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Kathmandu Valley

A charming valley of ancient towns, intricate temples, and royal palaces, the Kathmandu Valley has been inhabited since 300 BC. For centuries, the valley has been a place of pilgrimage for both Buddhists and Hindus. Absorbed into the Nepalese Gorkha kingdom in the 12th century, the Kathmandu Valley has nonetheless managed to preserve its many historical structures into the twenty-first century, through wars and natural disasters. Because of its well-preserved architecture and strong cultural traditions, the entire valley was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A charming valley of ancient towns, intricate temples, and royal palaces, the Kathmandu Valley has been inhabited since 300 BC. For centuries, the valley has been a place of pilgrimage for both Buddhists and Hindus. Absorbed into the Nepalese Gorkha kingdom in the 12th century, the Kathmandu Valley has nonetheless managed to preserve its many historical structures into the twenty-first century, through wars and natural disasters. Because of its well-preserved architecture and strong cultural traditions, the entire valley was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

EXPERIENCES

EXPERIENCES

Banepa

Visit Banepa, which is known as the hometown of the goddess Chandeswori, who is revered for her Tantrik powers. Within the town is a three-story pagoda that contains a large depiction of Bhaira, a form of Shiva, the god of destruction who is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists alike.

Budhanilkantha Temple Complex

Budhanilkantha is a temple complex featuring a beautiful stone figure of Vishnu, the Hindu god, who is depicted in a reclining position on the coil of a cosmic serpent.

Godawari

Godawari is one of the prettiest places in the entire Kathmandu Valley, located in the Lalitpur district in the Phulchowki hills about five miles outside of Kathmandu. Don't miss the the lovely Royal Botanical Garden.

Hiking in Phulchoki

Go hiking through the forests and flowers of Phulchoki, known as the “Abode of the Flower.” This might be the highest summit in the entire Kathmandu Valley at over 2,700 meters. On a clear day, visitors can see panoramic vistas of the entire valley, from Mount Everest to Annapurna.

Kirtipur Hilltop Fortress

Kirtipur is an ancient hilltop fortress and compound that overlooks the Kathmandu Valley. Within its confines are the Bagh Bhairav Temple, and an old square home to local artisans who are highly skilled at both weaving and carving.

Mountain Biking

Go on a half or full day mountain bike ride, and explore the rich heritage and beautiful scenery of the Kathmandu Valley. Visit Machhendranath Temple and the ancient towns of Bungamati, Khokana, Champi and Chapagaon, all inhabited by Newaris, a distinct ethnicity that comprises 5 percent of Nepal's population.

Namo Buddha Monastery

Visit the Namo Buddha Monastery, considered one of the most important and holiest places in the Buddhist pilgrimage. Here, Buddha is said to have sacrificed his body to a starving tigress and her cubs in a previous life as a prince.

Patan

Take an architectural tour of the ancient city of Patan. Once a separate kingdom, Patan is home to over 1,200 Buddhist shrines and is famed for the beauty of its elegant Newari architecture, which is on prominent display in the central Durbar Square, one of the Kathmandu Valley’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. The square is fronted by an amazing assortment of buildings and the ancient Royal Palace.

Explore the gracefully carved and ornamented chowks (courtyards) of the palace, as well as its temples, including the Krishna Mandir, the only temple in Nepal with 21 shrines and which is built entirely of stone.

Pharping

Pharping is a hidden gem of a traditional Newari town on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley, and is popular with both Tibetan and Hindu pilgrims. Visit Pharping's Buddhist monasteries, the Bajra Jogini, Sesh Narayan Temple and Padmina Sambhara cave.

Phulbari

Hike to Phulbari, where the village homes are made of adobe, with thatched roofs, and you’ll likely witness farmers going about their daily labors like tilling the soil and tending to cattle and livestock. Through your guide as interpreter, you will have the opportunity to interact with some of these farmers and learn about their lives in this rural area of the country.

Shivapuri National Park

Go hiking and bird watching in the reserved forest enclave of Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park in the Kathmandu Valley, the home of many flora and fauna including Indian leopard, Golden Jackal and Himalayan black bear.

Tibetan Cuisine

Sample the specialties of the local Tibetan population, including momos (savory dumplings filled with potatoes, vegetables or meat), thupka (a hearty noodle stew), and butter tea in one of the cafes nearby, with a view of the stupa and the kaleidoscopic whirl of activity surrounding it.

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TRAVELOGUES

Faces of Bhaktapur: Medieval Nepal Hidden in Plain Sight

Faces of Bhaktapur: Medieval Nepal Hidden in Plain Sight

Author : Ronan O'Connell
Just east of Kathmandu is an accessible gateway to Nepal in the Middle Ages: Bhaktapur. with culture, architecture, and roaring markets, this underrated Nepal destination is as unique as it is accessible.
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