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Kathmandu Nepal points of interest

Discussion in 'Nepal' started by Harpz, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. Harpz

    Harpz New Member

    I have a weeks time which will be spent in Kathmandu in Nepal. I don't think I would be able to be in Nepal again, so this is like a once in a life time chance and I want to make it one of the best holidays.
    The time which I have is not a lot, but I am willing in squeeze in whatever I can to see Kathmandu.

    I would like some details about the points of interest in Kathmandu, whether it involves some hiking, trekking, seeing temples, you name it I want to see it all.

    I want to leave asap, so the sooner I get this information the quicker I can leave for my travel destination.
  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, @Harpz! Welcome to the forum!

    Kathmandu is a combination of it all, just like metropolitan cities in other countries. On one hand, there are the temples and monasteries that can take your breath away. On the other side, there are the shops and stalls that every traveller enjoy exploring into. Kathmandu, being the capital of Nepal, is one of the most progressive cities in the country. So it is also not devoid of pollution, chaos and crowds. But don't let that discourage you from visiting this beautiful city as it's also the base for some of the most amazing treks you can do. Do visit these attractions and activities that you can explore in Kathmandu:

    • Swayambhunath Temple - This is perhaps the most important and most famous religious site in the city. Believed to have been built around the 5th century, the imposing white structure along with its tower which has the signature Buddha eyes, is a sight to behold in the city. The stupa is also believed to be a self-created one, hence the name swayambhu. According to legends, a lotus flower once grew in the site of a lake here and when Manjushri drained the lake, the flower became a stupa. There are two ways of reaching the temple, either by walking its 365 steps or taking your vehicle and climbing only a few steps. Many prefer reaching it through the first way though by walking as it adds to the adventure and makes your visit more satisfying. Around the main stupa, there are other smaller shrines dedicated to different gods and goddesses. There are also many monkeys around the temple, giving it its other name, Monkey Temple.
    • Boudhanath Stupa - It's not unusual to see devotees flocking to the Boudhanath Stupa even on weekdays. This stupa is one of the most revered religious sites in the city, especially for the Buddhists. From a distance, the stupa is visible, with its white dome and large tower. Its mandala has the five Dhyani Buddhas and its pinnacle has 13 rings, symbolising the path to enlightenment. Around the base, there are sculptures of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. The symbolic Buddha eyes is also present in the stupa. During night time, the stupa is illuminated by the hundreds of candles lit all around it.
    • Pashupatinath Temple - Take a walk around the Pashupatinath Temple and you'd find many elderly people in its premises. According to local beliefs, the temple is so sacred that if you are cremated in this site, you would then be reincarnated as a human, even if you have committed so many sins in your life. This alone is enough reason to visit the Pashupatinath Temple. The temple is dedicated to Pashupatinath, who is a manifestation of Lord Shiva. The shivalingam here is four-faced, which is very unusual for its kind. Cremation rituals are done outside the temple, in the Bhasmeshvar Ghat. The Bagmati River is also a revered site in the area, which is just outside the temple premises.
    • Kopan Monastery - This monastery was founded in the 19th century by Lama Thubten Yeshe. What makes it different from other monasteries is that it offers meditation courses to travellers for a nominal fee. The fee includes lodging and meals already. The location of the monastery is upon a hillock, which is what makes your stay serene and peaceful. You'd be away from all modern advancements like television, cellphone, internet and even music while staying in the monastery. If that doesn't appeal to you, the monastery is open for tourists for a day visit as well.
    • Budhanilkantha Temple - A bit further from the city centre of Kathmandu, in the Shivapuri hill, lies the reclining image of Vishnu, set amidst a water reservoir. The statue was carved out of a single, black basalt rock and depicts Vishnu lying over the serpent, Shesha. This reclining image of Vishnu is also known as Jalakshayan Narayan, which is also the other name for the temple. An interesting fact is that the name of the temple means old blue throat and usually, this refers to Shiva, as reference to the story when the god drank the poison that made his throat turn blue. It is believed that the water in the reservoir originated from the Gosainkund Lake, from which Shiva drank some water after drinking the poison.
    • Dakshinkali Temple - This temple is also located within the outskirts of Kathmandu, about 22 kilometres away. The temple name means Goddess Kali of the South and here she is revered in her bloodthirsty form. Thus, every Saturdays and Tuesdays, animals are sacrificed to the goddess as a means to quench her love for blood. The sacrifices are supposed to grant the wishes of the devotees and in a way, promotes the soul of the animal into a higher life. The temple itself is fairly small, with a small sanctum housing the statue of Goddess Kali. The devotees also slather the blood into the statue and into themselves after the sacrifice.
    • Pullahari Monastery - A few kilometres away from the Boudhanath Stupa, you'd find the Pullahari Monastery. Built around the year 1987, under the guidance of Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, it was finally opened to the public in 1992. The monastery is set amidst a stunning landscape, with colourful gardens and lush greenery. You would find stupas all around the monastery as well. There are many monks residing in the monastery and this adds to the serenity of the place. The chanting, the smell of the incense and the natural sceneries, this all comes up to a pleasant visit to the Pullahari Monastery.
    • Durbar Square - The Durbar Square in Kathmandu is home to many temples, shrines and royal palaces that can be traced back to the ancient era. However, during the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, many of the structures in the Durbar Square were completely destroyed. Unfortunately, the Durbar Square was largely affected by the earthquake. Some of the structures remaining in the square are the Jannath Temple, Taleju Temple and Kumari House. All other structures have been destroyed by the earthquake. Still, the Durbar Square is worth a visit as it is the city centre of Kathmandu and probably the busiest area in the region.
    • Ratna Park - For a long while, the Ratna Park has been neglected and a location for mysterious stories. In 2014, the park was closed and went under renovation. When it was finally opened in 2015, the changes to the park were apparent. Benches were added in, with well-manicured lawns and small ponds. The park was a sprawling ground for numerous flowers and lush greenery. There were also small play areas that were added into the park. Just this year, free WiFi services were introduced into the park. Thus, the Ratna Park is a popular local attraction which tourists can also enjoy visiting.
    • Garden of Dreams - Constructed in the 1920s, the Garden of Dreams was once the private garden of Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana. The garden was extensively renovated in 2000 and was opened to the public in 2007. Its other name is the Garden of Six Seasons, as its sections represent the six seasons of Nepal. The lawns here are well-maintained and has severals benches for guests to relax in. There are also many fountains that add to the beauty of the place. Recently, several cafes, a museum and a library were added into the garden. Entrance to the garden is quite steep Rs. 200 for foreigners but this fee helps for the maintenance of the place.
    • National Botanical Gardens - About 14 kilometres away from Kathmandu, there's the National Botanical Gardens, nestled at the foothills of Phulchwoki. There are over 500 species of plants here and it's best visited during spring, when all the flowers are in bloom. The garden is also home to many resident birds and butterflies. During winter, migratory birds flock to the garden as well. Just outside, the Godavari Spring is also worth a visit, which can be a refreshing treat after a walk in the garden.
    Bodies of Water
    • Taudaha Lake - One of the most sacred lakes in the region, the Taudaha Lake is a great getaway for locals and tourists alike. According to local legends, Taudaha Lake is one of the lakes created when Manjushri cut off a hill in the Kathmandu Valley. The lake is held sacred as this is where the Naga King Karkotak lives. Swimming, boating and fishing are prohibited in the lake so there's not much you can do here but enjoy the views of the tranquil waters and the birds flocking to it.
    • Sundarijal Waterfalls - This waterfall is about 15 kilometres from Kathmandu, located in Bagmati. The water from the falls isn't that powerful or huge especially during summer season. But during monsoon, the water from the falls is fed by the monsoon rains and it's very much worth a visit. The trek to reach the falls can be quite enjoyable too. You can also trek to reach the peak of the waterfalls but do so at your own risk. It's a great getaway from the pollution and chaos of the city life of Kathmandu.
    • Narayanhiti Palace Museum - This palace has seen numerous tragedies, from the 2001 Royal Family Massacre to the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. But still, it stands strong today as a testament of the legacy of Kathmandu. It was once the residence of the royal family of Nepal but some parts of it were converted into a museum in 2008, after the abolishment of the monarchy in the country. The palace has three wings and about 50 plus rooms. The three wings can be categorised into a state wing (where events were held), a private wing (where the royals resided) and a guest wing (where official guests stayed).
    • National Museum - Originally, the National Museum was known as the Chhauni Silkhana and it housed numerous artefacts relating to the war like armours and weaponries. Now though, several sections have been added into the museum and it houses a huge variety of collections. From ancient coins, statues, paintings, stuffed animals and dolls, it's sure to fascinate the history lover in you. The museum is open everyday except Tuesdays and government holidays. The window time is also short at 10:30 am to 3:00 pm only.
    • Treks - Kathmandu is the base for many treks, from short day treks and even to more difficult week-long treks. For short treks, consider the regions of Champadevi, Nagarkot and Chisapani. These treks range between one day to three days only. For the more adventurous people, you can opt for treks on Balthali and Chandragiri. You can also trek the Mount Everest after a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. Thus, there are many treks suitable for both beginners and experts around the region.
    • Flight through Everest - For people who are not fit enough for trekking the Mount Everest, then taking a flight around it can be a good alternative. Sure, the best way to see Mount Everest is by foot but it can be dangerous as well. A safer bet would be through a flight but yes, it can be very expensive. If you're a photographer, then taking panoramic photos this way can also be very satisfying.
    • Street shopping - Whether you're looking for souvenirs to take home, or maybe wanting to buy some textiles, Kathmandu has many shopping markets for that. One of the best places for this is Thamel, where there are lines of shops, stalls and lodges in its streets. Bargaining is a must here so be sure to haggle your way into the items. New Road is yet another good option for budget shoppers, as it has both local and international brands at affordable prices. For the brand conscious shoppers, there's the Durbar Marg, where international brands flourish.
    • Yoga and meditation courses - I've mentioned the Kopan Monastery before which has meditation courses for guests. There are many more ashrams and yoga centres in Kathmandu though that you can visit. Blessed with scenic views and serenity, it's a must to try self-introspection and meditation in the region. Some other ashrams you can look into are the Divya Ashram, Himalayan International Yoga Academy Centre and Nepal Vipassana Centre.
    There you go, I hope this helps you!:)
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