Home
Destination of the Month

Kathmandu, Nepal

Records mention the Gopalas and Mahishapalas believed to have been the earliest rulers with their capital at Matatirtha, the south-west corner of the Kathmandu Valley. From the 7th or 8th Century B.C. the Kirantis are said to have ruled the valley. Their famous King Yalumber is even mentioned in the epic, 'Mahabharat'. Around 300 A.D. the Lichhavis arrived from Northern India and overthrew the Kirantis. One of the legacies of the Lichhavis is the Changu Narayan Temple near Bhaktapur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Culture), which dates back to the 5th Century. In the early 7th Century, Amshuvarma, the first Thakuri king took over the throne from his father-in-law who was a Lichhavi. He married off his daughter Bhrikuti to the famous Tibetan King Tsong Tsen Gampo thus establishing good relations with Tibet. The Lichhavis brought art and architecture to the valley but the golden age of creativity arrived in 1200 A.D with the Mallas.

During their 550 years of rule, the Mallas built numerous temples and splendid palaces with picturesque squares. It was also during their rule that society and the cities became well organized; religious festivals were introduced and literature, music and art were encouraged. After the death of Yaksha Malla, the valley was divided into three kingdoms: Kathmandu (Kantipur), Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon) and Patan (Lalitpur). Nepal falls in the temperate zone north of the Tropic of Cancer. Nepal's ecological zones run east to west about 800 km along its Himalayan axis, 150 to 250 km north to south, and is vertically intersected by the river systems. The country can be divided into three main geographical regions: Himalayan region, Mid Hill region and Terai region. The highest point in the country is Mt. Everest (8,848 m) while the lowest point is in the Terai plains of Kechana Kalan in Jhapa (60 m).

Kathmandu is the Capital of Nepal. A full day guided sightseeing tour of Kathmandu would encompass Durbar Square, Patan, Bhaktapur, Swoyambhunath, Pashupatinath & Boudhanath.

Durbar Square is located in the heart of old city Kathmandu. There are around 50 temples in the vicinity. We visit the 17th Century Durbar complex, Hanuman Dhoka, Paravati temple, great Bell and Drum, House of Living goddess, Bhairav and Taleju Temple. All around the splendor of historical monuments is the hustle & bustle of the market place. Vegetable vendors, trees of flutes, salesmen with their wares displayed on their person, souvenir hawkers, and street shop selling imported goods and tucked away in a quiet corner the glittering bead market for custom made bead necklaces.

Patan (The city of beauty) is situated on the southern bank of the holy river Bagamti (a tributary of the Ganges) some five kilometers southeast of Kathmandu. The official name of the city is "Lalitpur" (City of fine art). This old Newar city of Patan is known for its rich tradition of arts and handicrafts, where one sees the historic Durbar Square, the sky piercing temple of Taleju and the statue of Yogendra Malla, Krishna Mandir, Hiranya Varna Mahabiar (the golden temple), and Mahabouddha harnessing picturesque views of old carved wooden windows through the streets, curios shop and Bazaars.

Bhaktapur is located about 14 km east of Kathmandu and drive of around 30 min. Bhaktapur is another Newar city founded in the 9th century. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is located in the center of Bhaktapur. The Square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the valley as it highlights some of the finest medieval arts of Nepal. The main items of interest in Bhaktapur Durbar Square are the Lion Gate, the Golden Gate, Nyatapola Temple (5 Story temple) and the statues of kings on stone monoliths. Bhaktapur's Durbar Square was added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1979.

Swoyambhunath literally means 'Self-Existent One.' Swoyambhunath is believed to have been established more than 2,500 years ago. An inscription dated 460 A.D. states that the construction was carried out by King Manadeva. By the thirteenth century Swoyambhunath had developed into an important Buddhist learning site. It is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in parts of the temple in the North West. Swoyambhunath occupies a central position; it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist Pilgrimage sites.

Pashupatinath (UNESCO World Heritage Site), is situated on the banks of River Baghmati around 5 km from the city centre, and is one of the holiest Hindu shrines. It is not known when Pashupatinath Temple was founded. The Pashupatinath Temple's existence dates back to 400 A.D. and is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. According to Nepal Mahatmaya and Himvatkhanda, the deity here gained great fame as Pashupatinath, the Lord of the Animals. The richly-ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or holy symbol of Lord Shiva. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to pay homage to this temple that is also known as 'The Temple of Living Beings' presiding deity here is Shiva, who is worshipped in the form of a lingam.

Boudhanath (UNESCO World Heritage Site) situated about 6 km from city centre is the centre of Tibetan culture in Nepal. The 36-meter-high Stupa of Boudhanath is one of the largest Stupa in South Asia. Boudhanath Stupa was renovated by Licchavi rulers in the eighth century. The mandala design in Boudhanath is a copy of the one in Gyangtse in Tibet. The stupa is said to entomb the remains of a Kasyap sage venerable both to Buddhists and Hindus. Smaller stupas are located at the base. Gompa monasteries, curio shops, and restaurants surround Boudhanath. Today, Boudhanath bustles with Tibetan population, busy with carpet manufacture, trade, and prayers at the several monasteries belonging to different sects of Tibetan Buddhism.

Come, the Himalayan Kingdom awaits you…!!!!!