The valley today incorporates three major settlements,
each have their own distinctive character with outstanding
temples, works of art and architecture and a varied
calendar of feasts and festivals, all three have their
roots in being capital cities of the valleys three
principality's in times gone by. Between them they
boast the highest density of World Heritage Sites to
be found anywhere in the World, seven in total. There
are many other fascinating settlements in the valley
which offer their own reasons for being there.
The Capital and home to Nepal's only International Airport is a lively and
colorful place, although like so many capital cities in the developing
world it has begun to show signs of congestion over the
past few years, this hardly detracts from its mystery and celebration of life.
Ancient temples in a medieval atmosphere sit, somewhat strangely,in harmony
with the modern Kathmandu. From the busy tourist bazaar area in Thamel
with its restaurants, nightclubs,curio shops and Internet
cafes to the holy cremation site at Pashaputinath, Kathmandu, like the rest
of Nepal, is diversity itself.
Patan (The city of beauty) stands on the southern bank
of the holy river Bagamti (a tributary of the Ganges)
five kilometers southeast of Kathmandu. Nowadays, it
has virtually become part of sub metropolitan Kathmandu,
The pace of life here is more relaxed than its bigger
brother. The city is renowned for its wealth of Buddhist
and Hindu temples as well as having an abundance of fine
bronze gateways and wonderful carvings. Patan is also
known for its expert craftsmen and metal workers.
Is situated 14 km east of Kathmandu, it is the least
developed large settlement in the region. Bhaktapur,
(the city of devotees), is the most "laid
back" of the three valley towns. Its narrow brick
paved streets remain as intact as they were centuries
ago and harboring, it seems, hidden shrines and statues
around every corner. Many of Bhaktapur's practices have
changed little over time. It is quite easy to spend a
whole day here relaxing and taking in the atmosphere
of this ancient Newar town famous for its woodcarvings,
pottery and cloth weaving.
Some major sights of interest within
the valley include.
Kathmandu Dubar Square
Kathmandu's most impressive sight, Durbar Square, is
crowded with ancient temples and palaces reflecting
the religious and cultural life of the people. It is
also home to Kathmandu's Kumari, or 'living goddess',
a young girl believed to be a reincarnation of the goddess
Bouddhanath lies eight kms east of the centre of Kathmandu
in the heart of theTibetan/Sherpa district.It is one
of the largest Stupas in the World and the centre of
Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. It was listed by U.N.E.S.C.O.
as a World Heritage Site in1979. An early morning visit
around 5:30 is recommended, many Tibetan pilgrims visit
at this time.
This is one of the world's most famous Buddhist Chaityas,
it dates back over 2000 years.It is commonly refered
to as the 'monkey temple' because of its resident population
of apes. This spectacular Buddhist Stupa with its all
seeing eyes, sits on a hilltop 2 km from the center of
Kathmandu. The views of Kathmandu and the surrounding
valley are superb from here.
The ornate and fascinating Pashupatinath temple is situated
five kilometers east of Kathmandu on the banks of the
sacred Bagmati river which is a tributary to the Ganges,
the temple of Lord Shiva who in his manifestation of
Pashupatinath is both the creator and destroyer of life.
It is a famous Hindu pilgrimage site. The area along
the banks are lined with Ghats where the recently dead are
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
The main square of the City was devastated by an earthquake
in 1933 however it still contains many temples and
other architectural showpieces. The lion gate, the statue
of the King Bhupatindra Malla, the National Art Gallery
The palace of 55 Windows and the bell of the barking dogs
are among the many places are interest here.
Situated in the heart of the city, Patan Durbar Square
is a major focal point of a visit to here.The square
is full of ancient temples palaces and shrines noted
for their exquisite carvings. It also houses the Patan
museum which has many fine examples of Nepal's ancient culture.
Kirtipur is situated 10 kms south west of Kathmandu.
Less frequented by tourists this ancient Newar township
is a natural fortress with a proud and courageous history.
The Chilmahu Stupa and the temple of Bagh Bhairab are
two major sights here. Kirtipur offers medieval narrow
streets lined with artistic houses and temple squares.
The people are known for their skill in building and weaving.