The Kathmandu city, the political, commercial, cultural hub of Nepal, is famed for its natural beauty and history, holistically palaces. Once a separate kingdom in itself, it contains three fabled cities, Kathmandu, Patan & Bhaktapur. Each is an artistic exposition of graceful temples, elegant palaces, brick paved courtyards and quaint streets. As a whole, the valley is surrounded by tier upon tier of green mountain walls, above which tower mighty snow capped peaks. The valley is rich in places of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhists. Both of their deities are well side by both Tantric symbolism and ancient animistic beliefs. A very old Hindu text has described the Kathmandu valley as the land of gods, surrounded by beautiful mountains. It is said that there were as many temples as there were houses and many idols as there were people. In fact, Kathmandu boasts, one of the largest congregations of magnificent historical monuments and shrines ever built. Here are some monuments well to visit.
Kathmandu Durbar Square; duly recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO, this particular area best known as Kathmandu Durbar Square lies in the heart of this city. The locals know this area by the old name "Hanuman Dhoka" Palace Square, an ancient seat of the Nepalese Royalty.
Swayambhunath Stupa; Three kilometres west of Thamel complex locates a world almost glorious Buddhist Stupa, Swayambhunath stupa is said to be 2000 years old. Visitors often call it "Monkey Temple". The main structure, brick and clay has supported a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. There are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha on the four sides of the spire. Being situated seventy meter above the level of the valley, the hill of Swayambhunath is a mosaic of small stupa and pagoda temples. Aside, in front of the Swayambhunath Temple, one of the famous goddesses with the shrine of Ajima called "Harati Mata" is there. The Harte Mata temple of goddess believes to be famous in the way of Tantric. Both, the Stupa of Lord Buddha and the temple of a goddess are surrounded by other temples and Tibetan monasteries. Being located in the top level of the valley, this place is famous for visitors for a sightseeing tour.
Pashupatinath Temple; Pashupatinath temple being the temple of Lord Shiva; it has two-storied golden roof and silver doors and is famous for superb architecture. Pashupatinath temple is situated 5 kilometres east of Kathmandu heart, on the banks of sacred Bagmati River. Pashupatinath is a center of annual pilgrimage. From time immemorial, the Pasupatinath area has contained numerous temples, stupas, monasteries, images and inscriptions. Pashupatinath area is not only a pilgrimage site for the Hindus, and it is also an important cultural treasury of the whole world. Only Hindus are permitted to enter from the main gate to Pashupatinath Temple.
Bouddhanath Stupa; One of the oldest and the biggest Buddhist monuments ever built in Nepal. Boudhanath is an imposing structure, standing some 36 meters. Buddha nath Stupa stands on the massive three level Mandala style platforms surrounded by colourful private family houses. The basic feature of Buddha Nath great Stupa is the same like Swayambhunath stupa, except it is a final display. It is much bigger than Swayambhunath Stupa and lies on the valley floor where its former stands on the hilltop. Boudhanath stupa is said to have been built in the 5th century AD.
Budhanilkantha Temple; Located here is a Deity of Lord Vishnu, Vishnu (Narayan) Jalasayana, lying on Ananta Sesa, in the cosmic ocean. The Deity is over 1,000 years old. Lord Vishnu is about 5 m (17 ft) long and is lying in a 13m (43 ft) long tank, as if floating, with His legs crossed. His four hands hold the four symbols of Vishnu: the Chakra (disc), club, and conch-shell and lotus flower. Budhanilkantha means “old blue-throat”. Ananta has 11-hooded heads. It is believed that the deity was carved in the 7th or 8th century during the Licchavi period. Hindus may walk down the steps and touch His feet, but foreigners cannot.
Balaju Water Garden; Situated five kilometres northeast of Kathmandu, Balaju Water Garden is an ideal place for rest and relaxation. Balaju Park features a long line of twenty-two stone water spouts from the mid-eighteenth century, each of which is ornately carved with crocodile heads. The Balaju Water garden also includes many other ponds, some of them containing large and small varieties of fish. Adjoining the garden is an Olympic-size swimming pool open to the public.
Kirtipur; is a small town, eight kilometres southwest of Kathmandu, on the top of a hill. Tribhuvan University is located at the foot of the hill. This historic town has many things to see such as old shrines and temples, old houses, and people dressed in traditional costume although working on ancient looms.
Chobhar; is situated nine kilometres southwest of Kathmandu. This place is famous for its gorge. All the waters of the Valley drain through it. Legends say that the god Manjushree cut the gorge to drain out Kathmandu Valley that was then a lake. There is a small but picturesque temple of Adinath on the top of a hill. From this point, one has a complete view of snow-capped mountain peaks. Just beyond the Chobhar Gorge. There is the 17th-century temple of Jal Vinayak. The main image of the temple is on a massive rock. The image at Jal Binayak is different from other images of Lord Ganesh.
Dakshinkali; the temple of Dakshinkali is situated about 22 kilometres south of Kathmandu. Dakshinkali is an important place of pilgrimage, drawing over 400,000 pilgrims a year. Pilgrim visits this temple to offer prayers and animal sacrifices to the Goddess Kali. Apart from the religious aspects, the side has also been developed as a popular picnic spot.