Information from Viator
For many, stepping off a plane into Kathmandu is a pupil-dilating experience, a riot of sights, sounds and smells that can quickly lead to sensory overload. Whether you’re barrelling through the traffic-jammed alleyways of the old town in a rickshaw, marveling at the medieval temples or dodging trekking touts in the backpacker district of Thamel, Kathmandu can be an intoxicating, amazing and exhausting place.The 2015 earthquake brought devastation to parts of the city - including Kathmandu's Unesco-listed Durbar Square - but many areas emerged unscathed, and the soul of the city endures. Stroll through the backstreets and Kathmandu’s timeless cultural and artistic heritage will reveal itself in hidden temples overflowing with marigolds, courtyards full of drying chillies and rice, and tiny hobbit-sized workshops
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Shiva. Built in the 5th century and later renovated by Malla kings, the site itself is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered here. The largest temple complex in Nepal, it stretches on both sides of the Bagmati River which is considered holy by Hindus. The main pagoda style temple has a gilded roof, four sides covered in silver, and woodcarvings of the finest quality. Temples dedicated to several other Hindu and Buddhist deities surround the temple of Pashupatinath. Nearby is the temple of Guheshwori dedicated to Shiva's consort, Sati Devi. Cremation of Hindus takes place on raised platforms along the river. Only Hindus are allowed inside the gates of the main temple. The inner sanctum has a Shiva lingam and outside sits the largest statue of Nandi the bull, the vehicle of Shiva. There are hundreds of Shiva lingam within the compoundKathmandu’s Durbar Square was where the city’s kings were once crowned and legitimized, and from where they ruled (‘durbar’ means palace). As such, the square remains the traditional heart of the old town and Kathmandu’s most spectacular legacy of traditional architecture. It’s easy to spend hours wandering around the square and watching the world go by from the terraced platforms of the towering Maju Deval; it’s a wonderful way to get a feel for the city. Although most of the square dates from the 17th and 18th centuries (many of the original buildings are much older), a great deal of rebuilding happened after the great earthquake of 1934. The entire square was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The Durbar Square area is actually made up of three loosely linked squares. To the south is the open Basantapur Square area, a former royal elephant stables that now houses souvenir stalls and off which runs Freak St. The main Durbar Square area, with its popular watch-the-world-go-by temples, is to the west. Running northeast is the second part of Durbar Sq, which contains the entrance to the Hanuman Dhoka and an assortment of temples. From this open area Makhan Tole, at one time the main road in Kathmandu and still the most interesting street to walk down, continues northeast. A good place to start an exploration of the square is with what may well be the oldest building in the valley, the unprepossessing Kasthamandap.Find peace and prayers on the little hillock of Swaymbhunath in the northwest of the Kathmandu Valley. Also known as the "Monkey Temple" among visitors from abroad, Swayambhunath sits atop its hill, overlooking most parts of the valley. This is a good place to catch panoramic views of the city. The site itself has stood as a hallmark of faith and harmony for centuries.
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