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Nepal is a destination that combines the aesthetic and spiritual excitement and adventure between the valleys rich in 2500 years of culture where Hinduism and Buddhism met and created undreamed  glories of spiritualism through stone, brick and metal for the eyes to behold and for the soul to experience.
The valley consist of three main cities of great historic and cultural interest in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. Situated at an altitude of 1336 meter above sea level. The Kathmandu valley covers an area of 218 sq. miles. A bird's eye view of the Capital features the city as an oval shape structure with the sacred river Bagmati and its tributary Bishnumati wadding towards the south. 

Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is named after Kasthamandap, an imposing pagoda near Hanuman Dhoka Palace. The King Gunakama Dev built the city in 723 AD.
Contrary to common belief, there is a lot more to Nepal than trekking and mountaineering in the high Himalaya. It is a country rich in culture and history. There is a great variety of things to see and places to visit.
The Katmandu Valley itself has a huge number of extremely interesting sites to visit. The temples of Patan, Bhaktapur, Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath and Boudhanath are fascinating examples of living history. The sister cities of Patan and Bhaktapur, offer an experience akin to time travel. Then there is the jungle of the Terai plains with it tigers, rhinos and elephants; the roaring white water of the Himalayan rivers and the religious towns of Lumbini and Janakpur.   Top

The major tourist attractions in Kathmandu are:
HANUMANDHOKA (KATHMANDU DURBAR SQUARE): It represents the historic seat of the monarchy where the kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations solemnized. The interesting attractions here are
(1) Taleju Temple built by King Mahendra Malla in 1539 AD
(2) Gigantic statue of Kal Bhairav, the God of Destruction.
(3) Basantapur Durbar or Nautalle Durbar,  built by the founder of the Shah dynasty, King Prithvi Narayan Shah
(4) Nasal Chowk or the Coronation Platform
(5) Gaddi Baithak or the Hall of Public Audience
(6) the statue of King Pratap Malla,
(7) the Big Bell,
(8) the Big Drums, and
(9) the Jagannath Temple.

There is also a temple of Pancha Mukhi Hanuman - the popular Hindu god. It is one of the only two such structures in Nepal, the another one is inside the renowned Pashupatinath Temple. Opposite to the entrance of Hanuman Dhoka stands the magnificent (10) Krishna Mandir. It is one of the few octagonal temples in Nepal. The other major attractions of Durbar Square are ( 11) Kumari Ghar (housing the residence of Kumari, the Living Goddess of Nepal) and (12) Kasthamandap Temple, (13) Narayan Temple, (14) Shiva Temple, (15) Lohan Chowk, (16) Lalitpur Tower, (17) Bhaktapur Tower, (18) Kirtipur Tower, (19) Hanuman Dhokha, (20) Shiva Parbati Temple, Pratap Malla Column, (21) Mohan Chowk, (22) Sundari Chowk, (23) Kageshvara Mahadev Temple, and (24) Indra Temple.   

This ancient city of Patan is situated on the southern bank of the river Bagmati and is about five kilometers Southeast of Kathmandu. Lalitpur, “The City of Beauty” is another name for Patan. The city is full of Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments exhibiting skillful carvings. Noted for its craftsmen and metal workers, Patan is also known as the city of architecture and craftsmanship. The major tourist attractions are:

PATAN DURBAR SQUARE: Patan Durbar Square is situated in the heart of the city. The square boasts of many famous sites and unique architecture. It is full of ancient as well as medieval palaces, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisite carvings. One can rummage for furniture, paintings, precious gems and jewelry and other memorabilia in the various shops around the square. Adorning Patan are other architectural masterpieces such as:
1. Sundar Chowk,
2. Krishna Temple,
3. Mul Chowk,
4. Taleju Temple,
5. Taleju Bell,
6. Hari Shankar Temple,
7. Degutaleju Temple,
8. King Malla Column,
9. Char Narayan Temple,
10. Keshab Narayan Chowk,
11. Krishna Temple,
12. Garuda Statute,
13. Mangal Hiti,
14. Bishwanath Temple,
15. Bhimsen Temple,
16. Ganesh Temple. 

Bhaktapur, known as “The city of devotees”, is situated at an altitude of 1401 m, is a home to medieval art and architecture. The urban city covers an area of 4 square miles. Its shape is like a conch-shell. Pottery and weaving are its traditional industries. The city lies about 14 kilometers east of Kathmandu. The major sightseeing places in Bhaktapur include:

BHAKTAPUR DURBAR SQUARE: The main square of the city contains innumerable temples and other architectural showpieces like the Lion Gate, the Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, the Picture Gallery, the Golden Gate, the Palace of 55 Windows, the Batsala Temple and the Bell of Barking Dogs, the replica of Pashupatinath Temple etc.

The other major attractions are:
Nag Pokhari,
2. Taleju Temple,
3. Bhagabati Temple,
4. Beko Chowk,
5. Taleju Chowk,
6. Palace with the flying windows,
7. Mul Chowk,
8. Taleju Bell,
9. Batsalya Durga Temple,
10. Soon Dhoka (Golden Gate),
11. King Malla Column,
12. Pashupati Temple,
13. Kumari Chowk,
14. Durga Temple,
15. Bansi Narayan,
16. Nyatopola Temple,
17. Bhairav Temple.

BUDHANILKANTHA: About eight kilometers north of Kathmandu, at the base of Shivapuri hill, lies a colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, resting on Shesh Nag, in a holy pond. A masterpiece of stone sculpture of the Lichchhavi period, this site is a famous place of pilgrimage for Hindus. It is the most beautiful among all the stone engravings within the Kathmandu Valley.   Top
SWAYAMBHUNATH: The history of the Valley, according to the legends, begins with Swayambhu, or “the self existent”. This is one of the world's most glorious Buddhist Stupa. It is around 2000 years old. The Stupa, which forms the main structure, is made of brick and clay supporting the lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. Painted on the four-sides of the spire base are the eyes of Lord Buddha. It is three kilometers west of Kathmandu City, and is situated on a hillock about 77m above the level of the Valley. This hill is a mosaic of small chaityas and pagodas. Swayambhu is, perhaps, the best place to observe the religious harmony in Nepal. It is the major landmark of the Valley and looks like a beacon below the Nagarjun hill. It provides an excellent view of the Kathmandu Valley. 

PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE: Situated five kilometers east of Kathmandu on the bank of the sacred Bagmati river, the temple of Lord Shiva-Pashupatinath with two-tiered golden roof and silver doors, is famous for its superb architecture. It is the center of annual pilgrimage on the day of Maha-Shivaratri. Entrance is permitted to the Hindus only. However, visitors can clearly behold the holy shrine and the religious activities being performed from the eastern bank of the Bagmati River. Live cremation (Human Bar-B-Cue) can be viewed on this bank of river. 

BOUDHANATH: The Stupa of Boudhanath lies eight kilometers east of Kathmandu. This colossal and ancient Stupa, one of the biggest in the world, features all the eyes of Lord Buddha. It has become the focal point of Tibetan Buddhism. Lichchhavi king Kana Dev built it in the fifth century AD. It is built on an octagonal base, inset in the design of Mandala with prayer wheels.    Top
NAGARKOT: Nagarkot, which clings to the Valley’s eastern rim at an altitude of 2,175m(7200ft), is the most popular among the hill resorts. It used to be the nature retreat of the royals in days past. Nagarkot thrills visitors with its unobstructed mountain panorama, which extends from Annapurna in the west to Everest in the east. It is situated 32 kilometers east of Kathmandu. It takes an hour’s drive to get there. The panorama of the major peaks of eastern Nepal Himalayas including Mt. Everest (8848m), can be seen from here. The breath - taking view of Himalayan peaks like Manaslu (8.463), Ganesh Himal (7,111 m), Langtang (7,246 m), Choba Bhamre (6,016 m), Gaurishankar (7,134 m) and Numbur (6,975 m) are also clearly seen from Nagarkot. 

CHANGU NARAYAN: Narayan, or Vishnu, is the preserver of creation to the Hindus. The temple of Changu Narayan is said to be the most ancient temple in the Kathmandu Valley. Although it was rebuilt in 1702, its origin goes back to the 4th Century. Located on the top of a spur rising in the eastern part of the valley, it is 22 kilometers from Kathmandu and 4 kilometers north of Bhaktapur.   Top
DHULIKHEL: This ancient town is situated 30 kilometers east of Kathmandu on the side of the Arniko Raj Marga (Kathmandu-Kodari Highway) on the way to the Nepal - Tibet border. A lovely place, famous for its scenic beauty and old tradition, one can have a panoramic view of the snow - capped Himalayas, from Karyolung in the east to Himalchuli in the west.   Top
SANKHU: The old Newari Town settlement of Sankhu lies 17 kilometers east of Boudhanath. Two kilometers above this village on a hill is the Vajra Jogini Temple, dedicated to another powerful Tantric deity. Legends say that Vajra Jogini resided in the site of this temple much earlier than the period of Manjushree’s pilgrimage to worship Swayambhu. It was she who persuaded Manjushree to drain the lake of the Kathmandu Valley. Once every year late winter, there is a colorful ceremony in which Vajra Jogini is paraded around Sankhu and her temple.

DAKSHINKALI:  The temple of Dakshinkali is dedicated to the ferocious mother goddess who has much energy and power. It is said that she gives strong will power and energy to those who come to her and she loves sacrifices. The temple is Tantric in nature and is a favorite worship place of the Hindus. Saturdays are good days to visit, as there is always a massive crowd of worshippers who come from all parts of Nepal to offer prayers. Sacrifice of animals are made on Tuesdays and Saturdays.   Top

Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is situated 306 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu. A broken pillar erected in 249 BC by the first major Buddhist ruler of India, Emperor Ashoka, proclaims in a now-extinct script that the emperor made three pilgrimages to the holy spot. The status of Lumbini as a garden of peace has been recognized all over the world and its development is being undertaken by Buddhists from everywhere. Around an hour’s drive northwest from Lumbini lies the interesting archaeological site of Tilaurakot. This has been identified as the ancient Kapilvastu, the capital of King Suddhodhana, Buddha’s father, and where the Buddha himself as Prince Siddhartha spent the first 29 years of his life.

An important part of Lumbini is the temple of Maya Devi. It has a stone image of Maya Devi giving birth to Lord Buddha as she holds onto a branch of Ashoka tree. It has been well worn by the strokes of barren women hoping for fertility. To the south of temple is a pool where queen Maya Devi is said to have bathed and given her son his first purification bath. 

Surrounding Royal Chitawan National Park in southern Nepal is one of the best-planned and most intelligently developed tourist areas in Nepal.  Not only does it offer a wide variety of resorts and lodges, it is also easy to reach-by road or by air.
Royal Chitawan National Park is perhaps the best park in Nepal for seeing animals in the wild.  Royal Bengal tigers roam the region; one –horned rhinos can be seen charging through the underbrush, feeding and even courting. The Rapti River has been dammed to form a man-made lake called Lamital where water- birds and marsh mugger peckers and many other birds are found in plenty in these forests. Elephant grass, five to six feet tall, provides excellent camouflage for animals. These grasses serve as food for the Gaur (a local bison), rhino and other herbivores. Elephant Safari, jungle walk, canoeing and a variety of cultural activities are the programs offered inside. 

The sleepy town of Pokhara is approximately 200km east of Kathmandu. The highway cuts into the sides of the valleys and winds around the emerald Himalayan rivers. The countryside of lush forest, deep valleys, precarious suspension bridges, idyllic villages, terraced rice fields will keep you entertained on your journey. Although the trip is long and the road bad, traveling by road is well worth it.

The flight to Pokhara is no less exciting. Squeezed into a tiny aircraft you fly at low level parallel to the highest mountains in the world. The snow peaks will actually be higher than you! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Landing at the airstrip at Pokhara is better than any roller coaster ride you’ve experienced. The pilot has to negotiate the aircraft through tiny valleys buffeted by winds. It is a guaranteed white-knuckle experience you will never forget!
The most amazing thing about Pokhara is the view. Incredible snow-capped mountains are reflected in a sheltered lake. Its fame rests on its natural lakeside location and its closeness to the mountains. It has a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere far removed from the bustle of Kathmandu and it is also the starting point for some of the most famous treks in Nepal.


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