Kathmandu-Places to visit in Kathmandu
Nepal is a medley of magnificent nature and culturally diversified people. It resonates with nothing but serenity, hustle, solidarity, and harmony. Being the peak point and the capital of the nation, Kathmandu city is full of charms and wonders. Every alley and corner will present you with awe-inspiring excitement. As home to seven historically and culturally rich World Heritages Sites listed by UNESCO, Kathmandu is worthy of the grace that it exhibits. With the passage of time and opulent history, Kathmandu is ageing like a fine wine, indeed.
Honestly, Kathmandu will serve you with the most theatrical experience with its dream-like ambience and pleasing hospitality. To the query, why theatrical?
Theatrical, because people are unbelievably convivial. They will serve you with all the love they have. They won’t hesitate to love, trust and welcome you with their whole heart. It’s bewitching even to imagine hundreds of beautiful faces and pure hearts smiling and welcoming at once. Also, the culture adds euphoric touch to it. A city where people play with colours and celebrate frantic Jatras and masked street dance performances. Literally, Kathmandu is such a city where you can witness humans and goddesses sharing the same street. The more we delve deep, the more intriguing and full of surprises it becomes. Let’s list and confer about some breathtaking sites situated in the Kathmandu Valley.
15 Best places to visit in Kathmandu
Famous Temples in Kathmandu
Due to the abundance of historic pagodas and stupas, Kathmandu is frequently referred to as the “city of temples.” There is Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Swayambhunath Temple, Boudha Stupa, and Pashupatinath Temple. Historically, Kathmandu was referred to as Kantipur or the “city of splendour.”
Kathmandu’s temples are infamous for their architecture, history, and a variety of other reasons. Be it the intricately designed antique pagodas or the Buddhist temples where monks contemplate endlessly. When visiting Kathmandu, you should surely pay a visit to the temples.
1. Pashupatinath Temple
Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most visited places to visit in Kathmandu. Nepalese are devoted to the belief that is passed on over the ages. As a result of such devotion, they are extremely humble and down to earth. Hinduism is widely practised by the Nepalese communities and Lord Pashupatinath is believed to be immensely sacred. Yearly, millions of visitors from worldwide pay visits and revere the glory of Pashupatinath.
Pashupatinath entails the assemblage of images of dignified deities, age-old inscriptions, saint and monk’s ashrams or kutis, and obviously historical temples. The architecture of the temple is exquisite as it is built in the Nepali Pagoda style. The devotees actually believe that there are altogether 12 Jyotirlinga in India where the head over this body is the one situated in Nepal. That is none other than Lord Pashupatinath Temple which constitutes 275 consecrated abodes of Lord Shiva.
The highly talked about idol is that made up of stole Mukhalinga which actually refers to a linga with a face. The aarti performed in the fresh dawn and one in the twilight is something to at least experience once in a lifetime.
2. Swyambhunath Stupa
Swayambhunath stupa which is also popular by the name monkey temple is built by the fusion of three varied sets of architecture, where one is a white dome stupa style, Pratappur and Anantapur are built in Nepali Pagoda Style, and the Temple of Harati Ajima seen in the Shikhar Style. Actually, Swayambhu in the literal sense refers to a “self-existent self”.
It alludes to being a self-manifested image of god but not an artificial one. It was believed to have naturally arisen. If we go by the Hindu scriptures like; Ramayana or Mahabharat, we can see Lord Vishnu regarded as Swayambhu.
In the front, there is a seamless painting of the eyes with eyebrows and a number one in Devanagari script as a nose of Lord Buddha. This stupa contains abundant historical evidence. It was built around 460 AD by the popular crown holder back then, King Mandel. It was then established as an epicentre of Buddhism by the 13th century.
The premises of this stupa entails monasteries and shrines which can be exciting enough to explore.
3. Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square
Hanuman Dhoka Square, commonly known as Kathmandu Durbar Square, is one of the top tourist destinations in the Kathmandu Valley. The majority of Nepal’s cultural hubs are centred in and around the Kathmandu Valley, with Hanuman-dhoka Durbar Square being the most significant. The statue of Hanuman erected by King Pratap Malla at the entrance to the royal palace in 1672 A.D. gave rise to the name Hanuman-dhoka Durbar.
A storey-high mansion constructed by King Prithvi Narayan shah in 1770 is known as Basantapur Durbar (palace). Another name for the entire complex is Kathmandu Durbar Square. It is surrounded by both Hindu and Buddhist temples and is situated in the centre of Kathmandu’s historic city.
4. Patan Durbar Square
Decorated with the intricate handicraft and monuments, Patan Durbar Square is an enormous site that once upon a long time ago was home to the Late Malla Kings. Patan Durbar Square is the oldest among the 3 durbar squares of the valley. So it holds exorbitant artistic heritage and elegant architectural riches.
Major attractions of this heritage site are; The Patan Museum which treasures all the valuables of history, Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, Golden Window, Golden Temple, Mahabouddha Temple, and the Sacro sanctum the Krishna Mandir.
5. Dakshinkali Temple
The Dakshinkali Temple is approximately a mile from the settlement of Pharping, which is located 22 kilometres from Kathmandu. The sanctuary is one of Nepal’s most revered temples and is devoted to the ferocious and feared Goddess Kali. This temple’s customs and rituals are what give it its fame. In particular, uncastrated male goats and cockerels are sacrificed there twice a week as a gift to the vicious spouse of Lord Shiva. An adherent of Kali named Rani Rashmoni erected the temple in 1855.
The words “Dakshin,” which means “south,” and “Kali,” which denotes the god who is worshipped here, are combined to form the name of the Dakshinkali Temple. The Goddess’s statue, which symbolizes the victory of good over evil, is pictured standing on top of a corpse. The four-armed idol depicts an image of a powerful heavenly figure who has come to defeat evil and emerge victorious, embellished with a sword in one hand, a skull cap in another, and a severed head in the third.
6. Kumari Ghar
The living goddess’ residence is Kumari Ghar, which is located in Kathmandu Durbar Square. It was well known for its architecture and celestial residents in antiquity. This temple gives more grandeur than only architecture in the present day. The spiritual reincarnation of Goddess Durga resides there. Since she is regarded as the living goddess of the Kathmandu valley, a young virgin girl who resides there is visited and worshipped by tens of thousands of followers.
She is expected to bless the lives of all people and the nation. It is believed that she has the answers to all the possible dilemmas of human life. If you wander around these places, you would discover the abstract essence of life and people.
7. Kopan Gumba (Monastery)
Situated on the outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley, Kopan Monastery is considered to be a sacred and pious Buddhist site worldwide. From the hilltop monastery, you can view the prepossessing sight of the entire Kathmandu Valley. The ambience of the monastery is utterly tranquil. It has a fascinating history such that herein you can explore Buddhism from a different dimension.
The best-seller books on Buddhist philosophy and psychology were crafted from this very monastery. Also, you will be guided to meditate in the right and fruitful way. You will get to learn about the profuse power of praying. Join your hands together and get ready to introduce yourself to the conventional order of prayer and sweep all your obstacles away.
8. Boudhnath Stupa
Another place which certainly the tourists need to visit in Kathmandu is Boudhnath Stupa. Boudhanath Stupa is the next succeeding UNESCO World Heritage Site that is also among the most sensational sites overall in the valley. It is one of the largest stupas in the world which beholds ancient cultural and architectural history of Buddhism. Back then it was a spot for Tibet and Nepali traders as a meditative monument on the way. It entails intricate Mandala paintings and Lord Buddha’s significant eyes in all the cardinal directions.
It is reported that Boudhanath Stupa is regarded as the tomb of the remains of elite Kassapa Buddha. So it is concerned with dignitaries and the eminence of Buddhism. It is glaringly obvious for it to be bewitching for tourists or visitors worldwide.
Presented above were a fair few of the monasteries and temples residing in Kathmandu. Kathmandu valley is quite popularly known as the city of temples. Strictly speaking, there are more than a thousand such temples and monasteries in the Katmandu valley. In the historical alleys, you can often find a temple every 20 footsteps. Every community is grounded in the cultures and traditions that their prehistoric ancestors practised. Well, that is their pride and identity, so far.
Apart from those religious sites mentioned earlier, there is a multitude of vintage or primaeval sites in the Kathmandu Valley. The unremittingly awake streets of Thamel where you can find any relic of Nepalese culture or tradition. The alleys of Indrachowk and Asan could tell you the unheard real concrete tales of life. Then there is the 60’s era prominent Old Freak Street in the South of Kathmandu Durbar Square. Old Freak Street factually regard the hippie trail of the 1960 and 1970s. The Garden of Dreams could be another appealing site to visitors, due to its cosy and calm ambience to scout.
At a height of 2551 meters above sea level, Chandragiri Hill, the ideal vantage point for viewing the mountains in the southwest valley close to Kathmandu, is only seven kilometres (km) from Thankot. The traffic between Kathmandu and Bhimphedi used to pass through Kulekhani and Chitlang. People flocked to Chandragiri Hill to visit and take in the sights from all around the nation. Hindu followers believed that the “BHALESHOWR MAHADEV” pagoda-style temple grants the wishes of those who come to pray.
This place has a historical belief that King Prithvi Narayan Shah Dev when first saw the view of Kathmandu valley from this place, couldn’t resist the beauty of the valley and formed strategies to conquer Kathmandu valley to win this particular place.
Many internal and international tourists make their visit during the winter season to admire the snowfall here. There is no better place in Nepal to have a thrilling experience than this. The breathtaking views of the vast Himalayan mountain ranges from the top of this location are its finest feature. A picture-perfect view of the snow-covered mountain ranges’ top will be yours to capture.
Best Museums in Kathmandu
Similar to this, Kathmandu is home to numerous museums that each have a unique historical value in addition to temples and stupas. You can ponder the artefacts and take in Nepal’s strict history at the Narayanhiti Museum, Tribhuwan Museum, National Museum of Nepal, and Nepal Military Museum, to name a few. In addition, there is a Royal Botanical Garden where you may learn about the unusual plant species found in Nepal.
10. Narayanhiti Palace Museum
The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal was founded against the backdrop of the Narayanhiti Palace Museum. The significant political change in the nation was largely influenced by the ten years of the people’s war and the nineteen days of the people’s movement.
The Narayanhiti Royal Palace was transformed into a public museum in accordance with the political shifts, and on June 15, 2008, the then-prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala officially opened it. Following the “Prachanda” of Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal, the museum’s display was formally opened to the public on February 26, 2009.
11. Tribhuwan Museum
The Tribhuvan Museum, which is housed inside the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, is where you can find the personal belongings of Nepali King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah. The 2015 earthquake caused severe damage to this late 19th-century-built portion of the palace. It is thought that the Late King used to sit here and watch his people’s difficulties and success.
The Tribhuvan Museum, which was constructed to commemorate the king’s great reign, is home to an amazing collection of historical artefacts that belonged to and were utilized by him. These include, among other things, thrones, boxing gloves, the king’s clothes, his walking stick, statues, woodwork, stones, and weapons.
Along with his precious collection of coins, the museum also features a number of images from King Tribhuvan’s hunting expeditions and historical events that he participated in. A model of the king’s bedroom and study can be found in a different area of the museum. King Tribhuvan’s life, his conquests, and his memory have been preserved in the museum for the better part of a century.
12. The National Museum
The National Museum is the first museum to be found on Swayambhu, a sacred hill in the Kathmandu Valley. Its compound has several building types, gardens, and open space on around 50 Ropani of land. It now offers the ability to gather and exhibit priceless and rare works of art. The museum’s history reveals that it was formerly an Arsenal home constructed in 1824 by Prime Minister General Bhimsen Thapa.
Following that, it was given the name Silkhana Museum in 1926 by Rana Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher, who also erected two wings to the north and south of the main structure. Later, Rana Prime Minister Juddha Shumsher changed its name to Nepal Museum, and on February 12th, 1939, the museum’s doors were opened to the public.
The original plans for this museum’s buildings did not include provisions for the storage, restoration, preservation, and display of cultural artefacts. It became tough to handle it improperly as it evolved into a museum. Juddha Shumsher, the country’s first leader at the time, built Judhha Jatiya Kala Bhavan in front of the Nepal Museum in 1943 and let it open to the public on April 18, 1943. Following it is the Buddhist collection’s art area, which was expanded with funding from the Japanese government in 1997 A.D.
Best Natural Place to visit in Kathmandu
Additionally, there are sacred lakes, rivers and other best natural places to visit in Kathmandu that even assist the tourists to witness the valley’s prehistoric religious beliefs.
13. Tau Daha
There is a lake called Taudaha that was present when the Kathmandu Valley was forming. Buddhism holds that Manjushree chopped the hills in order to drain the lake’s water. The outcome was the formation of the Kathmandu Valley, and all the serpents and snakes moved inside of that lake to live. Knowing about such a rich past can make actual exploration even more exciting. In addition to being an area of natural beauty, the past of Taudaha Lake is rife with lore.
In the winter, birds from Siberia flock to the lake. The lake is a fantastic location for some birdwatching because a variety of other bird species can be seen there. The enormous carp that live there can be fed by visitors while they stroll along the lake’s edge. The term Taudaha, which means “big lake” in Newari, is given to the only natural lake in the Kathmandu Valley. It is around 20 meters deep and 500 meters broad at its widest point.
14. National Botanical Gardens
On occasions, Kathmandu can get very busy. In any case, there is a perfect location for the general public if they are looking for a place of peace and quiet. The National Botanical Garden at Godawari, Lalitpur about 19 kilometres from the chaos of Kathmandu is there. The area is fascinating and fantastic for walks and excursions. However, as schoolchildren commonly visit the area on Fridays and Saturdays, people may need to avoid going there.
The location was slightly damaged after the earthquake, but repairs are being made, and soon it will be back to its former prominence. The guest centre, where visitors may see a vast array of Nepal’s vegetation, is one of this location’s key features. The location includes a tropical house, an orchid house, and a desert plant house.
15. Shivapuri National Park
About 12 km from the centre of the capital city, the 159 sq km Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park is located on the northern edge of the Kathmandu Valley. In 2002, the region was designated as the eighth national park in the nation. It was governed by the Shivapuri Watershed Development Board before becoming a national park, and it eventually became the Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve.
Kathmandu is such a heavenly valley, placed in the lap of artistic hills and the Himalayas of Nepal. Travelling once could satisfy your bohemian soul and enhance your emotional affinity toward nature. Truly, Kathmandu is a tiny paradise residing in Nepal. Also, after travelling to Kathmandu, if you are planning to visit Pokhara, refer to the best places to visit in Pokhara.