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Kathmandu valley consists of three ancient cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur - Historical places of Nepal. In ancient times, it was an independent state, which was ruled by the Malla regime from the period of 12 to 18 century. In these three cities, but rather within a radius of 15 km, there are 7 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley, namely:
The valley is also home to hundreds of other exquisite monuments, sculptures, temples and stunning examples of art which are reminiscent of the period of the "golden era" in the history of Nepal's architecture.
Legend has it that in ancient times the Kathmandu valley was a huge lake among the verdant mountains. The depth of the lake lived a huge serpent, and above the surface, on the island, which is now the top of the hill monkeys’ self-arisen crystal stupa of Swayambhunath. According to the version of the Buddhist Bodhisattva, Manjushri drained the lake with a magical sword severing ridge so that people can visit this place. The water stream ran through the fertile valley leaving the land capable of supporting large urban settlements for millennia. Hindus believe that the lake was drained by Lord Krishna, who with the help of thunder and lightning cut through Chobar gorge, through which the water flowed out of the lake. In any case, it is scientifically proven that the ancient Kathmandu valley was a lake bottom, from which the water flowed through the gorge of Chobar about 100,000 years ago. In the Kathmandu Valley it is still possible to find shells of ancient inhabitants of the lake.
Gopal dynasty and Kirata dynasty were the first rulers of these places, then they were replaced by the Lichhavi regime (300 - 879 BC GG), in which trades and crafts flourished. Until now, the in Kathmandu Valley, the beautifully decorated palaces, pagodas and artfully created monumental stupa can be seen, which serve as a testimony to the architectural genius of the Newar craftsmen. These indigenous inhabitants of the valley are those whose skills have been supported by the Malla dynasty of kings.
Kathmandu, the largest city of Nepal, is a political and cultural capital of the country. Kathmandu is a city permeated by the greatness of the past, which surrounds the travelers. Kathmandu is a city where you cannot not set your eyes to the exquisite carved wooden window frame buildings of the 18th century, or bronze sculpture, or inspiring a mortar. Like any big city, Kathmandu, has significantly expanded its territory over the past decade, but despite the hustle and bustle typical of the city, its people remain surprisingly calm and friendly. Preserving the ancient traditions, Kathmandu believes in the blessing of the living goddess Kumari and constantly inspired by the endless celebrations, religious holidays, which are covered with plenty of legendary tales and is quite spectacular consisting of chariots and dancers dressed up in costumes of deities.
Hanuman Dhoka, Kathmandu
Located in the heart of old Kathmandu in Basantapur, Kathmandu Durbar Square never ceases to amaze visitors with its ensemble of palaces, courtyards and temples, built during the Malla dynasty. Durbar Square includes the Royal Palace, Hanuman Dhoka - the historic residence of the royals; magnificent temple of Taleju, towering more than 40 meters; Kumari Ghar- residence of the living goddess Kumari; Ashok Vinayak unique temple, also known as Kathmandu Ganesh; and Kal Bhairav, dedicated to wrathful deities. The name itself comes from the capital of Nepal giant pagoda Kasthamandap, which is said to have been built entirely out of a single tree. Unfortunately, this masterpiece of Nepalese architecture was badly damaged during an earthquake in 2015. Since the days of the kings of Malla Durbar Square was the central place of social, religious and political life of the country.
Akash Bhairav Temple
Akash Bhairav Temple, which is dedicated to the wrathful manifestation of Shiva, was supposedly built in the 12th century. This three-storey temple with a tiled roof, overhanging balconies and gilded latticed windows located on a shopping street, called Indra Chowk.
Asan Trade Area
As the center of the old Kathmandu, Asan market area is approximately midway on the area and the street Durbar Marg. Asan area is the place of intersection of six roads radiating in all directions. The three-storied pagoda is the temple of Annapurna, the goddess of grain, is central to this vibrant market. Asan is still an important trading center and one of the busiest shopping areas with shops selling handmade spices, cooking utensils, fresh and organic vegetables, Chinese goods, equipment and clothing.
Swayambhunath Stupa (The UNESCO World Heritage Site)
One of the most sacred Buddhist stupas, the Swayambhunath is located on Monkey Hill in the western part of Kathmandu valley. The name of the stupa is translated as "self-arisen," and the history of this stupa dates back to those times, when in place of the Kathmandu Valley was a huge lake. Currently around the stupa there are numerous monuments, statues, temples and other places of interest. The hill offers a panoramic view of the valley of Kathmandu.
Boudhanath Stupa (The UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Boudhanath Stupa (Boudha) is one of the most spectacular sights in Kathmandu. History of the stupa has several legends. In our time, it formed the whole area around the stupa of Boudha, which became the center of Tibetan Buddhism. You can not only make a detour around the stupa, but also to visit monasteries, go to the shops and eat in the cafe. Boudhanath Stupa has turned to be the most popular tourist destination due to its vibrant environment.
Pashupatinath temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Historical places of nepal pashupatinath temple is the holiest Hindu Shiva temple in the world. The temple is located on the banks of the Bagmati River, which originates in the hills of Shivapuri. The Pashupatinath temple is a two-tiered pagoda with golden roof and silver doors. Chronicles indicate that the church already existed before 400 AD. The temple complex includes other smaller temples; houses with lingams; home, where they sustain terminally ill people and the elderly living alone; on the banks of the river are the ghats, where corpses are burned; near deer park; hermits caves and other interesting objects. This place is visited by thousands of pilgrims; here you can find a sadhu, leading a nomadic life.
Three kilometers to the north-west of Kathmandu the Balaju garden lies close to Nagarjuna hill. It is a quiet park, ideal for relaxing. In the park you can see 22 beautiful stone-trough cranes, created in the 18th century, each of which is neatly machined crocodile head. During the annual festival, people come here to take a ritual bath. There is also a repl ica of the statue of sleeping Vishnu, the original of which is in Budanilkantha. This replica was built specifically for the King of Nepal because Nepal's king was traditionally considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and he was not allowed to see the original article. Balaju is above Nagarjuna Park, which is now part of the Shivapuri National Park - Nagarjuna.
Shivapuri National Park, Nagarjuna
Shivapuri National Park is located on the hills in the north of the Kathmandu Valley. You can drive to it before reaching Budanilkantha and a little walk from there. The Shivapuri National Park is a great place to relax. The famous Buddhist monastery of Nagi Gompa, several retreat centers, and other facilities is situated in the national park. Shivapuri hermits can also be traced on top of the hill. It is home to 19 species of mammals, including the Himalayan bear, leopard, barking deer, wild boar, wild cat, rhesus macaque and langur, 177 species of birds, 102 species of butterflies, 129 varieties of mushrooms.
The temple is located 8 km from Kathmandu. The pond of the temple is a large statue of Lord Vishnu sleeping on a bed of serpent. The statue is made of granite and some consider it miraculous. According to one legend, in ancient times (and the temple dates from the 5th century BC) on the site of the temple one farmer began to cultivate the field. When the field was harvested, the volume turned out to be several times greater than the normal harvest of those places. In order to discover and understand the reason for an abnormally high yield, the people began to dig up the ground and ran to the statue of the Sleeping Vishnu. During the scenario, the statue was damaged by excavation of a finger of the feet, from which it started to trickle milk. After this, the temple was built here. Buddhists, who also revere the temple, have a different version of the temple which explains that on the bed of snakes is the Naga King. These are the places of religious importance in Nepal
Thamel is a tourist district of Kathmandu, and life here is in full swing until late at night. The area is located a 10-minute walk from the center of Kathmandu, but it is completely different from the rest of the city. Thamel is designed exclusively for the tourists with dozens of hotels, restaurants, bars, bookstores, welcoming souvenir shops, internet cafes, shops, goods for tourism and travel agencies. Everything that tourists need is to be found here, even friends and traveling companions.
Garden of Dreams
At the entrance to Thamel is a renovated complex of the Keshar Mahal. There is a large and beautiful garden with gazebos, fountains, garden furniture and other interesting items in the European and Chinese style. There is a restaurant and café in the center of the beautifully carved garden. The designed garden is very popular for tourists and the local youth for sunbathing, lazing around the day and even a perfect location for photography destination.
It is located on a ridge at 8 km south-west of Kathmandu. This city has retained the spirit of past times with its stone-paved streets, with typical red brick houses, tile roofs and temples. The main attractions are Chilamchu stupa and temple of Bagh Bhairav (means "angry tiger"). Nearby is the main higher educational institution of Nepal, the Tribhuvan University.
Pharping is located on a hilltop, 18 km away from Kathmandu. There are a large number of ancient Buddhist shrines, among them: the two main caves, blessed by Guru Rinpoche which are the Asura Cave and Cave Yanglesho, the self-arisen on the stone image of Green Tara, Vajrayogini temple, Buddhist monasteries and retreat centers.
Four kilometers south of Pharping is where Dakshinkali is located. It is a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. The temple is especially crowded on Tuesdays and Saturdays, days when sacrifices are made to the deity. The road from Kathmandu passes through the gorge Chobar. Through this gorge 100,000 years ago I left the water out of the lake, which was on the site of the Kathmandu Valley. Also close to the top of the hill there is a small but picturesque temple of Adinath, with a panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains.
Narayan temple is located between the Sesa Chobar and Dakshinkali. This temple is one of the four temples of Lord Narayan in Kathmandu. The three others are the Changu Narayan Temple in Bhaktapur, Narayan Visankhu in Patan and Ichangu Narayan in Kathmandu are the national monuments of nepal.
Patan also known as Lalitpur is a city of artisans. It is located at 5 km south-east of Kathmandu. Since ancient times, there lived the best artisans who have preserved ancient minting technique and method of the "lost wax" as used for the production of exquisite sculptures. The town retains much of the old charm with its narrow streets, brick houses and plenty of well-preserved Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples and monuments. Here, you can hear the sound of those instruments with which the local craftsmen make handmade sculptures. As in Kathmandu, Buddhism and Hinduism have coexisted here for centuries, influencing each other, becoming a good example of religious harmony.
Patan Durbar Square (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Durbar Square in Patan is located in the heart of the city. The ancient state kings of Patan lived here at the former palace now turned museum. Durbar Square is a fascinating combination of the palace buildings, beautiful courtyards and elegant pagodas. It is a remarkable example of Newari architecture that reached its peak during the reign of the Malla kings. Among the many yards, you can see restored Keshav Narayan Chowk, which turned into a museum of bronze artifacts. Likewise, the Sundari Choke refined wood carving, as well as from metal and stone sculptures. There also exists the magnificent Krishna temple with its 21 gilded spires, built entirely of stone in 1637. It was probably the first example of the sikhara architectural style in Nepal.
To the east of Durbar Square in Patan is the Mahabouda temple, exquisite monument of Buddhist architecture. It is a copy of the Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, where Buddha attained enlightenment under the bodhi tree. This architectural masterpiece was created in the 14th century. You can see that on the walls of the temple are engraved hundreds of images of Lord Buddha which is also a historical places of Nepal.
Varna Mahavira Rudra Temple
Also known as Uku Bach, it is a few steps from the temple of Mahaboudha. The temple is splendid and comprises a collection of images and statues of metal, stone and wood. The temple is a structured two-story building with a gilded roof which surrounds the cobbled courtyard beneath. It is believed that in ancient times the kings were crowned here. You can also find some badges as a gift treasure.
Golden Temple - Hiranya Varna Mahavihar
This unique Buddhist temple is located to the north of Durbar Square in Patan, and is striking in its unique beauty. It is believed that the temple was founded in the 12th century; therefore, in its present form, has existed since 1409. The temple gets its name from the gilded metal plates covering most of its facade.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is the only five-story pagoda in Patan and one of only three remaining five-storey temple in the country. The temple was built in 1392, and in the courtyard of the temple there is a natural source of streaming water. It is said that the water source enters from a glacial lake named Gosaikunda. During the celebration of Janai Purnima in August, the tradition of pilgrims attending to bathe is still practiced.
Jagat Narayan Temple
Jagat Narayan temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is on the banks of the Bagmati River in Sankhamul. It is the tallest building in shikhara style, built of red brick. The temple has many beautiful images. There is a metal statue of Lord Garuda, mounted on a monolith accompanied by several images of Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman.
The greatest Emperor Ashoka built four stupas on the perimeter of Patan in 250 BC. It is regarded as the heyday of Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley. Hence, these stupas are known as the Ashoka stupa.
The settlement of Tibetan refugees
The settlement of Tibetan refugees on the outskirts of Patan is a tourist attraction. There are many shops that sell woolen handmade carpets and handicrafts items such as holy prayer drums, wooden bowls and magnificent handcrafted jewelry. The camp also consists of stupas and several temples.
Patan district of artisans
Famous for wood carving, metal works, production of the hand-woven woolen carpets and thanka paintings, the district is located in Lagankhel near Sat-Dobato. There is a huge shopping arcade, where any locally manufactured goods can be bought.
Perched on a hill at an altitude of 1401 m, Bhaktapur or previously known as Bhadgaon, when translated means "the faithful city", is a major tourist destination. The Bhaktapur city is an authentic conveyance to the guests of the glorious past of this place. Bhaktapur is located 12 kilometers east of Kathmandu on highway Arniko, leading to the border with China. Bhaktapur, covering an area of 6.4 sq. km, not yet touched by urbanization and has been able to keep its paved roads, houses made of red brick and a lifestyle that dates back to the Middle Ages. This ancient town is famous for its pottery and wood carvings which can be seen around.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square (The UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Among the three palace areas of the Kathmandu Valley, the palace in Bhaktapur is the most elegant one with its open views to the south. Created in the 15th century, such masterpieces as the palace of the fifty-five carved window and the Golden Gate, the entrance to the palace added splendor to this palace area, which consists of buildings constructed from the 13th to the 18th century. This extraordinary Durbar Square with its unusual monuments reflects the glorious Malla dynasty of the era when art and architecture flourished in the three cities of the Kathmandu Valley. In front of the palace, countless temples and architectural masterpieces are located, such as the Lion Gate, the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla mounted on a high stone pillar and the Batsala temple. The Batsala temple is an excellent example of the shikhara architectural style. On the terrace of the temple, there is a bronze bell, which is also known as the bell of barking dogs. Constructed by King Ranjit Malla in 1737, his jingle announced the beginning and end of each hour.
The unique Nyatopola temple dominates the urban landscape as a popular source of tourist attraction. The temple is dedicated to the tantric goddess, and the steps leading to the temple accompanied by stone sculptures of deities and mythical beasts. Despite the fact that this is the tallest temple in the area, Nyatopola temple withstood the devastating earthquake of 1933 and 2015.
The three-storey temple is dedicated to Lord Bhairavnath. The Bhairavnath temple has an artifact designed as the head of Lord Bhairava who broke a tantric monument in Bhaktapur. The temple was built in the style of a pagoda and is known for its artistic greatness. It is adjacent to the famous five-storied pagoda temple Nyatapola.
The area is named after the temple of Dattatreya. It is built in the honor of the three-headed combination of Hindu deities, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. This temple was built from the trunk of a single tree. Next to this temple is a monastery with windows, decorated with elegantly carved peacocks.
For a small city, Bhaktapur has the greatest number of public water reservoirs constructed in the city. Siddha Pokhari, the appearance of which dates back to the period of Lichhavi dynasty, is situated near the local bus stop. This large rectangular pond teeming with fishes is exclusive as you can see the stone images of Buddhist and Hindu deities on its walls.
This is a residential village, located about 8 km east of Kathmandu on the road to Bhaktapur. In addition to agriculture and livestock, most families residential here are engaged in pottery. This easy-going city provides Kathmandu its pottery and vegetables. There is a temple called the Balkumari dedicated to the Mother Goddess and the Buddha of compassion, Goddess Karunamayi.
Surya Binayak Temple
The temple is dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Ganesha. It is situated in a dense forest south of Bhaktapur, a 20-minute walk from the bus stop. The temple is crowded with pilgrims, especially on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Changu Narayan (The UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Changu Narayan temple is located on a ridge with a view of Bhaktapur about 12 kilometers east of Kathmandu. It is dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Vishnu and is one of the oldest pagodas in the valley. The Changu Narayan temple is dated back from the era of the Lichhavi is decorated with fine wood and stone carvings.
It is located in the Chowni Swayambhu at the foot of the hill. The building premises, now used as the National Museum was the private residence of the greatest Prime Minister of Nepal, Bhimsen Thapa, the Prime Minister who built Dharahara. The museum displays a fine collection of bronze images and thankas, the paintings on scrolls, as well as a magnificent collection of firearms from the ancestral, medieval and modern era, and a prestigious sword given by Napoleon.
National Numismatic Museum
The National Numismatic Museum is located at the National Museum which has an exclusive collection of Nepalese coins from the glorious periods of the Lichhavi and the Malla (from 2nd to 18th century), and the coins from the Shah regime.
National Museum of Ethnography
The National Museum of Ethnography is located on the first floor of a tourist center in Bhrikuti Mandap. Here are the dioramas depicting life of the eleven ethnic communities of Nepal.
Hanuman Dhoka Palace Museum
Situated in Kathmandu, the architectural museum of Hanuman Dhoka Palace at Durbar Square traces three museums dedicated to the three kings of the Shah dynasty, who are the Late King Tribhuvan, King Mahendra and King Birendra. It demonstrates the life of three generations of the Shah Dynasty and presented gifts, jewelries, clothing, and the individual collection of the late Kings. One of the attractions is the ancient nine-story palace consisting of huge delicate carved windows.
The museum inaugurated at the Patan Durbar Square specializes in bronze statues and religious attributes. The museum displays are some extraordinary 200 exhibits, some of which date back to the 11th century. For the most part it is a statue of Lord Buddha, Lord Vishnu, and Goddess Lokeshwari, all related to Buddhism and Hinduism and provide meaning and content from the living traditions. The projection covers a long span of Nepal’s cultural history and some rare artifacts from the Malla era, for example, the throne of the Malla kings, are among its treasures. From a national collection of more than 1500 objects, around 300 were selected for permanent exhibition here. The objects are accompanied by the written commentary by scholar and author Mary Slusser who attempts to explain their artistic, spiritual and historical significance as the cultural heritage of Nepal.
National Art Gallery
Residence in an old palace of the Malla kings, is consists of 55 windows on the Palace Square in Bhaktapur. It was established by the Government of Nepal, Department of Archaeology in 1960. The gallery projects a rich collection of thankas, and artifacts made of bronze, brass, stone and wood. These collections include the invaluable paubhas and manuscripts that date back centuries and also houses centuries old sculptures and artifacts. The Stone Art Section of the gallery on the ground floor exhibits inscriptions dated back to the time of Lichhavi King Shiva Deva and King yaksha Malla in 1468 A.D. The four-faced Shivalinga, Harihar, Surya, Chandrama, Vishnu, Tara, Ardhanariswar and some architectural fragments are worth mentioning. Similarly, the gallery also consists of the exclusive painting section on the first floor. The remarkable paubhas of Vasundhara Mandala, Lord Ganesha with shakti, Mahisa Sambhara, vajra Yogini and Shiva Niswarupa are of great significance. They are the best representations of medieval folk art of Nepal.
National Museum of Woodcarving
The museum is located at the Dattatreya Square in a renovated 15th-century building known as the Pujari Math. Pujari Math is a museum in itself with its unsurpassed carved windows, including the famous image of a peacock window and Newari woodcarvings. Here are ancient and medieval paintings belonging to the Hindu and Buddhist schools. Also there are wood carving samples that go back to the 15th century. Wood was a major constructing item long before that time but not much survives due to the adverse effects of time and weather. The building was constructed in the 15th century by King Yalsha Ma;;a. It is called the Pujari Math and outside the Math, you have to get out of the museum and walk along on alley where the celebrated Peacock Window is situated. The interesting thing about the National Museum of Woodcarving is an astounding amount of mural paintings that adorn each wa;;s of a different deity such as Lord Dattatreya, Lord Shiva with wife Goddess Parbati and Lord Bishnu. The museum is of great interest to those visiting from afar for the locally accumulated amazing collection of the precious wood carvings.
National Museum of Bronze and Brass
The museum is located in a 15th century building opposite of the Pujari Math, the National Museum of Woodcarving at Tachapal Tol in Bhaktapur. The museum has displayed a rich collection of ritual objects made of metal, dating back to the 15th century. It is housed in a newly renovated building near the Pujari Math. In this National Museum of metals, you can find a miraculously rich collection of domestic and ceremonial metal ware exhibited in the museum. Kalash (ritual jars), ink pots, spittoons, ordinary and ritual lamps and a fancy collection of water pots, medieval utensils, giant containers and hookahs, all specifically used for rituals. Most of these objects are dated back to the era of Malla. Platters for worship, lamps, water pots, horns and other commodities projects the humble living of the common people. Whereas, the ink pots and bookshelf that was gifted by the royal family, can be promptly seen in the royal gallery of the museum. The museum provides an insight of the Newar community who have contributed so much in the evolution of the Nepalese society.
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