Kathmandu is the capital and largest city of Nepal. It is situated in a valley that descends from the Himalayas and runs to the flat plains of the Terai in the south of the country.
Things to Discover:
Boudhanath (also called Boudha, Bodhnath) is one of the world’s largest stupas and the largest stupa in Nepal. Located in the outskirts of Kathmandu, the site’s first stupa is thought to have been built at around 600 AD when the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo, was converted to Buddhism by his two wives.
The components of the stupa symbolise the elements:
Earth: The four-tiered base of the stupa takes the shape of a mandala
Water: The dome
Fire: The spire
Air: The umbrella
Ether: The pinnacle
Boudhanath is located on an ancient Tibetan trade route and merchants used to rest and give prayer when entering Kathmandu. During the 1950s, many Tibetan refugees chose to live around Boudhanath.
Pilgrims and tourists circumambulate (walk clockwise around) the stupa: a lap is about 150 metres. There are a lot of handicraft stores around the stupa to take home your own little piece of Boudhanath too.
ADMISSION: 200 rupees
Kathmandu Durbar Square is the plaza in front of the old royal palace of the then Kathmandu Kingdom (durbar means ‘palace’ in Nepali). There are three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Also known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square (after the monkey god Hanuman), the 16th century plaza hold the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city and reveals many temples built in the traditional Newar, Pagoda style.
ADMISSION: 750 rupees
Pashupatinath Temple is considered one of the holiest shrines of all the Hindu temples. Situated about six kilometres north-east of the Kathmandu Valley, on the banks of the Bagmati River, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Throughout the temple precinct you will find an abundance of temples, ashrams, sadhus (holy men), images and inscriptions that have generated over centuries.
The importance and holiness of the site lies in the fact that the Bagmati River flows to eventually meet the Ganges River in India. It is a common place for Hindu cremations to occur and Kirants are buried in the hills by the side of the river.
ADMISSION: 1000 rupees
PILGRIM’S BOOK HOUSE
Pilgrim’s Book House is must for any traveller to Kathmandu. Located in Thamel, just next to Kathmandu Guest House, it has 30 rooms of new, old and rare books and specializing in books on Nepal, Tibet, India, China, Central and South Asia.
Pilgrim’s Book House also holds regular events and has a garden restaurant and bar attached which serves aruyvedic vegetarian food.
Swayambhunath is one of the oldest religious sites site in Nepal with the stupa said to have been built around 250 BC. Located about 3km west of the centre of Kathmandu, there are two ways to access the stupa: from the east which provides a relative shortcut, or from the west where you walk up about 360 stairs and have your breath taken away by the fabulous view of the Kathmandu Valley at the top.
Also known as Monkey Temple, you will be welcomed by the holy monkeys that run around the grounds of the temple.
ADMISSION: 200 rupees