Must visit places while you are in Kathmandu
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal is situated at the height of 1350 meters from sea level. Kathmandu valley has almost four millions of population, it is surrounded by green hills and behind the hills, there are mountains, if the weather is very clear, sometimes, we can see very beautiful view of mountains also. Word Kathmandu is derived from Kasthamandap (kastha means wood) mandap means pavilion or place to do worship, so Kathmandu means temple or pavilion made by wood. Kasthamandap is very beautiful monument, it was destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, now the restoration is going on, after the earthquake, when excavations happened, archaeologist had found the structural evidence of 7th century b.c. so there is no doubt that Kasthamandap is the oldest structure in Kathmandu Durbar square. It is believed that Kasthamandap was constructed by the wood of only one tree. About the construction of Kasthamandap there is one legend which says, when the local people were busy celebrating their festival, Indra Hindu god in his disguised form was participating the event, when people discovered that, they put him in trap, he was made free, in exchange of divine power ,as people wanted to make temple ,they ask him kalpabriksha (divine tree) and from that tree they made Kasthamandap, so Kasthamandap was by the wood of only one tree! Since, it is connected to the name Kathmandu; we must put it in the list of our visit in the city. Kathmandu durbar square, where Kasthamandap is located, used to be ancient center of the city, where royal family is used to live until 19th century, now there is museum, although it was destroyed by earthquake, some of monument inside the royal palace are renovated, some are in final stages of renovation, the building where used be museum, renovation is not completed there, so they have open museum in another building near there. Very near to Kathmandu durbar square, there is local market, Ason. People from different parts of the Kathmandu valley would like to go there for shopping. People still believe that they can get thing needed for every occasion, from birth to death can be bought at Ason. The very famous Rani pokhari, artificial pond made by the king of 17th century in memory of his beloved son, is very nearby Ason bazaar.
Nepal became open for international tourist after 1950; hippies were the first lot of tourists, who did very good advertising of Nepali tourism in those days. Jhochhen gullies, where hippie people used to roam around there smoking marijuana and used to be accommodated in those hotels where they had board 'we sell hashish and marijuana', is located at south east corner of Kathmandu durbar square
Now a days down town Thamel, is the place which tourists cannot omit, while they are in Kathmandu, many restaurant, economic hotels and mushrooming number of shops where tourists can do shopping with bargain, one of the attractive place for tourists.
Shwoyambhunath stupa, most ancient stupa, is at the south western part of the city, is very famous by its name, monkey temple, is also one of the beautiful monuments in Kathmandu. Shwoyambhunath is very famous for its aerial view of the city. Although it is quiet adventurous to reach at stupa from eastern part climbing about 365 steps, western part is easier to reach to the stupa ,where we can be driven up to the parking and then about 150steps up to the Stupa.
Boudhanath stupa, another Buddhist shrine, which about 6 km east from the city center, is also one of the touristic destination in Kathmandu. As many Tibetan people are living there, is called Tibetan belt of Kathmandu also. Boudhanath stupa is quiet and peaceful part of Kathmandu is famous for many eateries with western and Nepali cuisine. At about 2km south east of Boudhanath stupa there is an important Hindu shrine, Pashupatinath temple, Pashupatinath is another name of Hindu god Shiva. It is believed that Shiva has more than 60 manifestations. Pashupatinath is one of that, means god of all living beings like Kathmandu durbar square, Shwoyambhunath and Boudhanath, Pashupatinath is also a world heritage site for UNESCO. Although only Hindu and Buddhist can visit Pashupatinath temple, its vicinity where everybody allowed can also be a very interesting place for tourists. The main attraction of this place for tourists is to see cremation process at the bank of Bagmati River in open space. The view of main temple from outside is also attractive and the pilgrims, sadhus (ascetic person or holy man) and to catch their activities in camera also could be amazing experience there. About 500 meters from Pashupatinath temple, there another Hindu shrine, Guheswori, although for non-Hindu, the visit is prohibited, walk up to there, looking the activities of monkeys and deer at the jungle could be beautiful.
Greater Kathmandu has there suburbs. Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur. Like Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur also have their own durbar square.They are also very beautiful and deserve to be visited. Among 7 world heritage site for UNESCO, Changunarayan temple is one, is considered the oldest Hindu shrine, temple of Lord Vishnu is about 5 km from Bhaktapur Durbar square.There is good road access, need to walk few minutes from the bus park. Changunarayan village where the temple is located is also famous for beautiful view of mountains, “if the weather permits".
NAGARKOT another tourist destination is also in Bhaktapur district, 20 km north east from Bhaktapur Durbar square, is a hill station, famous for the view of mountains.
A Chandragiri hill is another touristic destination in Kathmandu. About 20 km west from Shwoyambhunath, connecting to the main highway, there is cable car which go up to the hill, from Chadragiri hill, seen very beautiful view of whole Kathmandu valley, and at the corner, if the weather is good, majestic mountains could be seen very beautiful. They have very good eateries also there. Depending upon the time factor of tourists one can make their itinerary from 1 to 7 days in Kathmandu valley. There are different hiking trails around Kathmandu which are also equally recommendable.
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