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Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, is one of the most bustling cities in the Asian subcontinent. It is also a city that still keeps its historical and traditional identity alive and hence makes it one of the most sought after sites for tourism the world over.
Kathmandu is a unique melting pot of historical sites and architectural marvels. It is a perfect metropolis that also holds on to the age-old traditions, customs, and legends. It is this diversity that makes Kathmandu such a beautiful experience. Kathmandu holds the unique record to house seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This city will leave you spellbound by the amount of sheer history that it contains. It will be quite a task at hand to figure out where one would begin their journey.
Once your flight reaches Kathmandu, be ready to witness Mount Everest towering over Nepal as you look out of the airplane window. Once you land, the sights and sounds of this bustling city might be overwhelming. However, when you realize that this is how the city functions, you will gradually join in. A visit to the Durbar Squares is a must, and you will be amazed at the beauty of these temples and shrines that showcase the traditions of both Buddhism and Hinduism. Alongside, they showcase the carvings in both wood and metal that will leave you charmed.
Pashupatinath temple is the largest temple in Nepal. It stretches on both sides of the Bagmati River, which is considered holy by Hindus. Built-in the 5th century, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. You can visit the Pashupatinath temple to witness the perfect mix of religious, cultural, and spiritual experiences.
The Boudhanath Stupa is situated on the old trade route with Tibet and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 36-meter tall statue of Buddha here dominates the skyline of Kathmandu. Meditating and prayers resound through the surroundings, and you can absorb in the spirituality. This is a historical and religious monument devoted to The Buddha. On each side of the stupa that towers over you, you will notice the all-seeing eyes of Buddha that speak about awareness of one-self. Do spend some time under this spectacular statue and take in a slice of this unique culture of faith and prayer.
The other World Heritage site that is a must-see in Kathmandu is the Swayambhunath Stupa. Interestingly, it is referred to as the ‘Monkey Temple’ due to the number of monkeys that roam around. This stupa is a hallmark of the perfect mix of both Hindu and Buddhist faiths. Statues of both faiths fill up the entire stupa. You can climb up a flight of over 300 steps that lead to the temple that offers a wonderful view of Kathmandu city below.
In case you feel like exploring the natural beauty that Kathmandu offers, do visit the Shivapuri National Park. You can combine it with a visit to the Budhanilkantha Temple. It is one of the holiest shrines of Lord Vishnu atop snakes in a small lake. It is of immense religious significance, but it is one of the most elaborate displays of fine Nepalese craftsmanship.
Another spectacle to behold in Kathmandu is the ancient mystical tradition of the ‘Living Goddess’ or Goddess Kumari. The Nepalese Buddhist community selects a young Newari girl to be worshipped as a living form of Goddess Taleji with fanfare. Her official residence is ‘Kumari Ghar’ and is situated across Durbar Square at Basantpur.
Kathmandu offers an array of adventure sports. River rafting, hot air ballooning, rock climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, trekking, and bungee jumping will give you a high. You can avail yourself of a flight to capture a glimpse of the majestic Mount Everest up close and personal. Kathmandu is an adventure lover’s heaven. Everest’s sunrise view in Nagarkot, which gives a stunning view of 8 out of 13 Himalayan peaks, is simply stunning. You can also enjoy a beautiful walk around the ‘Garden of Dreams’ situated right in the heart of Kathmandu.
As Kathmandu has a wide range of things to offer and if you do wish to go shopping, have a lovely time going through the markets of Thamel and Asan. Last but certainly not least, do try tasting the delicious Tibetan dishes like momos while you are in Kathmandu. A visit to Kathmandu is not simply a stopover before you move on to other cities in Nepal. This capital city has an old-world charm that never fails to mesmerize all travelers from around the globe.
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