Kathmandu Sightseeing & Must See Places
Kathmandu is the arrival point for most of the visitors in Nepal. This small mountain sheltered valley is the historic center and the capital of Nepal. This is the place where kingdoms rose and fell, palaces and temples are built and rebuilt, art and cultures are refined and protected. Kathmandu city is the largest in Nepal and is surrounded by green hills all over. Scattered around the valley are hundreds of temples and shrines, traditional villages and agriculture scenes of timeless beauty. You can see all these places by taxi, cycle, bus and by foot. For over forty years, Nepal has been an extremely fascinating destination for travelers, scholars, and researchers. For those interested in culture, the Kathmandu valley, is endowed with seven World Heritage sites. This valley was divided into three kingdoms less than a century ago. It now contains countless architectural monuments, and vestiges of varied cultural and religious traditions.
Sight Seeing in Kathmandu
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
It is situated 14 km east of Kathmandu and is the least developed of the three cities in the valley. Translated Bhaktapur means the city of devotees. The most laid back of the three valley towns its narrow brick paved streets harbor hidden shrines and statues around every corner. It is quite easy to spend a whole day here relaxing and taking in an almost surreal atmosphere. Bhaktapur is famed for its woodcarvings, pottery and cloth weaving. Many of Bhaktapur’s practices have changed little over the centuries..
Patan Durbar Square
(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. Nowadays, it has virtually become part of sub metropolitan Kathmandu. The city is famed for its wealth of Buddhist and Hindu temples with an abundance of fine bronze gateways and wonderful carvings. Patan is known for its expert craftsmen and metal workers.
It was built sometime after AD 600, when the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, converted to Buddhism. In terms of grace and purity of line, no other stupa in Nepal comes close to Bodhnath. From its whitewashed dome to its gilded tower painted with the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha, the monument is perfectly proportioned. The stupa had a lucky escape in the 2015 earthquake and repairs to the tower are expected to be completed within a few months.
It is an ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. The Tibetan name for the site means ‘Sublime Trees’ for the many varieties of trees found on the hill. However, For the Buddhist Newars in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice, Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it is second only to Boudhanath.
The temple of Pashupatinath is Nepal’s most sacred Hindu shrine and one of the subcontinent’s great Shiva sites. Pashupatinath, beside the sacred Bagmati River, is the holiest place in Nepal. Pashupatinath’s supreme holiness has two major parts. One is that Shiva linga enshrined in the main temple and its location on the banks of Bagmati. Hindu devotee plunge into the holy Bagmati river daily and recite the verse from the ancient Vedas. It is believed that plunging or bathing into the holy river releases from the cycle of rebirth. It is believed that sex organ of Shiva fell in Nepal. The main temple of Pashpatinath ( meaning Lord of Beasts believed to be divine protector of Nepal) contains a lingam of Pashupati which is three and a half feet high and has four faces sculptured on it.
Pashupatinath is Nepal’s most renowned Hindu cremation site. In Hindu culture, after the person is dead, his/her dead body is wrapped in cloth and placed on bamboo litter and bodies are delievered by barefoot pallbearers accompanied by the male relatives. The eldest son from the family performs the cremation ceremony and the dead body is burnt. A few hours later the ashes are collected and swept in the river which will join the Holy Ganges eventually.
Basantapur Durbar Square
Like it’s counterpart in Kathmandu, is an enchanting mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples. Listed as a World Heritage Site, the former royal palace complex is the center of Kathmandu’s religious and social life, and houses a museum containing an array of bronze statues and religious objects. One remarkable monument here is a 17th century temple dedicated to the Hindu God Krishna – Krishna Mandir built entirely of stone with rare stone carvings on its walls depicting the epic wars from Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Nagarkot is a village and Village Development Committee located 32 km east of Kathmandu, Nepal in Bhaktapur District in the Bagmati Zone. At the time of the 2011 census it had a population of 4571 and had 973 houses in it. At an elevation of 2,195 meters, it is considered one of the most scenic spots in Bhaktapur District. It is known for a sunrise view of the Himalayas including Mount Everest as well as other peaks of the Himalayan range of eastern Nepal. Nagarkot also offers a panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley.The scenic beauty of the place makes it a very popular hiking route for tourists. It is located approximately 7000 ft (2000 m) above sea level and 28 km from Kathmandu International Airport.
Heart of Kathmandu. It is a haven for tourists visiting the city. It contains numerous hotels, restaurants, and shops that cater specifically to western tourists. It is located in the northern region of Kathmandu. Although some consider it to be overcrowded it has been used by westerners since the 1970’s when hippies in the region discovered it. Although now it has become quite commercial. Thamel is an easy walk from anywhere in central Kathmandu.
Things to do in Kathmandu
A popular activity from Kathmandu is to take an early morning scenic mountain flight along the spine of the Himalaya for close-up views of Mt Everest and other peaks from a distance of just five nautical miles. Major airlines like Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines offer the hour-long flights and each passenger on the six- to 30-seat turbo props is guaranteed a window seat.
Discover Kathmandu like a local as you explore the city on an evening rickshaw ride. Start in the colorful tourist hub of Thamel and pass buzzing bazaars and market squares as you head to Durbar Square, where you’ll spend time exploring by foot. Sit back, relax and be enchanted as you take in views of the sunset, silhouetted temples and Kathmandu’s lively nightlife.
Garden of Dreams
The beautifully restored Swapna Bagaicha, or Garden of Dreams remains one of the most serene and beautiful enclaves in Kathmandu. It is two minutes walk from central Thamel.
It is the center of life. Thamel is the tourist area of Kathmandu. There are a lot of things to do in thamel from hotel, restaurant, bars, pubs, clubs, shopping with every single taste in mind. This is the place where you can book all ongoing travel and treks, buy your trekking gear, send emails home and basically spend all of your money.
Nepal is a country of multi-ethnic communities. Every ethnic tribes have their unique culture, traditions, language and food habits. Thus, Nepal is paradise for people with discerning palate. Although some of the foods in Nepal have been influenced from its neighboring countries but many others have their unique taste because of giving importance to the locally produced spices and ingredients . Geographical diversity has aided a lot in bringing variations in taste of Nepal. Nepalese food are not only rich in taste but also possess higher nutritional value. In fact, food in Nepal are far more hygienic than most of other Asian foods since they rely more on herbs and spices rather than on oil and fat. Ginger. garlic, red chillies, fenugreek, cumin, turmeric and coriander are commonly used spices in Nepal while the dishes are cooked mostly in mustard oil.
(Dal Bhat Tarkari)Available throughout Nepal, Dal Bhat Tarkari is the most popular food of Nepal in which boiled or steamed rice (bhat) is served along with dal (lentil) and curry (tarkari). Other supplements like achar (pickle) and yoghurt can also be included. Dal bhat tarkari is the wholesome meal that provides great example of balanced diet.
(Momo) is the second most popular dish of Nepal. Momo is available in all hotels and restaurants in Nepal. There are several varieties of momo. Momo is the dumpling which is filled with minced meat or vegetable. Based on the filler used, there are chicken momo, lamb momo, pork momo and vegetable momo. Buff momo (Momo with minced buffalo meat) is the most popular momo in Nepal. It is served with spicy chatni and eaten hot. Momo can either be steamed or fried.