The first thing that comes to mind when talking about the capital city of Nepal Kathmandu is chaos, noise and traffic. But Kathmandu has much more to just that, there are many things to see in Kathmandu, Nepal, many world heritage sites made me understand the beauty that lies within.
The best part is that Kathmandu is the gateway to the Himalayas and some serious trekking in Nepal. It is believed that the valley of Kathmandu was once a huge lake, and geography proves it was 3000 years ago. The lake is believed to be drained by the mighty sword of Gurdian Angle and Goddess Manjushree. At present Kathmandu is not only a modern metropolitan city but holds its old traditions and culture. The following are 4 beautiful site I have seen in Kathmandu.
1. Bouddhanath Stupa:
This Stupa is 120 meters in diameter and is the largest and holiest Buddhist shrine in South Asia. It has been declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1979 and has been a Buddhist pilgrimage site ever since. Bouddhanath Stupa is colourfully surrounded by prayer flags and at its base many prayer wheels.The circular market surrounding the stupa symbolises Tibetan towns. Its shape is a lotus flower if seen from above, the flower which is very important to Buddhism. The 13 rings from bottom to the apex represent the steps to enlightenment.
Make sure to indulge in this peaceful place, enjoy the sound of the beautiful music they play, the chanting of people praying but make sure to go around the stupa clockwise. It costs 205NR to enter the Boudhanath Stupa.
2. Swayambhunath (a.k.a Monkey Temple):
Swayambhunath is a 25 century old monument, making it one of the oldest Buddhist Chaityas. It is well known as monkey temple because it has many monkeys occupying the area, in fact there is also a monkey pool. As you enter there is what they call the wishing pool in which coins are thrown in the copper pot. Aiming at the pot is tough but this is a lesson to all, do not fail to keep trying, if you try you will succeed one day. Up along the stairs to get to the world heritage site the Great Stupa of Swambhu which serves as the centre of faithful worship of Buddha. The site is beautiful and for only 200NR you will not only visit this holy site but its position offers picturesque views of Kathmandu valley with distant views of snow capped mountain peaks.
3. Kathmandu Durbar Square:
Even though the royal family has moved from this palace at least a century ago, this square which is the old royal palace complex, which is now classified as a world heritage site, still remains the most visited tourist attraction in Kathmandu. For a 1000NP you get to see many temples, monuments and art galleries, all in one place, dating back to the 12th century. Unfortunately since the earth quake in Nepal in 2015 the site is still now going some reconstruction from the damages done.
Some of the beautiful temples include, the Hanuman Dhoka is the complex old royal palaces itself, Kumari temple, a 3 storey buiding in which the living goddess Kumari lived, Maru Satal built in 1596A.D., Kathmandap rest house built from a single tree from the city, that’s where Kathmandu got its name and Maju deval a triple roofed temples built in 1690.
4. Pashupatinath Temple:
The Pashupantinath temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located at the bank of the holy Bagmati River which is also the head of the holy Ganges River, all the way to Varanasi, which is a very holy place for Hindus, in India. This is a very sacred place for the Hindu and here they perform open body burning rituals to the dead. Entrance fee is 1000NR.
These beautiful places are spread around Kathmandu and hiring a driver can make it more feasible to get to the places. Apart from that having a local guide to explain to you the history and beautiful stories that come with these world heritage sites is great to truly experience Kathmandu.
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