5 Best Places to Visit in KathmanduJanuary 30, 2024
5 Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is one of the major tourist hubs in Nepal, where thousands of foreigners visit every year. It is one of the central hubs, as the international airport, Tribhuvan International Airport, is located in Kathmandu. Since Kathmandu is one of the major tourist destinations in Nepal, what are the best places to visit in Kathmandu?
If you are looking over the internet to find the best places to visit while you are in Kathmandu, then make a stop, as in this article we will discuss the 5 best places to visit in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
For the first, we have the Kathmandu Durbar Square, which is one of the three renowned Durbar Squares of Nepal. It is also known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square or Basantapur Durbar Square. It is a must-visit on any trip to Kathmandu, Nepal.
The Durbar Square is a complex of palaces, temples, courtyards, and shrines, all steeped in history and radiating Nepalese culture. It is located in the heart of the city and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It was a royal palace and the administrative center of the Kathmandu valley for several centuries and also served as the seat of the Malla Kings and later the Shah dynasty rulers.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is rich in architecture, as it is surrounded by impressive architecture, including palaces, courtyards, temples and shrines. The structures exhibit a mix of traditional Newari and Hindi architectural styles.
You will be fascinated by the intricate wood carvings, pagoda-style temples, and ancient artwork that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Nepal.
Alongside the architecture of Durbar Square, the Hanuman Dhoka Palace and Kumari Ghar (Kumari’s residence) are the major highlights. The Hanuman Dhoka Palace is a significant structure within the place and includes various courtyards, halls, and rooms.
On the other hand, the Kumari Ghar is the residence of the living goddess of Kathmandu. Kumari is a prepubescent girl selected from the Newari community based on strict criteria. You can get a glimpse of Kumari during certain times of the day when she appears at the window.
Inside the complex of Kathmandu Durbar Square, you can get to see different temples and shrines, among which Taleju Temple, Jagannath Temple, and the Kastamandap are popular.
Different cultural events do occur at Durbar Square. At the right time, you can even experience different festivals like Indra Jatra and Kumari Jatra.
Although the complex suffered significant damage during the 2015 earthquake, restoration work has been undertaken to repair and preserve the heritage of the square.
The Kathmandu Durbar Square allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history, art, and culture of Nepal, making it a must-visit destination for those interested in the country’s heritage.
Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most popular and most visited places in Kathmandu Valley. It is located on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River. It is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in Nepal.
The temple is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its vibrant tapestry woven with history, spirituality and cultural significance. The temple complex is surrounded by forests and other smaller temples, adding adventure to your journey.
The main deity of the temple is Lord Pashupatinath, a manifestation of Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism. Pashupatinath means “Lord of All Beings,” and the temple is considered one of the holiest shrines for followers of the Shaiva tradition.
One of the main reasons why people all around the world visit Pashupatinath is its richness of architecture. It is a highlight, as you will see architecture that you might not have seen anywhere in the world. The temple’s architecture is pagoda-style, with intricate wood carvings.
The main sanctum sanctorum has a four-faced lingam (phallic symbol), representing different aspects of Lord Shiva. The temple complex includes many other smaller shrines and statues dedicated to various deities.
It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Nepal. Whether you want to explore the area to learn more about the history and architecture or want to visit for religious work, Pashupatinath Temple is the best option to go for.
Another reason why Pashupatinath Temple is widely known is the grand celebration on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri. Devotees fast, sing hymns, and offer prayers throughout the night, as Maha Shivaraatri is the Great Night of Shiva.
Although the main temple is only accessible to Hindus, if you are not a Hindu, you can only view it from the opposite bank of the river. However, the temple complex, ghats, and other areas are open to all visitors.
Boudhanath Stupa is yet another important place to visit in Kathmandu. It is also called Boudha or Bodnath and is one of the largest and most significant stupas in Nepal. The stupa is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists, particularly Tibetan Buddhists.
Talking about its architecture, the stupa is massive and is constructed in the shape of a mandala, representing the Buddhist cosmos. Most visitors are fascinated by the three-tiered platform with a giant mandala at the base and a dome-shaped stupa topped by a square torn and a spire at the apex.
Additionally, the stupa is surrounded by different colorful prayer flags and numerous smaller stupas and shrines.
Boudhanath Stupa is popular amongst local and foreign visitors for its all-seeing eyes painted on the stupa. The eyes are known as the wisdom eyes or Buddha’s eyes and are a symbol of the Buddha’s omniscience and compassion.
Alongside its historic importance, Boudhanath is also a cultural hub, as it is home to a larger Tibetan community, and visitors can experience Tibetan culture, art, and cuisine in the surrounding area.
During the festive seasons, you can see several festivals celebrated as Boudhanath hosts various Buddhist festivals. Among them, Lhosar (Tibetan New Year) and Buddha Jayanti (celebration of the Buddha’s birthday) are popular.
Thamel is yet another must-visit, as well as the major tourist hub in Kathmandu. Most tourists visiting Nepal prefer staying at Thamel because various parts of the cities are easily accessible from Thamel.
It’s a vibrant and bustling neighborhood located in the heart of Kathmandu. Located in the northern part of Kathmandu, Thamel is adjacent to the Kathmandu Durbar Square.
As Thamel is the major tourist hub in Kathmandu, you can expect quality services and a wide range of facilities catering to travelers. We, Blue Lake Travels and Tours, are also located in Thamel.
Alongside being a popular tourist hub, Thamel is also a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. You can find a diverse range of cuisines, including Nepali, Tibetan, Indian, Thai, Chinese and Western dishes. You will also find several places that host live music performances, art galleries, and cultural events, reflecting their global nature.
Nevertheless, Thamel is a paradise for shoppers who want to shop for different goods and souvenirs. While walking through the narrow streets of Thamel, you can explore countless shops and market stalls selling handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, textiles, trekking gear, antiques, and traditional Nepali artifacts. Fun fact: you can bargain for the price as it is common in Thamel’s markets.
Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple)
Last but not least, we have Swayambhunath Stupa, which is also called Monkey Temple and is located atop a hill, offering panoramic views of the Kathmandu Valley that you must not miss.
Alongside others, Swayambhunath Stupa is the must-visit destination in Kathmandu.
It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one of the most iconic and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal. As it is located on a hilltop, you can experience a unique environment with a scenic view of the mountain ranges and the vibrant city of Kathmandu.
It is one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist stupas in Nepal, with a history dating back over 2,000 years.
Talking about it’s architecture, it is somewhere similar to the Boudhanath Stupas; it features big white dome-shaped structures adorned with colorful prayer flags and intricate carvings. And at the top, a gilded spire with a golden canopy and a large pair of Buddha eyes overlooking the valley.
As it is also called Monkey Temple, you can expect to find several monkeys that inhabit the area. You can see them roaming around the temple complex, which adds to its unique charm.
In order to reach the Swayambhunath stupa, you have to climb a series of stone staircases adorned with colorful prayer flags. Along the way, there are numerous prayer wheels that pilgrims spin while chanting mantras.
Also, not to forget, you can experience a beautiful sunset and sunrise view from the Swayambhunath Temple.
As these are just 5 must-visit destinations in Kathmandu, there are more than these that hold different importance and offer the best views around. Kathmandu itself is the most popular destination for visitors visiting Nepal. Every part of Kathmandu offers you a unique experience that you are less likely to forget.
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