Popular legend has it that Manjushree, an incarnate of Lord Buddha, was responsible for carving out the Kathmandu valley with one swipe of his sword. Fact or fiction, the result was a spectacular setting which has brought forth endless praise from the pens of the great poets of Nepal. Surrounded by mountains and hills, Kathmandu today is a hustle and bustle of a city Manjushree would never recognize !. Situated at an altitude of 4’423 ft. above the sea level and covering an area of 218 sq. miles, it is a place that has been a source of fascination to visitors over the years.
The marriage of Buddhism and Hinduism in the valley has given the city a rich cultural mix of traditions and beliefs. It is a place filled with prayers, gods, and legends which have given rise to monuments which have become world heritage sites. Kathmandu Durbar Square is an overwhelming warehouse of monuments. Kathmandu Durbar Square is the traditional heart of Kathmandu and an architecturally extraordinary complex of ancient palaces, temples, courtyards, and shrines. Within it is the Kumari Ghar or the House of the Living Goddess. Kasthamandap a huge rest house that is said to have been built with the wood from a single tree and is the source of Kathmandu Valley’s name. Other sites around the Kathmandu Square are the ferocious Kal Bhairab – the red monkey God- Hanuman, Hundreds of erotic carvings, temples, and statues dedicated to different deities.
You are then taken to Swayambhunath (monkey temple) which is the magnificent ancient religious architecture and center faith of Hinduism and Buddhism. Its lofty white dome and dazzling golden spire are visible from far and wide. Upon arriving at the top, you can hear the Buddhist songs “om mani paddle hum” resound everywhere. The candles and the aromatic fragrance of incense that burns constantly create a serene vibe, and we can turn the enormous prayer wheels which encircle the stupa.
Next, is Buddhist shrine of Boudhanath, one of the largest stupas in the world as well as the sacred Buddhist sites in Kathmandu. You will observe the monk chant in the prayer hall while people lighting butter lamps and reciting mantras.
Further, we visit Pashupatinath temple, a Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the bank of Bagmati River. You can see elaborately dressed holy men meditating outside the temple and pilgrims placing offerings at the shrines. You can also observe people performing the religious ritual and funeral pyres burn at open-air cremation.
An ancient settlement of Sankhu in the north-east part of the valley is famous for the secret goddess, the Bajra Yogini who is believed with having persuaded Manjushree to drain the water of the lake which once occupied the Valley floor.
A 16th-century settlement where Machindra, a rain god of India was invited to settle with his people at the time of a big drought. Later a shrine of Machendra was established at the place where the village of Bungamati now lies. Walking through this town remains you a life of 17th-century human habitats.
Pokhara Valley lies 200 km from Kathmandu and is the home of famous Gurkha soldiers. It lies in the shadow of the mighty Annapurna mountains, in the warm
tropical climate of its bare 3000″. And from its groves of bamboo and banana, rice paddies and poinsettia, you can enjoy such a view of the high snow peaks unparalleled in any other part of the world! And of course, boating on Lake Fewa is an additional activity you can enjoy there.
Lumbini – the birthplace of Lord Buddha. The Lumbini gardens which house the actual spot where Lord Buddha was born and where a pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka
of India in 249 BC to mark the exact spot. This area also houses ruins of ancient monasteries and the temple of Mayadevi – Lord Buddha’s mother. Other
monuments here are the various monasteries constructed by other countries like Japan, Burma, Korea Thailand and Sri Lanka.
Kapilbastu is not far from Lumbini and was in 563 BC, the Kingdom which Gautam Buddha’s father ruled. Around here are many ruins which indicate the old forts
and palaces of the time. Tilorakot, the capital of Kapilbastu where Siddhartha (Buddha) spent his days inside a palace as an heir apparent to the throne. It was here he came to know about the suffering of people and decided to choose the way of
Tansen is a beautiful town located amidst the grandeur of the surrounding mountains and is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Nepal. This place is modeled as a sister town of Kathmandu. All the important monuments and temples of Kathmandu have been replicated here. It is like being in a Kathmandu perched on a mountaintop minus the noise and the congestion. Sightseeing here includes: Visiting the Srinagar hills which offers the best view of the western Himalayas in Nepal.
It is situated 80 Kilometers south-west of Kathmandu at an altitude of about 2,400 meters. Daman is located on the Tribhuvan Highway in between Kathmandu
and the town of Birgunj.
For the view of the breathtaking grandeur of the world’s highest peaks extending in one glittering are from for-west of Dhaulagiri to far-east of Mt. Everest there is no better place than Daman. There is a view tower fitted with long range telescopes.
Halfway between Kathmandu and Pokhara (or Chitwan), its tiny fortified palace crowning its craggy hills against a splendid Himalayan background: Gorkha, from where Prithvi Narayan Shah, ancestor of the Royal House of Shah rode out in the 18th Century to swallow the minor principalities that Nepal then comprised and weld the Kingdom into its present shape. A Royal Palace of the 17th century can be seen there.