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Places to See in Kathmandu Valley

AKASH BHAIRAV TEMPLE: It is a three storey temple in the main market avenue, called Indra Chowk. The image of Akash Bhairav is displayed outside for a week during Indra Jatra, the festival of Indra-the God of Rain.

ASHOK VINAYAK: The small but a very important temple of Ashok Vinayak is situated behind the Kasthamandap. It is also known as Kathmandu Ganesh or Maru Ganesh.

BALAJU WATER GARDEN: Balaju is situated about five kilometers north-west of Kathmandu, at the foot of Nagarjun hill. There is an attractive park at Balaju known as Mahendra Park. It is also known as Balaju Uddyan and features fountains with 22 crocodiles-headed water spouts dating from the mid-eitghteenth century. There is a beautiful image of reclining Vishnu inside the garden which represents the replica of Budhanilkantha. There is also a swimming pool inside the park. Balaju Industrial District is located nearby. Buses and tempos for Balaju start from Ranipokhari.

BHADRAKALI TEMPLE: At the eastern edge of the Tundhikhel near Sahid Gate stands the temple of Goddess Bhadrakali. THis temple is also known as Lumarhi Temple and is one of the main Bhagvati temples of Kathmandu city.

BOUDDHANATH: The Stupa of Bouddhanath lies eight kilometers east of Kathmandu. This colossal and ancient Stupa, one of the biggest in the world, has the all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. It was built by Lichchhavi King Mana Dev in the fifth century A.D. It is built on an octagonal base inset with prayer wheels. Ratna Park and Shahid gate are the main bus stops for Bouddhnath.

BUDHANILKANTHA: About 8 kilometers north of Kathmandu, at the base of Sivapuri hill is a remarkable, colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining on the bed of snakes. This is one of the masterpieces of stone sculpture of Lichchhavi period. This fifth century statue is in the middle of a small pond and seems to float in water. It ia famous place of pilgrimage for Hindus. Buses for Budhanilkantha are available at Ranipokhari.

CHABAHIL: The lovely Stupa of Chabahil is built by the side of road to Bouddhanath. This Stupa is older than Bouddhanath and built by Charumati, the daughter of the Indian Emperor Ashoka, in the third century B.C., after her marriage with the local prince called Devapala. That is why Chabahil is also known as Devapatan. There are some ancient statues around the Stupa.

CHANDRA VINAYAK: The temple of Chandra Vinayak is situated about 200m west of Chabahil Stupa. The dounble tiered brass roofed temple houses a tiny image of Lord Ganesh. Chandra Vinayak is one of the four Vinayaks of Kathmandu Valley. The other three are Jal Vinayak of Chovar, Surya Vinayak of Bhaktapur and Karna Vinayak of Bungamati (Patan).

CHOBAR: It is situated nine kilometers southwest of Kathmandu, This place is famous for its gorge. All the waters of the Valley drain through it. Legend has it that Manjushri cut out the gorge to drain out Kathmandu Valley which was then a lake. There is a small but picturesque temple of Adinath on the top of a hill. From this top one can have a completed view of snow-capped mountain peaks. Just beyond the Chobhar gorge, there is a temple of Jal Vinayak. The main image of the shrine is on a massive rock. It extends outside the temple on the back, only a small part in front vaguely resembles an elephant tusk. The image of Jal Vinayak is different from other images of Lord Ganesh.

DAKSHINKALI: The temple of Dakshinkali is situated about two kilometers south of Shekha Narayan. Dakshinkali is one of the very important places of pilgrimage regarding Hindu goddesses, which dates back to time immemorial. Pilgrims visit this temple to offer their prayers and animal sacrifices to the goddess. Apart from the religious performance this place has also been developed as a popular picnic spot.

DHARAHARA & SUNDHARA: It is 59.29m tower built by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa in 1832 A.D. Dharahara is also known as Bhimsen Stambha. Sundhara-fountains with golden water sprouts is situated at the foot of Dharahara. Sundhara was also built bt Bhimsen Thapa.

GOKARNA: The lovely Royal Game Sanctuary, also known as Gokarna Safari Park, lies about ten kilometers northeast of Kathmandu. It is situated on the bank of the River Bagmati. Many wild animals such as spotted deer can be viewed in the sanctuary from an elephant back. An entrance fee is charged for entrance to the game sanctuary at the gate or by arrangement with a travel agency. On the northern side of Gokarna, on the way to Sundarijal, is a pagoda of Gokarneshwor mahadev which stands on one side of the Bagmati gorge.

GUHESWARI TEMPLE: Near Pashupatinath is located another historic and holy temple of Guheswari. This is a shrine of Goddess Sati (Parvati); Lord Shiva's consort. But the temple of Guheshwari houses no image of any goddess. No Hindus are allowesd to enter the temple courtyard.

HANUMANDHOKA (DURBAR SQUARE): It is the historic seat of royalty. The Durbar Square, with its old temples and palaces, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people. It is here that kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations solemnized. Interesting things to see here are (1) Taleju Temple built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 A.D., (2) Gigantic figure of Kal Bhairav, the God of Destruction, (3) Basantapur Durbar or Nautalle Durbar, built by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, (4) Coronation Platform (Nasal Chok), (5) the Hall of Public Audience (Gaddi Baithak), (6) the statue of King Pratap Malla, (7) the Big Bell, (8) Big Drums, and (9) the Jagannath Temple. There is also a temple of Pancha Mukhi Hanuman inside the old palace. This is one of the only two structures in Nepal, the other is in Pashupatnath. Opposite the entrance to the Hanuman Dhoka Palace stands the Krishna Mandir. It is one of the few octagonal temples in Nepal.

On the right hand corner, large wooden lattice screen hides an enormous glided face of Sweta Bhairava, a fascinating masterpiece of popular art. The screened is removed only during the Indra Jatra festival.

Just before entering the courtyard of Hanuman Dhoka Palace there is a temple of Shiva-Parvati on the left. The deified couple, carved in wood and beautifully painted, look graciously down from the center window of the upper balcony.

There are also Numismatic Museum and Tribhuvan Museum inside the Hanuman Dhoka Palace building. Photography is prohibited inside the museums. Both the museums remain closed on Tuesdays and government holidays. A nominal fee is charged to enter the courtyard of Hanuman Dhoka Palace where one can get exposed to a visual feast of carvings and mouldings on the nine storey pagoda of the palace. The main golden gate is guarded by the monkey-god, Hanuman with a ceremonial umbrella suspended above his head and wrapped in a scarlet cloak, he squats on a stone plinth. The image of Hanuman was kept by King Pratap Malla.

JAISHI DEWAL: It takes about five minutes to reach Jaishi Dewal from Kasthamandap. The Shiva Temple of Jaishi Dewal is famous its erotic carvings. This area is believed to have been the nucleus of the Valley during the Lichchavi period. It is still one of the main routes of the chariot festival of Indra Jatra, Gai jatra and other festivals.

KAISAR LIBRARY: To west of Narayanhity Royal Palace located inside the premises of Ministry of Education, Culture and Social Welfare, Kaisar Library has got a huge and rare collection of books and old manuscripts. It also offers an opportunity to have a glimpse of the interior parts of a typical Nepali neoclassical palace. It is open for the public except Saturdays and other government holidays.

KASTHAMANDAP: It lies near the temple of Kumari. It is said to have been built by King Laxmi Narsingha Malla in the beginning of the sixteenth century. It is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree. Also known as Maru Sattal it house the beautiful images of four Vinayaks (Surya Vinayak, Chandra Vinayak, Jal Vinayak and Karna Vinayak) of the Kathmandu Valley.

KIRTIPUR: It is a small town , eight kilometers southwest of Kathmandu on the top of a hill. Tribhuvan University is located at the foot of the hill. This historic town has many things to offer like old shrines and temples, old houses, the people typically dressed in old traditional costumes, people working on ancient loom etc. Regular buses and minibuses for Kirtipur depart from Ratna Park.

MACHCHHENDRA NATH TEMPLE: The temple of Sweta Machchhendra Nath is situated at Machchhendra Bahal between Indra Chowk and Asan. It is a pagoda of considerable artistic beauty. It has two-tiered bronze roof. The temple is built in a courtyard full of votive stupas and statuaries. It is surrounded by residential houses and busy shops. The god within the shrine is Padmapani Avalokiteshwor, worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists. This deity is also called Janmadyo or Machchhendra.

MAHANKALSTHAN: On the western section of the Tundikhel is situated the temple of Mahankal. This temple houses an ancient gigantic image of Mahankal. This image of Mahankal is one of the master-pieces of ancient Nepalese sculpture.

MARTYRS' MEMORIAL (SAHID) GATE: It is located between Bhimsen Stambha and Bhadarakali temple. The memorial arch contains the statue of the late King Tribhuvan Bir Bickram Shah and the bust of four martyrs namely Shukra Raj Shastri, Dharma Bhakta, Ganga Lal and Dashrath Chand. Regular buses for different parts of the city are available here.

NARAYANHITY DURBAR: It is the present Royal Palace.. This inherited the name from the temple of Narayan. A famous historic water spout called Narayanhity is situated at the southern corner of the Palace.

NATIONAL MUSEUM: Located at Chauni two and half kilometers west of Kathmandu, a twenty-five minutes walk from Hanuman Dhoka. The National Museum has a splendid collection of weapons, artefacts from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal. Its archaeological and historical displays are worth seeing. The museum is open everyday except Tuesday and government holidays.

Museum Hours:
Summer 10:30 A.M. - 04:30 P.M. (Feb. 13 - Nov. 16)
Winter 10:30 A.M. - 03:30 P.M. (Nov. 17 - Feb. 12)
On Fridays: 10:30 A.M. - 02:30 P.M. round the year

Admission Fee:
Per head Rs. 5.00, per camera Rs. 10.00

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM: This Museum, the only of its kind in Nepal is situated three kilometers west of Kathmandu city behind the famous Swayambhunath hillock. Run under the Tribhuvan University this museum has over 14,000 unique collection of butterflies, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, plants and a variety of fossils collected within the country. Established in 1975, the museum provides detailed information to the tourists about nature observations, study of high altitude birds, alpine flora and fauna, etc. It is open during the office hours everyday except Saturdays and government holidays. Entrance is free. Photography inside the museum is strictly prohibited.

PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE: Situated five kilometers east of Kathmandu on the bank of the sacred Bagmati river, the temple of lord Shiva-Pashupatinath with the two-tiered golden roof and silver doors is famous for its superb architecture. It is a center of annual pilgrimage on the day of Maha-Sivaratri. Entrance to the temple precinct is permitted to the Hindus only however, visitors can clearly see the temple and the activities performed in the temple premises from the eastern bank of the Bagmati river. Bus, minibus, tempos and taxi for Pashupatinath temple are available at Ratna Park.

SANKHU: It is a typical Newari town, with many fine old buildings and temples. Beyond the village, up a long flight of stone stairs, is Bajra Jogini, an historical temple with a beautiful view of the local area.

SHEKHA NARAYAN: The picturesque shrine of Shekha Narayan stands on a hillock beneath a stalactite rock. Situated between Chobhar and Dakshinkali the temple of Shekha Narayan represents one of the four Narayans of the Kathmandu Valley. The other three Narayans are Changu Nararyan of Bhaktapur, Vishankhu Narayan of Patan and Ichangu Narayan of Kathmandu. There are ponds with fishes at the base of Shekha Narayan.

SINGHA DURBAR: It is a grand imposing palace built on the neo-classical style. Once the private residence of Rana Prime Ministers, now it is the Secretariat of His Majesty's Government of Nepal. Some years ago major part of it except the facade was destroyed by fire. All portion of it have already been rebuilt.

SUNDARIJAL: It is famous for its scenic beauty. There are magnificient waterfalls, cataracts and rock formations. It is an ideal place for picnic, requiring a short walk after the motorable road.

SWAYAMBHUNATH: This is one of the world's most glorious Buddhist Chaityas. It is said to be 2000 years old. The Chaitya which form the main structure is made of a solid hemisphere of brick and clay supporting a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. Painted on the four-sides of the spire bases are the all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. It is three kilometers west of Kathmandu city, and is situated on a hillock about 77m above the level of the Valley. This hill is a mosaic of small Chaityas and pagoda temple.

TEMPLE OF KUMARI (KUMARI GHAR): The temple of the residence of Living goddess, Kumari, is situated in the vicinity of Hunaman Dhoka Palace. The building has profusely carved wooden balconies and window screens. It was built by Jaya Prakash Malla , the last Malla King of Kathmandu. Though certain aspects of Kumari-worship and her annual festival parade existed among the Nepalese in the ancient times also, the chariot festival in the present form was inaugurated by him in the mid-eighteenth century. The non-hindu visitors may enter the courtyard, but may not go beyond that. The Kumari acknowledges their greetings from her balcony window. Photography is prohibited.

Kumari, who is also known as the Virgin Goddess has got some specialities that she must be of the Newari Shakya caste, a virgin with no body marks or injuries. When she attends on puberty she is replaced by another Kumari.

TUNDIKHEL: It is the huge greenfield that flanks one entire side of the old city. It is used by parades, national celebrations, numerous colorful festivals and also for sports. At its one end are the Ratna Park, the Open Air Theater, and Royal Nepal Army Vavillion and at the other end are the Army Headquarters and Dasharath Stadium (Dasharath Rangashala).

This information is courtesy of

His Majesty's Government of Nepal
Department of Tourism

Patan Dhoka, Lalitpur
Tel: 523692
Fax: 977-1-527852

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