The Kathmandu city was built by king Gun Kamdev in 723 A.D. It is said that Kathmandu was a lake in the past and was made habitable by Manjushree, who cut open the hill to south Chovar) as to allow the water of lake to flow out.
It is said that Kathmandu city was named after "Kastha-Mandap" meaning the temple made of wood in Sanskrit, an imposing pagoda near Hanuman Dhoka Palace. It was built in 1596 out of a single tree by King Laxmi Narashingha Malla.
Kathmandu is the capital of the kingdom, situated in a valley which is an open air museum of famous sites, ancient temples and shrines, golden pagodas and are inspiring deities, is a city of inexhaustible historic artistic and cultural interest. Several beautiful and interesting villages and towns surrounding the valley offer ideal destinations for mini treks. The dazzling Himalayan peaks are visible from several points on the mountains around the valley.
The capital is quite up to date in terms of comfort and convenience boasting luxury hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and casinos. Transportation is convenient and inexpensive. Medical service is quite good. Shoppers may purchase unusual gifts and souvenirs from an interesting assortment of items such as handicrafts, carpets, wooden art works, bronze casting and metal work, thankas, Nepali paper prints and readymade garments.
Patan is also known as ‘Lalitpur’ the City of Artisans, lies 5km southeast of Kathmandu, and is home to the valley’s finest craftsmen who preserve ancient techniques such as reposes and the lost wax process, still producing exquisite pieces of sculpture. The city retains much of the old charm with its narrow streets, brick houses and the multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries (Vihars). The predominant sound in Patan is not motor vehicles but the tinkering of craftsmen bent over the statuettes they are shaping. As in Kathmandu, Hinduism and Buddhism have co-existed here for ages, influencing each other and there’s religious harmony.
Lies on a hill at an altitude of 1,401m, Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon, literally the City of Devotees, is a major tourist attraction taking visitors back in time. This city retains the charming paved roads, red brick houses and a way of life that goes back to medieval times. The extraordinary ‘Durbar Square’ with its celebrated Golden Gate and extraordinary Palace of Fifty-Five windows reflects the glory days of the Malla Dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three cities of the valley. Situated 14km east of Kathmandu, this ancient city is also famous for pottery and woodcarving amply displayed on the squares and windows respectively.
Changu Narayan: Changu Narayan is dedicated to Lord Vishnu of the Hindu trinity; it lies near the village of Changunarayan in the Kathmandu Valley on top of a hill at the eastern end of the valley. It offers magnificent views of the surrounding countryside as well as the Himalaya to the north. It is 22km from Kathmandu and 6km to the north of Bhaktapur. It is believed to be built first in the 4th century and it is one of the oldest Hindu temples of the valley. A stone slab discovered in the surrounding area of the temple dates to the 5th century, and it is the oldest stone inscription discovered so far in Nepal. After the old temple was devastated it was rebuilt. Changu Narayan temple is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritatge Site.
Changu Narayan is one of the best examples of Pagoda style of architecture, claimed to have originated in Nepal. You also get to see the double-roofed structure where the idol of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayana is defined. The elegantly built temple has elaborate roof struts showing multi-armed Tantric deities. A kneeling image of Garuda dated to the 5th century, the vahana or vehicle of Vishnu with a snake around its neck, faces the temple. The gilded door depicts stone lions guarding the temple. Gilded windows also flank the door. A conch and a disc, symbols of Vishnu, are carved on the two pillars at the entrance.
Nagarkot: Nagarkot lies at an elevation of 2,175meter and its 30 km east of Kathmandu. It’s the most popular destination for sunrise and sunset view in the Kathmandu Valley. It is the favorite weekend getaway among those seeking Mountain View in comfortable and quite surrounding. At sunrise, the Himalayan range, stretching from Dhaulagiri in the west all the way past Everest to Kanchenjunga in the east, emerges from the darkness to greet the happy visitors with its awe inspiring majesty and beauty. For those wishing to stretch their legs and enjoy the fresh morning air, there are charming walking trails as well as a lookout tower from which the sights can be taken.
Kirtipur: The small town of Kritipur is on a hill, 5km southwest of Kathmandu. At the bottom of the hills, where they meet is the three-tiered Bagh Bhairab Temple, which is holy to both Buddhist and Hindus. The main deity of the temple is Bhairab, in the form of a tiger. There is a temple torana to the left of the entrance with Vishnu riding Garuda. Bhairab in the middle of Ganesh and Kumar is below them. The temple is covered with swords and shields that belong to the troop of Kritipur, who were defeated by the army of King Prithivi Narayan Shah. Sacrifices are made here on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.
The triple-roofed Uma Maheshwar Temple, or Hindu Kvat, is gotten by climbing the stone stairway by the saddle. On either side of the beginning of the stairway is a stone elephant with spikes on them. The main deity is the form of Shiva with Parvati leaning against him. From the temple there are good views of the surrounding area. The temple was originally built in 1673 and had four roofs. It was damaged in the earthquake of 1934 and was restored.
The Chilanchu Vihara is on top of the southern hill. It has a central stupa and four stupas around it. It has statues and bells.
Dhulikhel: Dhulikhel is a small town at an altitude of 1,440 meter from the sea level. The artistic skills and urban ethos of its Newar inhabitants have made a place of charm and beauty. Once an important link in the ancient trade route to Tibet, the town has glorious past that can be witnessed in the lovely buildings and intricate woodcarvings found along the shop-lined streets and in the temples. The place has many vantage points that offer a panorama of the low hills, valleys and the Himalayas. Sunset views are spectacular from here. Bird watching, mountain biking and hiking is the favorite activities of this place. This is a magnificent place to stay for a night and awaken to the sun rising across the wide Himalayan range. There are many luxurious resorts with all-modern amenities and facilities.
Godavari: Located in the south western edge of Lalitpur district, 14 km away from Patan, at the base of the 2715 m high Mt. Phulchowki (Mountain of Flowers), the highest point on the Valley ridge, Godavari is a peaceful small village, surrounded by dense jungles going up the western ridge of the Mahabharat range. Godavari is known for its natural beauty the jungles here are home to at least 256 species of birds and 300 species of butterflies and moths. The Botanical Garden, founded by King Mahendra in 1962 is the only one of its kind in the country boasting an astonishing 4500 specimens of flowering and non flowering plants including more than 90 varieties of orchids.
Namo Buddha: It is located nearby kathmandu around 10kms away from Dhulikhel. One can reach thereby couple of hours drive or those who prefer a shot hike can enjoy the beautiful views of local village, their lifestyle and some mountains in the north. Literally "Namo Buddha" means the place where the lord Buddha offered his body to a hungry mother tigress in tibetan language. It is also famous for Shakyamuni's act of compassion upon encountering a hungry mother tigress he offered her his body so that she could feed her cubs. There are few other tibetan monasteries and one ancient stupa erected nearby in which once can make offerings and pray.
Khokana: Khokana is a Newar farming village lying 7 km south of the Ring Road that encircles the two cities of Kathmandu and Patan. Khokana is a small village, but is filled with life, history and culture. Thus, as you make your way down the main street of the village, you will see woman sitting outside spinning, men crushing seeds, and other daily activities. The village is famous for its unusual mustard seeds in order to extract the oil. In the center of the town you will find the main street is particularly wide-especially for a village of such diminutive size. The street was widened significantly during the rebuilding process after an earthquake shook the village in 1934. You will also find that no matter where you in this tiny village, a large three-storied temple will catch your eye. This massive building certainly dominates the skyline of the village and can be seen from virtually anywhere in the area. The temple is dedicated to the local mother goddess, Shikali Mai, and it is regularly used by the local people. A similar temple to the northeast of the village is mainly only used during times of epidemic.
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