Kathmandu valley was called Nepal and Nepal was called Kathmandu Valley in ancient time. Kathmandu Valley comprises the three ancient cities. They are Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, which were once independent states ruled by the Malla kings from the 12th to the 18th centuries.These three cities are largely inhabited by Newari (Ethic) people. Thererfore Newari arts, architecture, culture and tradtion can be observed in the valley.
The three cities are enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage shrines.The valley is also the best example to hundreds of beautiful monuments, sculptures, artistic temples and magnificent art which proves to the reminders of the golden era in Nepal’s architecture.According to the 2011 census, Kathmandu has a population of close to 1 million people. The municipal area is 50.67 square kilometers. It is surrounded by four major mountains: Shivapuri, Phulchoki, Nagarjun, and Chandragiri.Kathmandu is the gateway to tourism in Nepal. It is also the hub of the country's economy. It has the most advanced infrastructure of any urban area in Nepal, and its economy is focused on tourism.In 2013, Kathmandu was ranked third among the top 10 travel destinations on the rise in the world by TripAdvisor, and ranked first in Asia.
Origin of Kathmandu Valley
According to the Legend, Kathmandu valley was was once an ancient lake surrounded by green mountains. In the lake lived giant serpents until one fine day, saint Manjushree, the Bodhisatva, who came from China raised a mighty sword and cut open the side of a mountain at a place now known as Chobar. The huge volume waters of the lake gushed out, leaving behind a fertile valley and thus making it suitable for large human settlement. The Gopala and Kirati dynasties were the earliest rulers here who flourished trade and crafts.
There are gods more than people and numbers of temples more than the numbers of houses as goes of saying Malla civilization; one can experience the beauty of the city. Kathmandu Valley has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites which are roughly in 28 km distance.
In Kathmandu valley, you can visit three Durbar Squares namely Kathmandu Darbur Square, Bhaktapur Darbur Sqaure and Lalitpur Darbur Squre which are enriched by artistic art, craft, buildings temples and courtyards. You can observe the city streets with street merchants, wandering holy men, business men, and devotees worshiping the idols. Kathmandu valley is the mixture Hinduism and Buddhism which is the best example of religious tolerance. Thus visit to Kathmandu Valley can be an excellent introduction to unity to Hindu and Buddhist art and craft as well.
Things To Do
KATHMANDU DURBAR SQUARE
Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the important historic and tourist destinations in Nepal. This massive compound is home for palaces, temples and courtyards. Previously Kathmandu Darbur Squre was named Gutaupo palace in the Middle Ages. Kathmandu Durbar square has various historical temples of different styles and ages mixed with royal and governmental institutions.Therfore it may seem a little bit crowded with lots of people moving around and buildings and temples built around on a very small area.
This important historical attraction has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The city has a rich history as found from inscriptions found in the valley. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Most of People of Kathmandu follow Hinduism and many others follow Buddhism. There are people of other religious beliefs as well. Nepali is the most commonly spoken language in the city. English is also understood by Kathmandu's educated residents.
Attractions in Durbar Square:
The main attraction of Durbar Square is Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex. The outstanding palace was named in honor of the monkey god, Hanuman. And a statue of the deity stands at the main entranceway. The palace is decorated with elaborately-carved wooden windows and panels.Human Dhoka Museum is the place to see glorious life style of Shah Kings.Different portiates, personal items, and clothes of King Tribhuvan, King Mahendra and King Birendra are among the Museum’s impressive collection.
An image of Hanuman
During Pratapa Malla's reign, an image of Hanuman was placed in front of the entrance to keep away evil spirits and disease. The figure still looks threatening though centuries of anointing with mustard oil and cinnebar (vermilion) have eroded its features.
The living Goddess, Kumari
At the southern end of the Durbar Square there is the most curious attraction in Nepal, the Kumari Chowk. You would be able to see a Kumari House, where the Living Goddess of Nepal resides. The living Goddess, Kumari, is a young girl who is chosen from the Shakya community through an ancient and mystical selection process to become the human incarnation of Hindu Goddess, Taleju.Only a young girl of Shakya clan possessing 32 stipulated features can become Kumari. Kurmari must meet 32 physical requirements including being atleast 2 years old, a virgin, inmaculate health with a flawless and robust body. The kumari’s reign ends with her first period or any serious accidental loss of blood and she she returns back to the status of a normal life. The search starts for a new Kumari.
The attraction that you would see is Kumari House. Within the border of Basantapur Darbur square, Kumari House is three storied house. The house is built in traditional Newari design. It is the residence of living goddess Kumari. Kumari is regarde as the mother goddess of Malla Kings and an incarnation of goddess Taleju Bhawani. Only on a rare occusasions, visitors are granted audience with Kumari.
Among all the temples at the Darbur square area, the temple of Taleju Bhawani is the most wonderful. It is huge three storied pagoda structure built by King Ratna Malla. Taleju Bhawani is regarded as the guardian figure of Mallas kings. The temple is surrounded by 16 small pagoda styles temples. The temple opens once every year for Hindus during the festival of Dashain.
Jaganath Temple is another monument which is located near the main entrance of Hunumandhika. Jagannath temple is one of the oldest in the Darbur Square. The temple is famous for the erotic carvings in the design. The temple is also reffered as Kamasutra Temple. The temple was built by King Mahedra Malla.
Another interesting religious site to see in Kathmandu Durbar Square is Kasthamandap. According to legend this structure was built using wood from a single tree. Originally a community hall, Kasthamandapa eventually became a temple dedicated to Gorakhnath. The name of capital city is named after this temple. Once a year, a huge ceremony is performed in the temple. On that day people gather around the temple, and they stay up all night. The people share the legendaries stories about the temple, and enjoy themselves with different varieties of foods. The 55 window palace is one of the most important work of art in Bhaktapur Darbur Square. The palace was built during the time of Bhupatindra Malla.The palace is three storied. The palace got its name from beautifully carved Windows with exquisite designs on them. The palace is the most attractive area in the Darbur square.
Lalitpur is the second largest city of Kathmandu Valley. In Nepali language , ‘lalit’ means art ans ‘pur’ means city.Therefore the city is very rich in art and craft with lots of masterpiece decoration carved in stones, metals, and wooden sculpture. The city has also preserved such ancient techniques as the repoussé and lost wax process used to produce beautiful sculptures. The city is also called ‘Patan’ and in Newari language it is also called ‘Yala’.
The city retains much of the old attraction with its narrow streets, brick houses and multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (vihars) and monuments.Patan Darbur Square which is enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Site gives the proof of excellent arts with craftsmanship achieved during the Malla civilization. The predominant sound in Patan is that of the tinkering of craftsmen bent over the statuettes they are shaping.
PATAN DURBAR SQUARE
Patan Darbur Square is the main attraction of Lalitpur and is located in the heart of the city. The place was once the palace of the kings of Patan. The square is an enchanting mixture of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples which displays Newari architecture that had reached its height during the reign of the Malla kings. Among its numerous courtyards, the renovated Keshav Narayan Chowk has been converted into a bronze artifact museum. The Sundari Chowk is renowed for its woodcarvings and handicrafts. In the middle of the courtyard, there is a waterspout and magnificent idols of gods and goddesses are around the tap. On the top of the tap, there is model of the Krishna Mandir, around four feet tall. The Krishna Temple, built entirely of stone, is said to be the first specimen of Shikhara-style architecture in Nepal.
To the east of Patan Durbar Square is Mahabouddha, an extraordinary Buddhist monument. It is the first Buddhist Temple of Nepal built in Shikhara Architecture. This temple is also known as the Temple of ‘Nine Thousand Buddhas’.This beautiful temple is decorated with nine thousand Buddha sod different size. The temple is considered as an important religious site for the Tibetan Buddhists. The family members four generations were inovoled to complete the construction work in their own cost. The temple is built of Tarracotta bricks prepared specifically for the construction purpose engraved with various Buddhist symbols. A mixture known as vajra (prepared using bricks power, lime lentil, fenugreek and so on) was used to complete the temple. The temple was restored after it was damaged in earthquake in 1934.A.D.There is small shrine dedicated to Buddhas’s mother Maya Devi, in the corwer of the courtyard. The temple is enshrined with the images of the Buddhas representing three ages of the past, present and the future.
RUDRA VARNA MAHAVIHAR
Rudra Varna Mahavihar is situated in Okhuvahal, few steps past Mahabouddha. This monastery is one of the ancient Buddhist monasteries of Lalitopur. The monsatry contains an amazing collection of images and statues of peacock, elephants, lions, garudas, and vajras (thunderbolts) in metal, stone and wood. The stone-paved courtyard is enclosed by a two-story building with gilded roofs. The kings in ancient times were believed to have been crowned in this monastery. The Vihara was built by Lichhavi King Shiva Dev. The king became Buddhist monk in the vihara. His sons and grandsons carried the tradition. Later the Vihara was renovated by King Rudra Deva and thus the Vihara was named after him Rudra Varna Mahavihar. Many of the treasures offered by devotees can be seen here even today.
Sundhara means golden tap. There are four gold polished spouts in the area. The Hindus treat gold as holy metal and believe that golden tap has power to purify the water. It is believed that if we take shower from gold water or spray our body with gold water, our body becomes pure and fre from sins. Sundhara is on the way to Mahaboudha Temple. Nearby Sundhara are the temples of Laxmi Narayan, Radha Krishna, Bhajan Griha and Uma Mahheswor.
Krishna mandir is the temple of Lord Krishna. The temple is the finest carving in Lalitpur district. The stone temple built in the Shikhara style of architecture was constructed by kingsiddhi Narasingh Malla. There are ten avatras of Lord Bishnu and Krishna is one of them. Ten different avatars of lord Bishnu are surrounding the temple. It is believed that worshipping the temple is equivalent to worshipping entire Hindu god and goddesses. Every year, a huge numbers of worshippers mass the temple during the ferstival on Krishnaasthami (Birthday of Lord Krishna). The festival is held in August\September. It took seven years to construct the temple.
Golden gate and Golden Window
The main entance of the Patan Museum is known as the Golden Gate. In Nepali language, it is also known as Subaran Dwar. The Golden Gate of Bhakatpur is adorned with figures of different god s and goddesses. Above the gate is the Golden Window. The window is open once a year during performance of the famous ‘Kartik Dance’. It is said that King Siddhi Narasingh Malla used to observe the Kartik Dance from this window smoking Hookah (smoking pipe). The tradition is still preserved by opening the window and placing a Hookah beside it once a year during the kartik Dance.
Bhaktapur is the smallest among the 75 disricts of Nepal. Bhakatapur is also known as ‘Bhadgaon’ in Newari dialect. This city is also encriched with ancient arts and archicture. Bhaktapur consists of different of temples, monuments, courtyards, and traditional houses constructed during different periods of history. Bhaktapur is one of the famous tourist destinations in Kathamndu valley. It has been enlisted as the UNESCO world heritage site. Bhaktapur literally is the City of Devotees. Bhaktapur lies 12 km to the east of Kathmandu on the Arniko Highway that leads to the Chinese border. Covering an area of 6.4 sq. km, Bhaktapur is still untouched by rapid urbanisation and has managed to retain its brickpaved roads, charming red brick houses and a way of life that goes back to medieval times. This ancient city is also famous for pottery and woodcarving amply displayed on the squares and windows respectively.
BHAKTAPUR DURBAR SQUARE
Bhaktapur Durbar served as the capital for the Malla Kingdom until 1769 AD. During the different time periods many temples, palaces, houses, courtyards were constructed by Newari artists. Some major monuments and temples inside the Bhaktapur Darbur Square are Palace of 55 Carved Windows, the palace entrance, ‘the Golden Gate’, Big Bell, Dog Barking Bell, Statue of King Bhupatinhdra Malla, Siddhi laxmi Temple, Taleju Bhagawati Temple, National Art gallery and Vatshala temple etc. Palace, courtyard, houses, temples are the example of a masterpiece in repousse art.The astonishing Durbar Square with its extraordinary monuments reflects the glory days of the Malla dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three cities of the valley.
Attractions of Darbur Square
The Nyatapola literally means ‘five storied’ and is the unique temple of Bhaktapur.The temple is above the city’s landscape as a remarkable landmark.The temple is situated in the courtyard of Tamumandi Square. It is the tallest and the most impressive temple of Nepal. The temple is dedicted to the goddesses Siddhi laxmi. The temple was built by King Bhupatindra Malla.Dedicated to a tantric goddess, the steps leading up to the temple are flanked by stone sculptures of deities and mythical beasts, each 10 times more powerful than the one immediately below.Only the temple’s priests are allowed inside and is opened once a year. The temple survived the earthquake in 1934.A.D with a minor damage to the ceiling of the fifth floor.
Ugrachandi and Ugrabhairav Idol
The ugrachandi and Ugrabhairav idols are located near the huge lion statue to the left of the main entrance of Bhaktapur Darbur Square .these idols were constructed during the regin of King Bhupatindra Malla. It is believed that the hands of artist that built the idols of Ugrachandi and Ugrabhairav and the idols of Hunuman and Narasingh at the entrance to the Nepal Art Meseum were chopped off to prevent him from replicating similar work of art in future.
The golden Gate is located just in front of the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla. The gate was built by King Ranjit Malla. The gate has an impressive idol of goddess taleju Bhawani displaying her four heads and ten hands in different postures. The images of Hindu deities Ganesh, Kumar, Mahankal and Bhairav are palced on the left and the right sides of the gate.
55 windowed Palace
The 55 window palace is one of the most important work of art in Bhaktapur Darbur Square. The palace was built during the time of Bhupatindra Malla.The palace is three storied. The palace got its name from beautifully carved Windows with exquistite designs on them. The palace is the most attractive area in the Darbur square.
The staple foodin Kathamndu is Dal bhat, which is a dish of lentils and rice, generally served with vegetable curries, sometimes with Chutney. The growth of tourism in Kathmandu has led to culinary creativity and the development of hybrid foods to accommodate for tourists. Newari food is most popular in Kathmandu Valley. Different sets of ritual dishes are placed in a circle around the staple rice flakes to represent and honour different sets of deities depending on the festival or life-cycle ceremony.Kwati (soup of different beans), kachila (spiced minced meat), chhoyla (water buffalo meat marinated in spices and grilled over the flames of dried wheat stalks), pukala (fried meat), wo (lentil cake), paun kwa (sour soup), swan puka (stuffed lungs), syen (fried liver), mye (boiled and fried tongue), sapu mhicha (leaf tripe stuffed with bone marrow) and sanya khun (jellied fish soup) are some of the popular foods. Dessert consists of dhau (yogurt), sisabusa (fruits) and Mari (sweets). Thwon (rice beer) and ayla (local alcohol) are the common alcoholic liquors.
There is a strong tradition of buff consumption in Kathmandu, especially among Newars, which is not found in other parts of Nepal. Consumption of pork was considered taboo until a few decades ago. Due to the intermixing with Kirat cuisine from eastern Nepal, pork has found a place in Kathmandu dishes. A fringe population of devout Hindus and Muslims consider it taboo. The chief breakfast for locals and visitors is mostly Momo or Chowmein.
You can enjoy dinner with local taste and flavor.To be at the Nepali resturant is more like having a dinner at a home restaurant. Local people are eager to show you all their favorite dishes. You can see the real eating habits in Kathmandu. For instance about a momo party or some typical Newari meals and the traditional Dal Bhat or experience. The neighbors India and Tibet have a great influence on the Nepali cuisine. At the moment there are a lot of restaurants serving the Tibetan, Indian and Nepali cuisine. These restaurants can be found everywhere in Kathmandu. For the western food, you have to visit Thamel.
Nepal is quite popular for its cuisine too and it shows in the increasing number of eateries in every corners of Kathmandu Valley. Nepal has every kind of restaurants to satisfy the taste buds and palate of different types of people. You can find Thai, Mexican, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Chinese, Continental hangouts at par with the fast food joints. Local restaurants will serve you its authentic and sumptuous Nepali, Newari or Thakali food.
You can enjoy shopping in Kathmandu. There is some pretty cool stuff to be found in Kathmandu.you can experience a different taste of shooping from big shopping malls offering the latest high-end fashion, to the local products in local shops. The shopping special of Kathmandu is the beautiful Pashmina and Cashmere shawls. They are made of the wool of Himalayan sheep and are very soft. You can even buy these shawls for prices between €3 and €5.
Kathmandu is a best option to have a shopping with the locals. You can also have your shopping in malls and get with a collection of products ranging from branded cloth wear to household items. You can find many shopping malls where you can shop for items like electronic appliances, music system, kitchen-wares, branded garments, jewelry, perfume, watches, children toys, fitness equipments and household items.
Great for Solo Travel
Kathmandu Valley is in the Warm Temperate Zone where the climate is fairly temperate, a typical for the region. This zone is followed by the Cool Temperate Zone with elevation varying between 2,100–3,300 metres (6,900–10,800 ft). In the Kathmandu Valley, the average summer temperature varies from 28–30 °C (82–86 °F). The average winter temperature is 10.1 °C (50.2 °F).
The city generally has a climate with warm days followed by cool nights and mornings. Unpredictable weather is expected given temperatures can drop to 3 °C (37 °F) during the winter. During a 2013, the winter temperatures of Kathmandu dropped to −4 °C (25 °F), and the coldest temperature was recorded on January 10, 2013 at −9.2 °C (15.4 °F).
Tour Packages in Kathmandu
Kathmandu Valley Tour
Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal is rich in art and craft. It is also the only internatio
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