Places to see
Indrachowk: Indrachowk, a square, the courtyard of Indra named after an ancient Hindu deity is within walking distance from Durbar Square. Akash Bhairab temple, a three- story temple lies at Indrachowk the main market avenue of the Kathmandu city. The image of Akash Bhairav is displayed outside the temple for a week during Indrajatra, the festival of Indra or the God of Rain.
Freak Street: Locally known as Jhhonchen Tole, the once famous "Freak Street" is well known to all low budget tourists. In seventies this area was full of small hotels, lodges, restaurants, taverns as well as shops that "buy and sell anything". But all this is now a matter of the past as the place has been dethroned by another part of the city called Thamel.
Machhendranath (white) Temple: The temple is situated at Machhendra Bahal near Indrachowk. This two storeyed temple was built by Yaksha Malla in 1500 AD The chariot festival of white Mahchendranath (the god of mercy) is annually celebrated in Kathmandu Valley. The traditional music is always played in the evening at this temple which is also open to westerners.
Asan: Asan is one of the busiest squares in Kathmandu and has six roads radiating from it. The three storey high pagoda styled Annapurna (goddess of food grains) temple is situated at Asan. Another two storey temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. All kind of household goods available in this traditional marketplace.
Thamel: Thamel area has recently emerged as the most popular tourist area of Kathmandu. Thamel is a 15 to 20 minute walk from the center of Kathmandu. Thamel has clean narrow streets full of mushrooming lodges, hotels for budget travellers. Restaurants, bars and other tourists oriented shops can be seen bustling with activities.
Dharahara: Also known as Bhimsen Stambha (Tower), Dharahara is a 50.5 meter tower built by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa in 1832. Situated near the General Post Office, the tower is one of Kathmandu's best-known monuments. From the top of the tower, one has a panoramic view of the whole Kathmandu Valley. It is not open for the public.
Palace: This is the present Palace. At the south there is the famous historic water-spout of Narayanhity from which the Palace derives its name. Special permission has to be obtained to go inside the Palace compound.
Balaju Water Garden: Situated five kilometers north-west of Kathmandu, Balaju Water Garden is an ideal place for rest and relaxation. The 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 garden also includes many other ponds, some of them containing large and small varieties of fish.
Budhanilkantha: Eight kilometers north of Kathmandu is a remarkable, colossal statue of lord Vishnu reclining on a bed of snakes. The fifth-century statue lies in the middle of a small pond Budhanikantha is a place of pilgrimage for all Hindus and is the scene of great activity at such festivals as Haribodhini Ekadasi and Kartik Poornima. An interesting feature of this shrine is that the reigning King of Nepal may not visit the spot according to an old tradition.
Hiranya Varna Mahabihar: This three-storey golden pagoda of Lokeshwar in Patan was built in the twelfth century A. D. by King Bhaskar Varma. Located in the courtyard of Kwabahal, this temple is in 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 Car while intricate decorative patterns on its outer walls add charm to the mellow richness of the shrine.
Kumbheshwar: This is a five-storey pagoda-style temple of Lord Shiva. Inside the courtyard is a natural spring whose source, it is said. is the famous glacial lake of Gosainkunda. 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 here every year on the day of Janai Poornima.
Jagat Narayan: The Jagat Narayan temple is a tall shikhara-style temple consecrated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is built of red bricks on the bank of the Bagmati at Sankhamul and enshrines many stone images. The fine metal statue of Garuda placed on a stone monolith is quite eye-catching and is accompanied by similarly placed images of Ganesh and Hanuman.
Mahaboudha: The temple of Mahabouddha is a masterpiece of terra-cotta. Like the Krishna Mandir, it reveals an artistic tradition which evolved outside of Nepal and shows how native Nepalese craftsmen have been able to do justice to an unfamiliar art form. This temple was built by Abhaya Raj, a priest of Patan and is sometimes referred to as the temple of a million Buddhas because every single brick bears a small image of Buddha. There is an astonishing total of nine thousand bricks. It was levelled to the ground in the great earthquake of 1933 but was rebuilt exactly to the original specifications, proving that the templecraft is still one of the living arts of Nepal.
Ashokan Stupas: Popularly believed, though not proven without doubt to have been built by Ashoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India, these stupas stand at four different corners of Patan, giving the whole city a monastic character. All these Buddhist mounds were built in 250 A.D.at the time when Buddhism was making headway in the Kathmandu Valley.
Machhendranath Temple: The temple of Red Machchhendranath is another center of attraction in Patan. The temple lies in the middle of a wide, spacious quadrangle just at the outer rim of the market place. A fine clay image of Red Machchhendranath Avalokiteshwar is housed here for six months every year, after which it is taken round the city of Patan in a colourful chariot during the festival beginning in April-May and lasting sometimes for several months.
The Tibetan Refugee Camp: An attraction of a different kind is the Tibetan Camp on the outskirts of Patan. The small Tibetan population living here has set up a number of shrines and stupas as well as several souvenir shops offering authentic Tibetan handicrafts such as prayer wheels of wood, ivory, silver or bronze, long temple horns made of beaten copper, belt buckles, wooden bowls and jewellery. In this area, the Tibetans can be seen weaving carpets by hand.
Siddha Pokhari: This is a big rectangular water pond located near the main city gate of Bhaktapur. It was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla in the early fifteenth century and is associated with a number of myths. From this spot a wide range of snowy peaks is visible on clear days.
Batsala Temple: The stone temple of Batsala Devi has many intricate carvings. It is most famous for its bronze bell, known to local residents as 'the bell of barking dogs' as when it is rung, all dogs in the vicinity begin barking and howling ! The colossal bell was hung by King Ranjit Malla in A. D. 1737 and was used to sound the daily curfew. It is nowadays rung every morning when goddess Taleju is worshipped.
Bhairav Nath Temple: This is another pagoda style temple dedicated to Lord Bhairav, the dreadful aspect of Shiva. It stands a short distance away from the temple of Nyatapola and was originally constructed by King Jagat Jyoti Malla on a modest scale. It was later remodelled by King Bhupatindra Malla, a zealous lover of the arts, into what is now a three-storey temple.
Thimi: Thimi lies about 10 km east of Kathmandu near Bhaktapur. It is famous for pottery, making of masks and as a vegetable growing area for Kathmandu so that this place is also known as kitchen garden of Kathmanduites. The main deity in the town is Goddess Balkumari. It attracts tourists by its enchanting culture of the farmer community.
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