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Nepal Capital and Most Populous City

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Nepal Capital and Most Populous City

Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital and most populous city, offers a vibrant culture and ancient tradition, contributing to its rich heritage.

Thamel, known for being home to traveler’s ghettos, is the primary tourist hub.

The city’s architecture, temples, and festivals demonstrate its diverse cultural and religious traditions.

Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is an iconic square that captures Nepal’s culture and history, as it features landmarks and events that showcase Nepal’s rich heritage. Additionally, it serves as the center of worship for numerous religious groups, with innumerable temples and shrines located here, such as Taleju Temple, Kasthamandap Shiva-Parvati Temple, and Kal Bhairava Temple, all drawing large crowds seeking spiritual guidance and blessings from these spots.

Kathmandu Durbar Square stands as a testament to Nepali traditional architecture, housing many palaces once used by Nepal’s monarchs and where new rulers would be crowned with drums and trumpets sounding across its expanse. Even after the 2015 earthquake destroyed many buildings here, this legacy is an incredible tribute to Nepalese history and heritage.

Durbar Square is home to numerous sacred and historic temples and palaces, most notably Kumari Bahal, which houses Nepal’s living Goddess Kumari Bahal and is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists as it houses her. She is widely considered sacred by both traditions, believed by both to grant wishes and protect Nepalians. Additionally, this square boasts a beautiful Hanuman temple and a Palace Museum which displays Nepal’s former royals.

On the south edge of the square stands a three-story temple known as Kumari Bahal. Constructed by Malla king Jayaprakash Malla and dedicated to Kumari Devi – an embodiment of a goddess worshipped during unique festivals via a custom-made golden chariot. – this Newari temple contains one of the three-storied Newari buildings belonging to Malla king Jayaprakash Malla, who also chose her living embodiment for display as her living embodiment – there.

Hanuman Dhoka was once used as the entrance gate to an old palace and is an eye-catching structure in the square, featuring three stories and wood carvings that celebrate Taleju and Kumari deities. Inside is also housed a statue of Hanuman.

Kathmandu Durbar Square is well worth a visit for anyone interested in exploring Nepal’s rich history and culture, featuring stunning landmarks and events that draw travelers from across the region. Taxis can easily be arranged from most hotels and guesthouses; be sure to haggle the price down, asking to be dropped at Lagankhel (where Durbar Square can be found) after negotiating for pricing; alternatively, take a bus from the airport directly to Lagankhel and walk 15 minutes before reaching Durbar Square; bus tickets are reasonably priced.

Swayambhunath

Swayambhunath Temple complex serves as an unmistakable symbol of Nepal’s cultural traditions. Best known for its iconic golden stupa, visitors to this UNESCO World Heritage Site can also explore ornately decorated temples and participate in daily rituals.

Swayambhunath sits high atop a hill overlooking Kathmandu below and offers stunning views. A popular pilgrimage site, Swayambhunath draws large numbers of worshipers who come here each day to pray and worship at this complex, which is always bustling with life – from spiritual prayer music and echoing temple bells to vendors selling various goods as well as fresh-baked Nepalese street food scents that add an element of aromatherapy and flavor.

Swayambhunath’s main attraction is its white dome stupa, which is 43 meters tall and features a golden spire. Its base features rows of eyes, while a golden statue of Buddha can be found at its crown. Numerous smaller stupas and sculptures are scattered about its vicinity, and 211 prayer wheels move around its central dome.

Visitors to the stupa can ascend the 365 steps leading to its peak and see its famous golden Vajra “thunderbolt” and a temple dedicated to Harati, which is said to protect children from disease. Buddhists adopted this Hindu deity due to its ability to cure smallpox.

A paved pathway encircles Swayambhunath stupa, offering stunning views of the city below. There are souvenir stalls selling souvenirs and local products, and even a tiny pond where pilgrims can bathe before entering the temple. Devotes can toss coins into a pot to make wishes.

Swayambhunath Temple Complex is open all day long, but for an unforgettable experience, visit during sunrise or sunset when its golden hue bathes the stupa in stunning beauty. Not only will this allow visitors to avoid crowds while taking in its tranquil environment.

Pashupatinath

Pashupatinath, Nepal’s holiest site for Hindus, is revered by millions. A vast temple complex stretching on both sides of the Bagmati River is considered sacred by them, with 518 temples and images and cremation spots for their dead. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is one of Nepal’s top tourist destinations.

At Pashupatinath, visitors may observe rituals that may seem culturally strange to Western tourists. Cremated body odor can be pretty substantial compared to expectations; its essence, reminiscent of clabber and various spices, can often take people by surprise. Another surprising sight for Western tourists may be local women washing clothes downstream of the Bagmati River. This water contains animal fat from Shiva’s followers’ cremated bodies that quickly removes dirt from linen clothing.

Pashupatinath’s main temple dates back to the 17th century, though evidence of its construction dates back to 400 AD. Although the origin is unclear, it was likely built by one of Somadeva Dynasty king Pashupreksha’s sons.

Pashupatinath is home to numerous groups of sadhus (holy men) who live in caves or tiny cells on-site. Many are tourist-friendly and willing to pose for photographs with visitors – however, they typically request donations as payment in return for this service.

Pashupatinath’s most beloved event is Maha Shivaratri, held annually to pay homage to Lord Shiva. This religious ceremony occurs between February and March, attracting thousands of worshipers who converge at this site in February or March to pray. Another celebrated festival among Hindu women honoring Goddess Parvati is Teej, which takes place each November.

Pashupatinath’s main temple is an impressive sight with its golden and silver ornamentation, its roof covered in intricate woodcarvings of Gods and griffins, and an Aarti ceremony every evening that provides visitors with an incredible sight. Pashupatinath Temple should be visited between October and December when temperatures are more relaxed and drier, and tourists should dress modestly while wearing comfortable shoes. Also important when visiting is paying an entrance fee – $10 for foreigners and $5 for locals are payable as entrance tickets sell out quickly during peak times – thus, it is advisable to book tickets ahead of time since entry fees are non-refundable.

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