Places to see around Kathmandu Valley

  Changu Narayan   Nagarkot Dhulikhel Kirtipur Gokarna
  Panauti   Surya Binayak Khokana Dakchinkali Sankhu
  Namo Buddha   Thimi Godavari Chovar George Sundarijal

 

CHANGU NARAYAN:

Changunarayan Temple - World Heritage Site


Changu Narayan is dedicated to Lord Vishnu of the Hindu trinity; it is near the village of Changunarayan in the Kathmandu Valley on top of a hill at the eastern end of the valley. It offers magnificent views of the surrounding countryside as well as the Himalaya to the north. It is 22km from Kathmandu and 6km to the north of Bhaktapur. It is believed to be built first in the 4th century and it is one of the oldest Hindu temples of the valley. A stone slab discovered in the surrounding area of the temple dates to the 5th century, and it is the oldest stone inscription discovered so far in Nepal. After the old temple was devastated it was rebuilt. Changu Narayan temple is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritatge Site.

 

Changu Narayan is one of the best examples of Pagoda style of architecture, claimed to have originated in Nepal. You also get to see the double-roofed structure where the idol of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayana is defined. The elegantly built temple has elaborate roof struts showing multi-armed Tantric deities. A kneeling image of Garuda dated to the 5th century, the vahana or vehicle of Vishnu with a snake around its neck, faces the temple. The gilded door depicts stone lions guarding the temple. Gilded windows also flank the door. A conch and a disc, symbols of Vishnu, are carved on the two pillars at the entrance. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple.
 



PANAUTI:

Panauti

 

Panauti is a quaint and interesting destination in Nepal. It feels as if it has been left exactly the way the founders had built the town. A nostalgic atmosphere covers the narrow town streets and ancient structures. It is known as a Newari town that is located near the Roshi Khola and Pungamati rivers. Panauti can easily reached from Kathmandu, which is 32km from Panauti, Dhulikhel and Banepa. This fascinating destination in Nepal was also a dowry. King Bhpitendra Malla gave his sister the town of Panauti as a dowry.

 

As with many villages and towns of Newari, Panauti is also steeped in culture and tradition. Visitors will often find colorful stones, petals and other items that are laid out on the pavement. They are representations of Lakshmi’s footprint, known as the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Locals leave these offerings in the morning to invite and bring Lakshmi to their homes and lives. The most noteworthy attraction in Panauti, is the Indreshwar Mahadev Temple complex, which dates back to the 15th century. The Mahadev temple is surrounded by smaller temples and a number of shrines, but the Indreshwar Mahadev temple steals the show. It is an impressive three-storey structure, which is constructed as a pagoda. The struts that are located on the inside of the temple date back to the 14th century and the carvings in the struts are breathtaking. The intricate and detailed carvings of warriors and other figures are almost life-like. The doors are just as spectacular as the struts, unmatched in craftsmanship and beauty.

 

The temple is located opposite to the Indreshwar Mahadev Temple which also has spectacular woodcarvings to be viewed, with many of the other temples exhibiting historical relics, murals and stone reliefs. At the Brahmayani temple visitors will find the well-preserved and greatest collection of religious art masterpieces, painted in the Newari style.


Outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy mountain biking or hiking should enjoy the routes between Namo Buddha, Lubhu, Dhulikhel, Banepa and Panauti. The surrounding area is breathtaking and peaceful. Visitors to this destination in Nepal will be surprised at the great amount of attractions and the beautiful landscapes that can be seen all around the town.

 



NAMO BUDDHA:

Namobuddha

Namo Buddha: It is located near by kathmandu around 10kms from Dhulikhel. One can reach there by couple of hours drive or those who prefer a shot hike can enjoy the beautiful views of local village, their lifestyle and some mountains in the north. Literally "Namo Buddha" means the place where the lord Buddha offered his body to a hungry mother tigress in tibetan language. It is also famous for Shakyamuni's act of compassion upon encountering a hungry mother tigress he offered her his body so that she could feed her cubs. There are few other tibetan monasteries and one ancient stupa erected near by in which once can make offerings and pray.

 



NAGARKOT:

Nagarkot Mountain View

 

Nagarkot, is at an elevation of 2,175meter above sea level, and is the most popular resort destination in the Kathmandu Valley. It is the favorite weekend getaway among those seeking Mountain View in comfortable and quite surrounding. At sunrise, the Himalayan range, stretching from Dhaulagiri in the west all the way past Everest to Kanchenjunga in the east, emerges from the darkness to greet the happy visitors with its awe inspiring majesty and beauty. For those wishing to stretch their legs and enjoy the fresh morning air, there are charming walking trails as well as a lookout tower from which the sights can be taken in. reaching Nagarkot is easy. Situated at 30 km east of Kathmandu city, it doesn’t take more than two hours to reach there by a tourist bus.

 



SURYA BINAYAK: 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.

 



THIMI: it is a farming town situated 8km east of Kathmandu on the way to Bhaktapur. Thimi is famous for earthen pots, home spun cotton cloth and artistic masks

 



DHULIKHEL:

Dhulikhel - Hike


Dhulikhel is a small town at an altitude of 1,440 meter from the sea level. The artistic skills and urban ethos of its Newar inhabitants have made a place of charm and beauty. Once an important link in the ancient trade route to Tibet, the town has glorious past that can be witnessed in the lovely buildings and intricate woodcarvings found along the shop-lined streets and in the temples. The place has many vantage points that offer a panorama of the low hills, valleys and the Himalayas. Sunset views are spectacular from here. Bird watching, mountain biking and hiking is the favorite activities of this place. This is a magnificent place to stay for a night and awaken to the sun rising across the wide Himalayan range. There are many luxurious resorts will all-modern amenities and facilities in this area. To get there, you can get into local bus from the main local bus station at Kathmandu city. The other alternative is to hire a cab. It takes around two hours to reach this place by local bus and an hour by cab.

 



KHOKANA:

Khokana Village

 

Khokana is a Newar farming village lying 7 km south of the Ring Road that encircles the two cities of Kathmandu and Patan. Khokana is a simple place, but is filled with life, history and culture. It is a tiny Newari village with a reputation for two things-mustard oil and the local temple. The Newari who live here eke out a simple living off the land. Much of their daily activities take place outside of their dwellings and they really do seem to embrace nature. Thus, as you make your way down the main street of the village, you will see woman sitting outside spinning, men crushing seeds, and other daily activities. The village is famous for its unusual mustard seeds in order to extract the oil. In the center of the town you will find that the main street is particularly wide-especially for a village of such diminutive size. The street was widened significantly during the rebuilding process after an earthquake shook the village in 1934. You will also find that no matter where you in this tiny village, a large three-storied temple will catch your eye. This massive building certainly dominates the skyline of the village and can be seen from virtually anywhere in the area. The temple is dedicated to the local mother goddess, Shikali Mai, and it is regularly used by the local people. A similar temple to the northeast of the village is mainly only used during times of epidemic. Clearly, Khokana does have something to offer-even if it will only keep you busy for a few hours. So make an effort to stop here during your travels and enrich your stay in Nepal.
 



GODAVARI:
Located in the south western edge of Lalitpur district, 14 km from Patan, at the base of the 2715 m high Mt. Phulchowki (Mountain of Flowers), the highest point on the Valley ridge, Godavari is a peaceful little village, surrounded by dense jungles going up the western ridge of the Mahabharat range. Godavari acquired its name from a repenting ascetic who went to a place of the same name in India to do penance for the crime of killing a cow, considered sacred by the Hindus. Upon returning to his native village here he established the temple complex of Panch Dhara or five taps, whose waters are supposed to flow down to the river Godavari in India. Known for its natural beauty the jungles here are home to at least 256 species of birds and 300 species of butterflies and moths. The Botanical Garden, founded by King Mahendra in 1962 is the only one of its kind in the country boasting an astonishing 4500 specimens of flowering and non flowering plants including more than 90 varieties of orchids.
 



KIRTIPUR:

Kirtipur Baghbhairava


The small town of Kritipur is on a hill, 5km southwest of Kathmandu. In the past there were 12 gates of the town. Parts of the old city wall still remain. The main industry in town is the Kritipur Cottage Industry Center and most of the residents are either weavers or farmers. There are some great views of Kathmandu and the mountains behind it. Kritipur is on two hills and the saddle between the hills. With its easily defendable hilltop location, when Prithivi Narayan Shah attacked the valley in 1768, Kritipur was the first place to be attacked. After a tough siege, the town was taken. The king being angry at the resistance ordered that all the male residents of the town have their lips and nose cut off, but those who could play wind instruments were spared. It is said that news of this punishment spread across the valley and resistant was weakened elsewhere across the valley. Tribhuvan University, the University of Nepal, has the best library in Nepal. And it is at the bottom of the hill that the town is on.


At the bottom of the hills, where they meet is the three-tiered Bagh Bhairab Temple, which is holy to both Buddhist and Hindus. The main deity of the temple is Bhairab, in the form of a tiger. There is a temple torana to the left of the entrance with Vishnu riding Garuda. Bhairab in the middle of Ganesh and Kumar is below them. The temple is covered with swords and shields that belong to the troop of Kritipur, who were defeated by the army of King Prithivi Narayan Shah. Sacrifices are made here on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.


The triple-roofed Uma Maheshwar Temple, or Hindu Kvat, is gotten by climbing the stone stairway by the saddle. On either side of the beginning of the stairway is a stone elephant with spikes on them. The main deity is the form of Shiva with Parvati leaning against him. From the temple there are good views of the surrounding area. The temple was originally built in 1673 and had four roofs. It was damaged in the earthquake of 1934 and was restored.


The Chilanchu Vihara is on top of the southern hill. It has a central stupa and four stupas around it. It has statues and bells.
 



DAKSHINKALI, PHARPING:

Dakchinkali


Dakshinkali is a tantric goddess worshiped by Hindus all over the world. She is equally venerated by the Buddhist and other Nepalese. The Kali cut developed after worship of fertility cult all over the world. Because of the tantric influence, she is represented with a skeleton without flesh and blood, very symbolic. She represents the eternal time and lives next to the cremation ground. Near Dakshinkali one can visit ancient Pharping, it is believed that the Padhmasambhava, the founder of Lamaistic School of Buddhism in Tibet meditated here in the caves. In the cave you can see handprint, footprint, headprint and other parts of the body. Every day many Buddhist pilgrimage visit here. Many Buddhist monasteries are built around here.
 



CHOVAR GORGE:

Chovar George


Situated just southeast of Chobar village in Nepal, where the Bagmati River cuts through a section of the Chobar hill, the picturesque Chobar Gorge is spanned by a narrow suspension bridge, which was imported from a manufacturer in Aberdeen in Scotland in 1903. The bridge was transported to Nepal in pieces across the mountains via India and then put together at the Chobar Gorge. This was seen as a huge technical accomplishment at the time and visitors agree that the view of the Chobar Gorge and surroundings from this historic suspension bridge is breath-taking. Chobar village is located on a high ridge overlooking the Chobar Gorge and can only be accessed on foot. The rocky cliffs of Chobar Gorge are riddled with caves which are popular as meditation retreats. It is believed by many that an underground passage runs from one of these caves to the Adinath Lokeshwar Temple in the village of Chobar. No one seems to know where this secret passage begins, however, which adds to the mysterious myths and legends surrounding Chobar Gorge.


Geological studies have shown that the Kathmandu Valley was previously a huge lake that drained southward through the Chobar Gorge, opening up the valley. Buddhist legend asserts that the lake, which was known as Nag Hirat, contained magical snake-like beings that were guarding the treasure lying at the bottom of the lake. Bodhisattva Manjushri sliced through the circle of mountains with a single stroke of his Sword of Wisdom, thereby draining the lake and creating Kathmandu Valley. Countless snakes were said to have been washed out with the departing waters, but the king of the snakes, is believed o have remained behind at the request of Manjushri and now resides in the Taudha Lake. The Hindu belief, however, is that Krishna created the Chobar Gorge by throwing a thunderbolt that split the mountain.


The banks of the Bagmati River on the south side of Chobar Gorge have been paved with steps down to the river. These are used for ritual cleansing and cremations in the Bagmati River as well as for the laundering of clothes, and serves as a daily gathering place for the local people.


Visitors will discover that Nepal is a country of great beauty, where legend at times blends with fact, and festivals and celebrations take place throughout the year-which all adds to the appeal of this popular tourist destination.

 



GOKARNA:
This lovely Royal Games Sanctuary, also known as Gokarna Safari Park, lies about 10 km northeast of Kathmandu. Many wild animals sucha as spotted deer can be viewed in the sanctuary. On the northern side of Gokarna, is a pagoda of Gokarneshwor Mahadev.

 



SANKHU:

Sankhu Bajrayogini
The small town of Sankhu lies hidden in the Kathmandu Valley and once was a significant town located on the Tibetan trade route. Today, Sankhu, or Sankharapur, does not have a thriving economy and most inhabitants work on farms or the trading industry. Even though it does not have the hustle and bright lights of the cities, Sankhu is a favourite tourist destination in Nepal, due to its history and many spectacular sights and attractions.


It is believed that Shankharapur was established in 1801, although many have argued that its founding date was in 1299. But no matter which date is accurate, it still remains the oldest and most historic town in the Kathmandu Valley. The legend related to the history of the town tells of a kingdom that was created and how the Tantric goddess Bajrayogini was significant in the establishment of Sankhu. Her shrine is hidden in the dense forests surrounding the town and it is a place of pilgrimage for many Hindus and Buddhists.


The annual Sankhu festival is also held in her honor. Her shrine consists of beautiful statues, stupas and a few other shrines. The main structure at the shrine was constructed in the year 1655 by the then King, Prakash Malla. It is the most historic and oldest shrine that is located in this area. The goddess of wisdom is honored at the Sankhu Bajrayogini and Hindus make their way to this shrine to offer blood sacrifices to the goddess. Buddhists have their own tantras here to make their own offerings. The caves that are located near the temple of Bajrayogini should also be explored, as it is said that in the cave that has two rooms the priest pays penance here for his love for her.


The Changunarayan Temple and the Salinadi River are two other very important and breathtaking sights. The lush green forests that surround Sankhu are worth looking into, as they are peaceful and magical, with many creatures and birds that make the forest their home. This charming destination in Nepal has a wonderful mixture of culture, tradition, history and spectacular beauty to share with visitors. It is guaranteed to be a rewarding experience and is a recommended town to visit when in Nepal.
 


SUNDARIJAL:

Sundarijal Hike
Sundarijal is located 15km northeast of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. The Bagmati River flows through the main village, where it is joined by the Shyalmati and Nagmati Rivers. Largely hilly in its terrain with few flat areas, the village is covered by forests. A large part of Sundarijal is covered by Shivapuri National Park. The place was named after the Hindu goddess, Sundarimai. A temple is dedicated to the deity in Sundarijal. Sundarijal is also famous for the Sundarijal Military Detention Camp. The camp now has been turned into a museum dedicated to B.P. Koirala.


Agriculture is the main occupation of the people living in the village, about sixty percent of the village folks are Buddhists, and the remaining are Hindus. Sundarijal observes a large number of internal and foreign tourists owing to its natural and cultural beauties. The main cultural sites in Sundarijal are the temples of Sundarimai, Ganesh and Krishna. The visitors are attracted to the area’s natural beauty, including the waterfalls and rivers. Sundarijal is also a starting point for hikers along the Langtang Range. There are several picnic tables to meet the needs of the tourists.


There is a huge drinking water project that would bring water from Melamchi, treat it, and distribute it from Sundarijal. A pipeline of 58km in length would be laid in Sundarijal to other places in the Kathmandu Valley. It will start pumping 170 million liters of water daily in 2011 or 2012.



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