
even though King Pratap Malla constructed most of it in the 17th
century. Marking the entrance is Hanuman's statue, which is as memorial
to the monkey god's brave help Rama during the events of the Ramayana.
Protected under an umbrella, the statue's face is smeared with
red splodges, a paste applied by faithful followers. There are stone lions on each side
of the palace gate, one ridden by Shiva, the other
by his wife Parvati. Instantly above is a brightly painted niche
illustrated with a ferocious Tantric figurine.
There are many chowks or courtyards inside the palace as well as
Nasal Chowk. During the Rana dynasty, this courtyard was used
for coronations - a practice which continues today. Mul Chowk
is the place of sacrifices made to Taleju Bhawani, the royal goddess
of the Mullas, that takes place during the Dasain festival.
Offering views of Durbar Square, the western sector of the palace houses an attractive museum that celebrates King Tribhuvan's
successful putsch against the Ranas. Inside you get a weird insight
into King Tribhuvan's life: lots of personal effects, comprehensive photos, newspaper
clippings and luxurious furniture and knickknacks.