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An Insight :

Kathmandu, located at an elevation of approx. 1400 metres in the bowl-shaped valley surrounded by four major hills, is the capital and the largest city in Nepal with over a million inhabitants. It symbolises all that is Nepal. Having seen the rule of various dynasties, the culture and society of Kathmandu has evolved through time to give it a most unique characteristic.

Kathmandu, today is an urban city, with the most advanced infrastructure among urban areas in Nepal. It is a gateway to Nepal Tourism and its economy is tourism centric. This city has its history rooted in ancient myths yet stands testimonial to the greatness of the people who have lived here for centuries. From the point of view of tourism, economy and cultural heritage, the sister cities of Lalitpur (Patan) and Bhaktapur are integral to Kathmandu.

Lets Explore the Mystical Kathmandu Valley – Sightseeing in Kathmandu;
Durbar Square – Durbar Square served as the main city square of ancient Kathmandu with the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, built by Pratap Malla, as the residence of the royal families in the past. Named after the statue of the monkey god Hanuman.The palace today is a museum. While the actual palace compound covers a large area, numerous other temples dedicated to various Hindu gods and goddesses surround the palace and are preserved as they were built hundreds of years ago. Visiting the Durbar Square, especially during the festivals is like going back in time, as ancient traditions are carried out enthusiastically by the locals. Durbar Square is one of the seven Monument Zones that make up the Kathmandu Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Swayambhunath Stupa - Approximately 2000 years old, Swayambhunath is perched on a hillock on the south-western edge of Kathmandu. The stupa, is a dome 20 meters in diameter and 32 meters high and is made of brick and earth mounted by a conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. It is surrounded by many other smaller temples and places of religious importance for both Hindus and Buddhists, a perfect example of the symbiotic co-existence of different religious beliefs only found in Nepal. The hill is heavily wooded on all sides with indigenous plant species, and troops of monkeys, giving it the name of Monkey Temple. The height of Swayambhunath also makes it a good vantage point and on clear sunny days one can see the Himalaya all the way to the east.

Pashupatinath - The temple of Pashupatinath located on the western banks of the Bagmati river on the north eastern side of Kathmandu, is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimages in the world. Until recently when Nepal was officially a Hindu Kingdom, Pashupatinath, literally “Lord of all Animals”, was considered the main protector deity of Nepal. Pashupatinath is said to have been discovered by a cow herder who dug up the area after seeing one of his cow’s coming to the spot and emptying its milk there. The inner sanctum of the temple has a lingam, a stone phallus with four faces around it. As one of the many forms of Lord Shiva, one of the three main gods of the Hindu Trinity. The temple and its surrounding complex is surrounded by a pantheon of other temples like the Kirateswore Mahadev, Bhairav, Guheswori, and Gorakhnath each of whom have their own tale of origin and importance. The Pashupatinath is a UNESCO World Heritage Zone

Boudhanath - With a base of 82 meters in diameter, Boudhanath is claimed to be the largest Buddhist stupa in the world. There are many legends attached to Boudhanath chief among which is that of the 5th century Lichivi King Manadev who built it to do penance for parricide. Lost and forgotten for centuries Boudhanath was rediscovered in the 15th century from whence it slowly started gaining reputation among Tibetan Buddhists. Today there are more than 50 monasteries surrounding Boudhanath which is also one of the seven Monument Zone which make up the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site.

Bhaktapur - One of the three main cities in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is located east of Kathmandu and is in reality a medieval city where the Newars, the main inhabitants still follow age old traditions and customs. Established around the 9th century Bhaktapur is known for its fertile land and was still a small farming village when Patan and Kathmandu were already well established towns. It houses some of the best examples of Nepali craftsmanship on wood and stone such as the Palace of 55 Windows built in 1697, the five storied Nyatapola Temple, the Kashi Biswanath Temple, the Dattatreya Temple among many others. Considered a living museum one can witness ancient traditions carried out even today as they were centuries ago in many areas of the city such as in Potters Square where the local potters use age old techniques to make clay utensils. Bhaktapur is among the seven Monument Zones that make the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site.

Patan – Patan as it is known today is located on the southern banks of the Bagmati River and is one of the three main cities in Kathmandu Valley. The city is believed to be the first settlement in the Valley and was established by the Kirat dynasty who ruled for more than 1200 years from the 3rd century BC. Patan is famous for its amazing collection of fantastically carved temples, palace courtyards, water spouts, public baths and houses with their equally elaborate wood, stone and metal carvings under the patronages of the Kirat, Lichivi and Malla kings. Patan Durbar square is one of the seven Monument Zones that make up the Kathmandu Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Where is Kathmandu?
By Air – Kathmandu is Nepal’s only international airport and gateway for all travelers arriving by air. A lot of International airlines operate direct flights to and fro Kathmandu. Kathmandu is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi and Kolkata in India, and to Paro in Bhutan. Kathmandu also serves as a major hub, and connects almost all parts of Nepal.

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