Wednesday, 6 February 2019

My Nepal Trip Part 14 : Kathmandu's Top Attractions

Kathmandu's top attractions are mostly ancient religious sites. Listed below are the highlights of the four places I visited.

Swayambunath aka Monkey Temple
Swayambunath is an ancient temple complex that sits on a hill overlooking Kathmandu Valley. Enlisted a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Swayambunath is believed to have existed since 2500 years ago. Dominating this complex is a Buddhist Stupa surrounded by Hindu and Buddhist shrines and deities, temples and prayer wheels. It is an important pilgrimage site for both the Buddhists as well as the Hindus. There are two stairways leading to the site. The pilgrims' path is a long 365 steps stairway but the tourists' path is a much shorter and easier one. The site which escaped unscathed by the 2015 Nepal earthquake is swarmed by monkeys and dotted with many small stalls selling souvenirs and religious icons.

View Of Kathmandu Valley From Swayambunath

Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square is a historic complex that comprises, temples, a palace and courtyards. Located in the heart of Kathmandu City, this square which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site features ancient buildings and monuments of Newari architecture, mostly dating back to the 17th and 18th century and some even earlier.  The square was used for royal ceremonies up to 2001. Today it is used for official religious ceremonies including that of the Kathmandu Kumari (living goddess) whose residence is located within the square. It is a bustling place with many tourists and petty traders. The square was partially destroyed by the 1934 earthquake and once again by the 2015 earthquake. Restructuring work is ongoing.

 Ancient Board Game 

 'Holy Man' @ Kathmandu Durbar Square
Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex, which was the royal Nepalese residence until the 19th century and where important ceremonies, such as the coronation of the Nepalese monarch, took place.

The musical soldiers @ Kathmandu Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square is an ancient square with buildings and monuments that boast of intricate and beautiful carvings. The square comprises temples, shrines and an old palace which has been turned into a museum.  Built around the 12th century, Patan Durbar Square is one of the three ancients squares in the Kathmandu Valley that have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Much of the buildings in the square have been destroyed by the earthquakes of 1934 and 2015. Reconstruction work is in progress.

Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most imposing landmarks of Kathmandu. Measuring 36 meters high, it is the largest stupa in Nepal and one of the largest in South Asia. It was built around the 14th century and consists of a giant dome, on top of which sits a Buddhist pyramid tower. It is the centre of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. 
Surrounding the stupa is a ring road lined with shops, restaurants and monasteries. 

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