The Valley consists of three main cities of great historic and cultural interest Kathmandu, Lalitpur (Patan) and Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon). Situated at an altitude of 1336 meter above the sea level, the Kathmandu Valley covers an area of 218 sq. miles. The major tourist attractions in Kathmandu include:
Kathmandu is the capital of the Kingdom of Nepal. The city is at 1336 m above sea level. The valley covers an area of 218 square miles. It is surrounded by a tier of green mountain wall above, which tower mighty snow - capped peaks. The Kathmandu valley hosts three districts, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur (Patan) and Kathmandu, famous for their historic, artistic and cultural aspects. These three districts were part of different empires in the period of the Mallas (1200AD), great rulers of the area. The Kathmandu valley hosts seven World Heritage Sites declared by the UNESCO in Nepal. The valley is famous for the scenery, beautiful countryside, ethnic clans, monasteries and thousands of temples. The city is also called the city of temples.
Kathmandu Durbar Square: It is the historic seat of royalty. The Durbar square, with its old temples and places, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of people. It is here that kings of Nepal are crowed and their coronations solemnized. Interesting things to see her are Taleju Temple built by Mahendra Mall in 1549 AD, the temple of Kal Bhairav, the god of destruction, Nautalle Durbar, Coronation Nasal Chowk, the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of King Pratap Mall, the Big Drum, the Jagannath temple and Kasthmandap. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument list in 1979 AD.
Goddess Kumari (the only living goddess in the world): Kumari (Vestal Virgin) or the only living Goddes in the world, who represents a very ancient Hindu deity of Nepal locally known as Taleju, is Buddhist by birth, The temple Kumari is situated in the vicinity of Hanuman Dhoka Palace. The building has intricately carved wooden balconies and window screens. The Kumari acknowledges greetings from her balcony window. Once a year during Indra Jatra festival the king of Nepal seeks the Kumari's blessing.
Machchhendranath Temple: The temple of Sweta Machchhendranath is situated at Machchhendra Bahal between Indra Chowk and Asan. It is a pagoda of considerable artistic beauty. Also called as Janmadyo or Machchhendra the deity.
Akash Bhairav Temple: A three-storey temple in the main market avenue, called Indra Chowk, the image of Akash Bhairav is displayed outside for a week during Indra Jatra, the festival of Indra - the God of Rain.
Kasthamandap : Located near the temple of Kumari, it is said to have been built by King Laxmi Narsingha Malla in the beginning of the sixteenth century. It is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree. The city of Kathmandu derives its name from this temple.
Ashok Vinayak : The small but a very important temple of Ashok Vinayak is situated behind the Kasthamandap -also known as Kathmandu Ganesh or Maru Ganesh. Jaishi Dewal : Five minutes from Kasthmandap the Shiva Temple of Jaishi Dewal is famous for its erotic carvings. It is still one of the main routes of the chariot festival of Indra Jatra, Gai Jatra and other festivals.
Tundikhel : A huge greenfield, flanks one entire side of the old city Tundikhei. Some of the important landmarks of Kathmandu valley are located in the periphery of this area. At the south western end of Tundikhel is a 59.29m. Tower built by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa in 1832 A.D. known as Dharahara (or Bhimsen Stambha). Sundhara-fountains with golden waterspouts is situated at the foot of this great tower also belonging to the same period.
Martyr's Memorial (Sahid) Gate : It is located between Bhimsen Stambha and Bhadrakali temple. The memorial arch contains the statue of the late King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah and the busts of four martyrs.
Bhadrakali Temple : As the eastern edge of the Tundikhel, near Shahid Gate stands the temple of Goddess Bhadrakali. This temple is also known as Lumarhi Temple and is one of the main "Shakta" temples of Kathmandu city.
Singha Durbar : A grand imposing palace built on the neo-classical style. Singha Durbar was the private residence of Rana Prime Ministers. Now it is the Secretariat of His Majesty's Government of Nepal.
Narayanhity Durbar : It is the present Royal Palace. A famous historic water spout called Narayanhity, is situated at the southern corner of the Palace.
Kaisar Libreary : Located inside the premises of Ministry of Education, Kaisar library is a great centre of rare and valuable books and manuscripts. It is open for the public except Saturdays and other government holidays.
National Museum: Two and half kilometers west of Kathmandu, the National Museum has a splendid collection of weapons, artifacts from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal. Its archaeological and historical displays are worth seeing. The museum is open everyday except Tuesday and government holidays.
Natural History Museum: Situated three kilometers west of Kathmandu city behind the famous Swayambhunath hillock this museum has a unique collection of butterflies, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, plants and a variety of fossils collected within the country. Photography inside the museum is prohibited
Pashupati NathTemple: Situated 5 km. east of kathmandu, the temple of Lord Shiva,Pashupati Nath, with tow tiered golden roof and silver door is considered one of the holiest shrines for Hindus,although only Hindus are allowed inside temple, visitors can clearly see the temple and the activities performed in the temple premises from the eastern bank of the Bagmati river. The temple was listed in the UNESCO World heritage Monument list in 1979 AD.
Guheswari Temple : Near Pashupatinath is located another historic and holy temple of Guheswari. Only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple courtyard.
Chabahil : The lovely Stupa of Chabahil is believed to have been built by Charumati, the daughter of the Indian Emperor Ashoka, in the third century B.C. There are ancient statues around the Stupa.
Chandra Vinayak : The temple of Chandra Vinayak is situated about 200m. north of Chabahil Stupa. This double tiered brass roofed temple houses a tiny image of Lord Ganesh, the elephant -headed god.
Boudha Nath Stupa: The stupa lies 8 km. east of Kathmandu. This ancient colossal Stupa is one of the biggest in world, and the center of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. It was listed in the UNESCO World heritage Monument list in 1979 AD.
Budhanilkantha Temple (Sleeping Vishnu): About 8 km. north of Kathmandu, at the base of Shivapuri hill is a remarkable colossal statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of snakes. This is one of the masterpieces of stone sculptures of Lichchhavi period. This fifth century statue is in the middle of pond and seems top.
Balaju Water Garden: Situated about 5 km. north-east of Kathmandu, this garden features fountains with 22 crocodiles-headed water spouts dating from eighteenth century. There is also a large swimming pool inside the park.
Swoyambhu Nath Stupa:, This is one of the world's most glorious Buddhist Chaityas. It is said to be about 2000 years old. Painted four sides of spire's base are the all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. It is 3 km. west of Kathmanfu city aqnd situated on a hillock about 77 m. above sea level of Kathmandu Valley and hence commands an excellent view of the valley. This stupa is the oldest of its kind in Nepal. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument list in 1979 AD.
Gokarna : This lovely Royal Game Sanctuary, also known as Gokarna Safari Park, lies about ten kilometers north-east of Kathmandu. Many wild animals such as spotted deer can be viewed in the sanctuary from an elephant back. On the northern side of Gokarna, is a pagoda of Gokarneshwor Mahadev.
Sankhu: It is a typical Newari town, with many fine old buildings and temples. Beyond the village, up a long flight of stone stairs, is Bajra Jogini, a historical temple with a beautiful view of the local area.
Sundarijal: It is famous for its scenic beauty.There are magnificent waterfalls, cataracts and rock formations. It is an ideal place for picnic requiring a short walk after the motorable road.
Kirtipur: It is a small town, eight kilometers south-west 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 offer like old shrines and temples, old houses, the people typically dressed in old traditional costumes, people working on ancient loom etc.
Chobhar: Situated nine kilometers South-west of Kathmandu, this place is famous for its gorge. All the water of the valley drain through it. There is a small but pictuesque temple of Adinath on the top of a hill. From this top one can have a panoramic view of snow capped mountain peaks.
Shekha Narayan : Situated between Chobhar and Dakshinkali the temple of Shekha Narayan represents one of the four Narayans of the Kathmandu Valley. The other three Narayans are Changu Narayan of Bhaktapur, Visankhu Narayan of Patan and Ichangu Narayan of Kathmandu.
Dakshinkali: The temple of Dakshinkali is situated about two kilometers south of Shekha Narayan. Dakshinkali is regarded as one of most important Hindu goddesses. Pilgrims visit this temple to offer their prayer and animal sacrifices to the goddess. Besides, this place has been developed as a popular picnic spot.
Patan: patan is an ancient city on the southern bank of the river Bagmati and is about five km. southeast of Kathmandu. It is also known as the city of artists. The city is famous for the monuments, temples, gateways and wonderful carvings.
Patan Durbar Square situated in the heart of the city, constitutes the focus of visitors' attraction. The Durbar Square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisite carvings. The Patan Durbar Square consists of three main chowks or courtyards, the central Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Kesar Narayan Chowk. The Sundari Chowk holds in its center a masterpieces of stone architecture, the Royal Bath called Tushahity. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument list in 1979 AD.
Krishna Temple: Built in 1637 AD. the temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in the palace complex of Patan. It is supposed to be the first specimen of Shikhara style architecture in Nepal. It is the only temple in Nepal having 21 spires and is completely made by stone.
Mahaboudha : A litle further east from Patan Durbar Square lies this Buddhist temple made of clay bricks in which thousands of images of Lord Buddha engraved. The terra-cotta structure is one of the fourteenth century Nepalese architectural masterpieces.
Hiranya Verna Mahavihar : Located inside kwabadehal, this three storey golden pagoda of Lokeshwor (Lord Buddha) was built in the twelfth century by king Bhaskar Verma. Inside the upper storey of the pagoda, are the golden image of Lord Buddha and a large prayer wheel.
Kumbheshwor : This fine tiered temple of Lord Shiva was built during the reign of King Jayasthiti Malla. A fair is held here on the Janai Poornima day in August.
Jagatnarayan Temple : Situated at Sankhmul, this tall, imposing temple of Lord Vishnu. The temple has many fine images of stone and an artistic metal statue of Garuda on a stone pillar.
Rudra Varna Mahavihar : This unique Buddhist monastery contains fine and amazing collection of images and statues in metal, stone and wood. It is believed that the Kings in the ancient times were crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by the devotees can be seen here even today.
The Ashokan Stupas : There are four ancient stupas popularly believed to have been built in 250 B.C. by Emperor Ashoka at the four corners of Patan. The four stupas are situated in Pulchowk, Lagankhel, Ebahi and in Teta (way to Sano Gaon) respectively. These stupas give evidence to the city's ancient religious importance.
Acchheswor Mahavihar : It was established towards the beginning of the seventeenth century by one Acchheshwor by building a temple to house an idol of Lord Buddha. The Mahavihar has recently been reconstructed. Situated behind the Ashokan Stupa at Pulchowk, the Mahavihar commands a beautiful view of The Kathmandu Valley.
Temple of Machhendranath and Minnath : The pagoda of Red Machhendranath built in 1408 A.D. is situated in Tabahal. For six months the deity is taken to its other shrine in Bungmati. The temple of Minnath is situated in Tangal on the way to Tabahal.
The Zoo : Situated at Jawalakhel, the zoo has many animals,birds and reptiles in its collections mostly representing the Himalayan fauna. There is a beautiful pond built in 17th A. D.
Patan Industrial Estate : Patan Industrial Estate is situated at Lagankhel in Lalitpur (Patan) near Sat Dobato. This Industrial Estate is well known for Nepali handicrafts such as wood carvings, metal crafts, carpets and thangka paintings. For The convenience of The tourists there is a shopping arcade where all the handicraft products of the Estate are exhibited in the shopping arcade.
Bajra Barahi : Situated in a small woodland park, it is about ten kilometers south of Patan near the village of Chapagaon. A visit to Tika Bhairav and Lele from here is worthwhile.
Godavari : Situated at the foothills of Phulchowki, Royal Botanical Garden has a splendid natural beauty. The road from Patan city runs to Godavari to The soutlh-east, passing through the small, old towns of Harisiddhi, Thaiba and Badegaun. It is the only in Nepal, is open daily including Saturdays and government holidays.
Phulchowki : Located around ten kilometers southeast of Patan, this mountain, 2758 m. high, is a good spot for hiking. A Buddhist shrine is situated on the top of the hill which can be reached through a jeep able road.
Bhaktapur is also known as Bhadgaon and was founded in 889 AD. by Kind Anand Dev. Situated at an altitude 1401m. It covers an area of four square miles and is flanked by Khasa Khusung and Hanumante Rivers. Bhaktapur means " The city of Devotees" in the Sanskrit language.The city lies 14 km. east of Kathmandu and can be reached by public transport and trolley buses.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square: The Golden gate is the entrance to the main courtyard of the palace of 55 windows built by king Ranjit Mall, the gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters with marvelous inttricacy. The palace of 55 windows was built in 1700 AD. Among the bricks walls in their gracious setting and sculptural design is a balcony of 55 windows. This balcony is a masterpiece of wood carving. The stone temple of Batsala Devi, which is also located in the Durbar square is full of intricate carvings. This temple also sets a beautiful example of Shikhar style architecture in Nepal. There is bronze bell in the terrace of the temple, which is also known as the "Bell Barking Dogs". This colossal bell placed in 1737 AD. was rung to signal curfew during those days. The main square of city contains innumerable temples and other architectural showpieces like Lion Gat, the statue of Bhupatindra Mall, the picture Gallery, the Batsala temple etc. A magnificent statue of King Bhupatindra Mall in the act of worship is placed on a column facing the palace.It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument list in 1979 AD.
The National Art Gallery : Contains ancient and medieval paintings belonging to Hindu and Buddhist schools depicting Tantrism of various periods and descriptions.
The Golden Gate : is the entrance to the main countyard of the Palace of 55 windows. Built King Ranjit Malla, the Gate is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world. This gate is embellished with deities and monsters of marvellous intricacy.
The Palace of 55 Windows : was built in the seventeenth century by King Bhupatindra Malla. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony of 55 windows. This balcony is a masterpieace of wood carving.
The Stone Temple of Batsala Devi : which is also located in the Durbar square is full of intricate carvings. This temple also sets a beautiful example of Shikhara style of architecture in Nepal. There is a bronze bell on the terrace of the temple which is also known as the "bell of barking dogs". This colossal bell, placed in 1737 A.D. was used to sound curfew during that time.
Nyatapola Temple : This five-storey pagoda was built in 1702 A.D. by King Bhupatindra Malla. It stands on a five-terraced platform. On each of the terraces squat a pair of figures; two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins and Baghini and Singini the tiger and the lion goddesses. This is one of the tallest pagodas and is famous for its massive structureand subtle workmanship.
Bhairavnath Temple : This temple was first built as a one-storey pagoda but later chaned into a three-storey temple in 1718 A.D. by king Bhupatindra Malla. The temple is noted for its artistic grandeur. It is dedicated to Lord Bhairav the god of Terror.
Dattatraya Temple : Built in 1427 A.D. this temple is said to have been built from trunk of a single tree. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock windows.
Surya Vinayak : Situated in a beautiful surrounding of Bhadgaon, the temple of Ganesh is placed in a Sylvan setting to catch the first rays of the rising sun. It is a good picnic spot flanked by many attractive landscapes.
Changu Narayan : Situated at the end of a long ridge which runs well into the Valley, it is said to have been built by King Hari Dutta in 323 A.D. and said to be the oldest temple in the Valley.
Nagarkot : Nagarkot is a popular tourist resort of Nepal. It is situated 32 kilometres east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2,175 m. above the sealevel. The panorama of the major peaks of eastern Nepal Himalayas including Sagarmatha ( Mt. Everest ) can be seen from here.