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Place to See in Nepal
About Nepal

Hanuman Dhoka :-
Probably the most interesting part of Kathmandu is the ancient Hanuman Dhoka Palace and temple complex in the middle of the old city. Built during the Malla period, the area consists of a number of different monuments, the most outstanding of which are as follows:

The image of Hanuman- Standing to the left of the main entrace to the Hanuman Dhoka Palace is an image of Hanuman, the Hindu god who is always depicted in the form of a monkey. The Mallas placed this image of Hanuman at their palace gate both to protect the palace and to bring them victory in war. Theimage is made of stone, but each year is coated with a layer of red pigment made by mixing oil and vermillion powder. Over the years these repeated layers of pigment have distorted the face almost beyond recognition. The idol is always clothed in red, and is further honoured by the golden umbrella placed over its head. This particular image, and also the smaller one just beyond it , were erected in 1672 by King Pratap Malla.

Kumari Chowk :-
Built in 1757 by King Jaya Prakash Malla (1746-68), Kumari Chowk is the home of the ‘Kumari’ or living goddess who is considered to be an incarnation of the goddess Taleju. The Kumari Chowk is a three-storeyed quadrangle lavishly decorated with fine woodcarving. It is the third storey of the building that is especially attractive with its fine bay windows, in which the Kumari appears from time to time in the company of her guardian priestess to see and be seen by her admirers.

Kasta Mandap :-
Known locally as Maru Sattal, this huge, open temple has a long history. Popular legend about this is that during King Laxmi Narsingh’s time Kalpa Briksha came to see the chariot festival of Machchhendranath, where he was recognized by one of the priest of Machchhendranath, The priest seized him and refused to release him until he promised to give a tree from whose wood a rest house could be built. Kalpa Briksha made the promise, and so he was released. Four days later, a huge sal tree was delivered. With the King’s permission, the Kastha Mandap was built from the wood of this single tree; Kathmandu has derived its name from Kastha Mandap.

The Image of Kala Bhairab :-
This huge stone image of Bhairab represents Shiva in his destructive manifestation, hence its terrifying expression and the symbols of death and destruction. It is undated, but was set in its present location by Pratap Malla after it was found in a field north of the city. The image is a single stone, though the portion on the upper right hand side was damaged and repaired by adding another stone. The sun and moon to the left and right, and the heads of lions in the upper portion also seem to have been later additions. Such large images made of a single block of stone are very rare in Nepal.

Apart form the Hanuman Dhoka Palace and temple complex and other monuments in the surrounding vicinity, some other places worthy of mention are:

Sightseeing in Bhaktapur, or Bhadgaon :-
The city is also known, is a museum of medieval art and architecture with many fine examples of sculpture, woodcarving and colossal pagoda consecrated to different gods and goddesses. The city is shaped like a conch shell, one of the emblems of the god Visnu, and was founded by King Ananda Deva in 889 A.D. The altitude of the city is 1,402 meters above sea level. Pottery and weaving are its major traditional industries. The city lies fifteen kilometers to the east of Kathmandu, and is linked by a highway. Some of Bhaktapur’s important sightseeing places are as follows:

Siddha Pokhari :-
This is a big rectangular water tank located near the main city gate. It was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla in the early fifteenth century and is associated with a number of different myths. From this spot a wide range of snowy peaks are visible on clear days.

Bhaktapur Durbar Spuare :-
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and Shikhara-style temples grouped around a fifty-five-window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the Valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal. The golden effigies of the kings perched on the top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the woodcarvings in every place – struts, lintels, uprights, tympanums, gateways and windows all seem to form a well-orchestrated symphony. The main items of interest in the Durbar Square are:

The Lion Gate :-
Dating as far back as 1696 A.D., this gate is guarded on either side by two huge statues of lions. Alongside there are two stone are two stone images of Bhairab (the dreadful aspect of Shiva) and Ugarchandi (the consort of Shiva in his fearful manifestation).

The Golden Gate :-
The Golden Gate is said to be the most beautiful and richly moulded specimen of its kind in the entire world. The door is surmounted by a figure of the goddess Kali and Garuda (mythical man - bird) and attended by two heavenly nymphs. It is also embellished with monsters and other mythical creatures of marvelous intricacy. In the words of Percy Brown, an eminent English art critic and historian, the Golden Gate is 'the most lovely piece of art in the whole Kingdom; it is placed like a jewel, flashing innumerable facets in the handsome setting of its surroundings. The gate was erected by King Ranjit Malla and is the entrance to the main courtyard of the palace of fifty-five windows.

The Palace of Fifty-five Windows :-
This magnificent palace was built during the reign of King Yaksha Malla in 1427 A.D., and was subsequently remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century. Among the brick walls, with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony of fifty-five windows, considered to be a unique masterpiece of woodcarving.

Nyatapola Temple :-
This five-storeyed pagoda was built by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1702 A.D. It stands on five terraces, on each of which squat a pair of figures: two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins, and Baghini and Singhini-the tiger and the lion goddesses. Each pair of figures is considered ten times stronger than the ones immediately below, while the lowest pair, the two strong men Jaya Malla and Phatta Malla, were reputedly ten times stronger than any other men. This is one of the tallest pagoda-style temples in Kathmandu Valley and is famous for its massive structure and subtle workmanship.

Just beside temple is a monastery (Math) with exquisitely carved peacock windows. These famous were also carved during the reign of King Vishwa Malla. The monastery is full of artistic accedes of latticed windows and engraved columns.

Dattatraya Temple :-
The temple of Dattatraya is as old as the palace of fifty-five windows. Consecrated by King Yakshya Malla in 1427 A.D., this temple, according to popular belief, was built out of the trunk of a single tree. It was subsequently repaired and renovated by King Vishwa Malla in 1458 A.D.

Sightseeing in Patan :
The ancient name of Patan is Lalitpur, meaning city of beauty. It is indeed a city of beauty and grace and is planned on a circular format with Buddhist Stupas at each of the four points of the compass. The city is three kilometers south east of Kathmandu across the southern bank of the river Bagmati. Like Kathmandu, its most photogenic center of attraction is its Durbar Square complex, situated right in the middle of the market place. The city is full of Buddhist monuments and Hindu temples, with fine bronze gateways, guardian deities also and wonderful carvings. Noted for its craftsmen and metal workers, it is also known as the city of artists. The city is believed to have been monuments are as follows:

Patan Durbar Square :-
This whole square is a cluster of fine pagoda temples and stone statues, it is at the same time the business hub of the city. At every step, one comes across a piece of art or some images of various deities, testifying to the consummate skill of Patan's anonymous artists. The ancient palace of the Malla Kings and the stone water baths associated with various legends and episodes of history are especially interesting to visitors. The stone temple of Lord Krishna and the Royal Bath (Tushahity) with its intricate stone and bronze carvings are two other masterpieces in the same vicinity.

Hiranya Varna Mahavibar :-
This three-storeyed golden pagoda of Lokeshwar (Lord Buddha) was built in the twelfth century A.D. by King Bhaskar Varma. Located in the courtyard of Kwabahal, this temple belongs to a class of its own. A golden image of Lord Buddha and a big prayer wheel can be seen on the pedestal of the upper part of the Vihar while intricate decorative patterns, worked out on its outer walls, add charm to the mellow richness of the shrine.

Kumbheshwar :-
This is a five-storeyed pagoda -style temple of Lord Shiva. Inside the courtyard is a natural spring having its source, it is said, in the famous glacial lake of Gosaindunda. This temple was built by King Jayasthiti Malla while the golden finial was added later in 1422 A. D. He also cleaned the pond near Kumbheshwar and installed various images of Narayan , Ganesh, Sitala, Basuki, Gauri, Kirtimukh and Agamadevata around the pond and in the courtyard. Ritual bathing takes place hare every year on the day of Janai Poornima.

Krishna Temple :-
The temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in Patan's palace complex. Though its style is not wholly native, it is reckoned to be one of the most perfect specimens of the Nepalese Templecraft. The three-storeyed stone temple continues to elicit high praise from lovers of art and beauty. It was built by King Siddhi Narasingha Malla in the sixteenth century A.D. Most of the important scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics have been carved in bas-relief. The minute details of this relief work clearly show the high level that the art of stone carving had attained in the sixteenth century.

Sightseeing in Pokhara :
Pokhara valley occupies the central location in Nepal and is dominated by the peaks of Annapurna range. Its unique setting may be judged from the fact that the town of Pokhara (913 metres), is only fifty kilometres from Annapurna 1 (8,091 metres), clearly seen from the valley. There is a decline of six thousand metres in altitude within a short distance of only twenty-nine kilometers, thus, the region provides a dramatic contrast in landscape. The northern horizon is defined by a seventy kilometres long wall of snow and ice with numerous peaks. The prominent peaks from east to west are Annapurna South (7,219 metres), Fang (7,647 metres), Annapurna 1st (8,091 metres), Rock Noir (7,454 metres), Glacier Dome (7,193 metres),Gangapurna (7,455 metres),Annapurna 3rd (7,555 metres), Machhapuchhre) (6,997 metres), Annapurna IV (7,525 metres), Annapurna 2nd (7,937 metres) and Lamjung Himal (6,983 metres). In addition to these, Dhaulagiri to the north-west and Manaslu-Himalchuli peaks to the north-east are also visible.

Lakes :-
Pokhara valley abounds in lakes. Phewa, Rupa and Begnas are the most famous ones while Khaste, Dipang and Mardi are some other smaller lakes situated further away.Sporting activities like canoeing and swimming are conducted on Phewa lake, together with angling of carp fish. On a small island is a temple dedicated to Varahi, and in contrast to the gaiety of holiday makers, devotees go about their worship undisturbed by the goings-on in the water as well as occasional barbeques on the banks of the lake. Apart from the lakes, the floor of the valley is make up of a layer of gravel, cut into intricate and deep canyons by various tributaries of the Seti River.

People : -
Similar to the contrast between the level plain and the rugged hills, there are sizeable variations in the cultural pattern of the area. The tropical plain and low hills are the home mainly of Newars, Brahmins, Chhetris and other Hindu castes, while the temperate highlands are mainly inhabited by tribal Gurungs and Magars. Above the highest villages at 1,900 metres, there are extensive temperate forests with alpine pastures further beyond.

There are also two Tibetan Settlements near Pokhara where one can see women weaving exquisite carpets using traditional designs and methods handed down to them for generations. Both these settlements are famous for traditional Tibetan Handicrafts and souvenirs.

Pokhara is full of interesting places to visit such as the Seti River Gorge which flows some ninety-one metres below ground level, Devis's Fall called Patale Chhango in Nepai where the cascading water vanishes underground, and Mahendra Cave where one can see stalactite and Stalagmite formations.

Lumbini ( Birth Place of Lord Buddha ) : -
In the plain south of the first foothill of the Churia range, lies Lumbini, birthplace of Gautam, the Buddha. Lumbini is a sacred place for Buddhists from all over the world, standing on an equal footing with holy places sacred to other world religions. A veteran Asian traveller and author of several books writes, 'As millions of Christians look to Jerusalem for inspiration, as millions of Muslims turn to Mecca, so do three hundred million Buddhists in the sacred Kingdom of Nepal, Lumbini. There is a Pillar left by the great Emperor Ashoka to mark site where Buddha was born.

Ashokan Pillar :-
In 1895, a German archaeologist, while wandering about the foothills of the Chuira range, discovered a massive stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka in 250 B.C. to pay homage to the Birth place of Buddha. It is said that the Indian Emperor visited Lumbini Garden in the twentieth year of his coronation.

The stone pillar bears the following inscription :-
King Piyadasi, beloved of the gods, having been anointed twenty years, came himself and worshipped saying: " Here Buddha Sakyamuni was born. He caused a stone pillar to be erected, because the worshipful one was born here. The Village of Lumbini has been made free of taxes and a recipient of wealth. " (Translated from Brahmi).

The Temple of Maya Devi :-
The next visible monument in Lumbini is the temple of Maya Devi containing a stone relief depicting the birth scene of Lord Buddha. The bas-relief shows Maya Devi supporting herself by holding on to a branch of a Sal tree, and the newborn infant Buddha standing upright on a lotus pedestal. Two celestial figures are engaged in the act of pouring water and lotuses from the heaven, indicated in the sculpture by a delineation of clouds. The Maya Devi shrine has been worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists since the beginning of the Christian era and is believed to have been built over the foundation of at least one earlier temple or stupa.

To the South of the Maya Devi Temple is the famous sacred pool of 'Pusharani', believed to be the same sacred pool in which queen Maya Devi bathed just before giving birth to Buddha. It is also believed to be the pool where the infant Buddha was given his first purification bath. The structure consists of three projecting terraces in descending order and is rivetted with fine brick masonry.

Muktinath :
The famous temple of Lord Muktinath lies in the district of Mustang and is situated about 18-km northeast of Jomsom at an altitude of about 3,749 m. The temple is situated on a high mountain range and is visited during fair weather. There are two ways to go to Muktinath from Kathmandu . Either takes a direct flight from Kathmandu via Pokhara to Jomsom and hike for a couple of hours via Kagbeni or to trek all the way from Pokhara.

Gorkha :
Gorkha is the birthplace of King Prithvi Narayan Shah the great, the founder of modern Nepal. Situated on a hill overlooking the snowy peaks of the Himalaya is a beautiful old palace known as Gorkha Durbar. There are two attractive Temples of Gorakhnath and Kali inside the palace precinct. Gorkha can be reached in about six hours by road from Kathmandu and four hours from Pokhara. A side trip Manakamana Temple on the way to Gorkha is every enjoyable and interesting.

Daman :
For those seeking the ultimate pan-Himalayan view, Daman is the place to go. Located 80-km southwest of the Kathmandu Valley, Daman (2,400 m) offers the only unimpeded view of the entire Himalayan range. Daman is located on the Tribhuvan Highway in between Kathmandu and the town of Birgunj. There is a view toward fitted with long range telescopes. Daman can be reached in four hours from Kathmandu.

Janakpur :
A great religious place, Janakpur is famous as the birthplace of Sita, the consort of Lord Ram. There is an artistic marble temple of Sita (Janaki), popularly known as Naulakha Mandir. Religious festivals, trade fairs and other festivals are held here on Bivaha Panchami and Ram Navami. Janakpur is also linked with Kathmandu by air and road 375km.

Bandipur :
Located on a 1000 m ridge in Tanahu district some 140 km from Kathmandu, Bandhipur's hallmark is its beautiful scenery, At the eastern part of the town is the pagoda-roofed Bindabasini temple which houses goddess Durga, Bandipur's guardian deity. The rich wooden carvings and detailed brass -work that adorned the temple are replicas of those found in the many old pagoda structure of the Kathmandu valley. The other important temples and Shrines in the Vicinity include the Mahalaxmi temple with its exquisite woodwork and the Khadga Devi temple which comes alive once a year during the Dasain festivals.

Manakamana :
The temple of Manakamana lies a top of 1,302-m hill. The deity is one of the manifestations of the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati who is believed to have the power to fulfill wishes. It is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Nepal.

Manakamama is situated 125 km to the west of Kathmandu. It is a steep three-hour hike to the hilltop from Abu Khaireni on the Kathmandu-Gorkha highway. Or you can take the cable car at Cheres, 104 km from Kathmandu on the highway to Pokhara. Package tours are available, and you can be back the same day. There are hotels at Manakamana if you want to stay the night.

Tansen :
If visitors are wondering which place in this kingdom would give them a taste of everything, we suggest them to try Tansen. Tansen is a small town of approximately twenty thousand people. It is on the way from Pokhara to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and it is not too far from the Royal Chitwan National Park. Located 1650 meters above sea level, on the south flank of Srinagar Hill, the greatest attractions of this town are its ancient culture, friendly people, excellent mountain views, and above all, its serene atmosphere. The weather remains moderate throughout the year, and it is a pleasant place to visit in any season.

 

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I had the pleasure of Champawati Tours & Travel in January 2006 to Trek to The Annapurna Base Camp which took around two week this included white water rafting on our way to Pokhara which was fantastic. We had 1 night in Pokhara before our trekking began and Champawati Travel made sure we were prepared and ready for the following day. Champawati Travel Provided excellent Guide who is experience, fantastic and knowledge of the Annapurna area which was very interesting.

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