Publisher Splendid Holidays
KATHMANDU VALLEY (THE KANTIPUR)
The Kathmandu valley has an exotic setting. A tier of green mountain wall above which tower mighty snow capped peaks surrounds it. It consists of three main towns of great historic, artistic and cultural interest: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. The Kathmandu valley covers an area of 218 Sq. Miles. It is situated 1360 m. above sea level.
The ancient Swasthani scriptures tell of lord Shiva, supreme among Hindu gods, who came down to the Kathmandu valley to escape boredom. He came as a tourist, if that is the appropriate word, but he was neither among the first non the last of the gods to visit the valley. Visitors have come to Nepal since times forgotten. And though the country is much different today then it was in ancient times, it has not diminished in charm, and the increase in the number of visitors over the years is a living proof. Those who come to the valley today will appreciate a lot more then lord Shiva did in his tour.
The architecture started here by the Lichenin and Malla Kings is one such example. Much of the greenery the lord Shiva saw is gone, but the forests surrounding Pashupatinath, where he stayed, are still intact. The seven world Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu valley designated by the United Nation Educational, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are the highlights of the valley.
Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for Shiva devotees. Pashupatinath, dedicated to Shiva the Destroyer, is the holiest Hindu pilgrimage destination in Nepal. Although the Pashupatinath Temple was only built in the fifth century and later renovated by Malla kings, the holy site is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium. A gold-plated roof, four silver doors, and woodcarvings of the finest quality decorate the pagoda temple of Pashupatinath. Temples dedicated to several other Hindu and Buddhist deities surround the temple of Pashupatinath. Nearby is the temple of Guheshwori dedicated to Shiva's consort Sati
Devi. Behind the temple is the River Bagmati. On the banks of Bagmati are raised platforms used as cremation sites for Hindus. Only Hindus are allowed inside the Pashupatinath courtyard. It covers the area of 281 hectors.
KATHMANDU DURBAR SQUARE
Kathmandu Durbar Square is in the heart of old city Kathmandu in Basantapur. This complex of palaces, courtyards and temples, built between the 12th and 18th centuries. The founding of the Royal Palace dates back to Licchavi times with considerable renovations by Malla rulers. An intriguing piece here is the 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages. The Durbar Square, protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the social, religious and urban focal point of the city. The Royal complex was residence to Nepal's Royal family before the construction of the Narayanhiti Royal Palace.
There are around 50 temples in the vicinity including the temple of Royal titular deity, Taleju Bhawani. The Durbar is divided into two courtyards, the outer comprising Kasthamandap, Kumari Ghar, and Shiva-Parvati Temple, and the inner consisting of Hanuman Dhoka and the main palace. It also houses two museums. Important ceremonies, including the coronation of the Nepali monarch are held in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. Most parts of the palace premise are open for tourists throughout the week during office.
Bouddhanath is the center of Tibetan culture in Nepal. The 36 m. high stupa of Bouddhanath is one of the largest stupa in South Asia. Licchavi rulers renovated Bouddhanath Stupa in the eighth century. The mandala design in Bouddhanath is a copy of the one in Gyangtse in Tibet. The stupa is located in the area of ancient trade route to Tibet where Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayers for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many decided to live around Bouddhanath. Hence, a complete township has developed around Bouddhanath. The stupa is said to entomb the remains of a Kasyap sage venerable both to Buddhists and Hindus.
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 Mandev. By the thirteenth century Swoyambhunath had developed into an important Buddhist learning site. The history of Kathmandu Valley is said to have started with the beginning of Swoyambhunath. The largest image of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal is in a monastery next to the stupa. Behind the hilltop is a temple dedicated to Manjusri of Saraswati - the goddess of learning. Statues and shrines of Buddhist and Hindu deities dot the stupa complex. Large numbers of Buddhists and Hindus alike visit Swoyambhunath. Swoyambhunath is perhaps the best place to observe the religious harmony in Nepal.
A colorful and enlightening walk that gives you a feel of Kathmandu starts at Rani Pokhari, the large pond at Jamal beside the clock tower. The first stretch of the diagonal street leading southwest from here is called Kamalachhi. It brings you to the stone-paved Asan, a market square on the diagonal thoroughfare linking with Durbar square. The bazaar is a swirl of color against a backdrop of temples and open fronted shops. Narrow lanes radiate out leading to mysterious courtyards where the Annapurna temple presides over motley of spice, grain and oil shops. Keep on walking and you come to Kel Tole, after passing shops overflowing with brass utensils. Further on is the junction of Indra Chowk with the temple of Akash Bhairav occupying one side. Your next stop after threading your way through the street lined with cloth shops is the stone-paved plaza of Makhan, where the Taleju temple towers over a row of handicraft shops. Walk on through Durbar Square to the intersection of Maru where you are surrounded by temples of all shapes and sizes.
Then you can continue your walk through selected historic sites seldom visited. This revitalizing walk leads you to kumari temple, Shiva parvati temple, main palace and main chowk. Continue the west side visits the kastamandap, Bhimsen Dewal, built in 1655 and dedicated to the main deity of local traders. Walk through Chikan Mugal and stop by at the Atko Narayan Dewal, an important Vishnu temple built in 1857. Saunter down to Kohiti to study the Buddhist and Hindu sculptures in this sunken water fountain. Walk on to Tukan Baha, built in the 14th century as a replica of the Swoyambhunath stupa. Admire the Ram temple at the Ram Chandra Dewal before reaching Jaisi Dewal, a huge Shiva temple built in 1688. Strolling through Hyumat Tole, arrive at Kusah Bahi, a Buddhist courtyard built in 1754. The next stop is the Narayan Dewal, another Vishnu temple (built in 1865) with a small Ganesh temple at the entrance. South of old Kathmandu, reach the final destination, the leading on to Wonder Narayan, a 17th-century temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu at Teku
Baneshwor, - . Kathmandu Nepal
Valid from 01-Nov-2012 untill 31-Dec-2013
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