Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath, and Boudhanath
Starting off with the famous sacred Hindu’s temple Pashupatinath is located on the banks of Bagmati River which is one of the holiest places for all the Hindus around the world. Turning the pages of the history this temple of Lord Shiva was discovered around the 5th century and till date festivals with unique rituals such as Shivaratri and Teej are celebrated in Pashupatinath. Although the main temple is only open for Hindu devotees, tourists of other religions can easily observe the rest of the temple premise after the payment of NPR 1000 for entrance.
Swayambhunath and Boudhanath are two of the major Buddhist stupas in the valley; Swayambhunath is located to the northwest hilltop and Boudhanath to the northeastern vicinity of the valley. These stupas are unique in their own rights with the Swayambhunath offering sublime views of the entire Kathmandu valley and Boudhanath famous for being a combination of Buddhist art, architecture, and lavish eateries. Buddha Jayanti and Lhosar are celebrated in these stupas with grand decorations and endemic practices. NPR 200 is the entry fee for Swayambhunath whereas NPR 400 is the tourist fee to enter Boudhanath.
Patan, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur Durbar Squares
One of the main attractions listed under UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the Patan Durbar Square, a prosperous city since ancient times. Patan, one of the oldest of all three cities in the valley of Kathmandu, is best known for its artistic heritage. Patan, also known as Lalitpur, and Patan Durbar Square, in particular, is surrounded by four stupas in each corner that are believed to be built by great emperor Ashoka. Krishna Mandir- a Shikhara architecture temple, Kartik Nach, Krishna Janmashtami, and Bhimsen Rath Jatra are the festivities celebrated in and around the palace vicinity.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is another architecturally prosperous site which also features the famous Kumari Ghar, the residence of the living goddess- Kumari. The Durbar square is spread across a large span of area and hosts many culturally significant buildings. Kal Bhairav Temple, Basantapur Dabali, Hanuman Dhoka, and Taleju Temple are the prominent buildings whereas Freak Street, although not so freaky today, is also ripe for the excursion. The entry fees for Patan and Kathmandu Durbar Square is NPR 1000.
Yet another durbar square, one in Bhaktapur, forms the cultural trident of the palace and their courtyards. Bhaktapur Durbar Square stands out for preserving the rich culture of the ancient city till date which is depicted in the buildings like Kasthamandap – a building entirely built from the woods of a single tree, Naytapola temple, Golden Gate, Bhairav Nath Temple, and Dattatraya Temple among others. Festivals and cultural practices like Bisket Nath Jatra and Gai Jatra are also the famous festivities celebrated in the durbar square. The entry fee for tourists in the Durbar square is NPR 1500. Built in the two-tiered pagoda style Changunarayan temple is another heritage site close to the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. This is a temple of Lord Narayan and is situated on a hilltop and boasts views of the magnificent Himalayas to the north and the whole panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley. The temple is also believed to be the oldest in the valley which dates back to 5th century.
The journey doesn’t end here as Kathmandu valley offers thrilling experiences in a short period of time with sunrise Nagarkot hike to the cable car ride to Chandragiri hills. Champadevi, Shivapuri, Namobuddha, and Dhulikhel are other heritage sites accessible with short hikes. The hill station Nagarkot has one of the best views for sunrise. If the weather is clear, one can also witness spectacular views of mountains, including the world’s tallest mountain – the Mt. Everest (8848m).
Another lively experience is the cable car ride from Thankot to Chandragiri, which subtly connects both Hinduism and Buddhism. The hill provides alluring views of the mountain ranges from Annapurna to Everest. Short and easy hiking destinations like Champadevi, Shivapuri, and Namobuddha are not only exciting ventures but insightful as well. Offering enchanting views of Himalayas with the presence of culturally rich settlements, these destinations are also great options to revel in the magnificence of nature.
Kathmandu Valley is one of the world’s most historic sites; history lovers can always find their way to ancient sites and stories here. With places of immense cultural significance, jubilant celebrations, and religiously adorned sites, there is always a myriad of choices to the travelers. For people looking for a short escape, there is no better package than to travel to the Kathmandu valley and be part of these beautiful historical sites of the world heritage. A beautiful journey to the Kathmandu for an exciting combination of heritages and adventure awaits!