Trip Activities: Kathmandu Cultural Heritage sightseeing.
Highlights of Kathmandu Valley:
Welcome to Nepal, the land of Himalaya! Kathmandu Valley, the capital of Nepal, is situated at 4,423 feet above sea level. The valley is surrounded by semi-green hills, terraced fields and towering snow-capped peaks in the backgrounds. Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan are the major towns in the valley. All three are of great historic, cultural and artistic interests. The architectural history of the valley is said to have begun with the Lichhavi and the Malla kings. Today, the ancient monuments and temples are the center of attraction for visitors, particularly the seven World Heritage Sites, designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Brief description of each site is provided in the itinerary below.
Not only the ancient temples and monuments that make the valley interesting but also the diverse cultural groups that make their home here. It is the base camp for all visitors to Nepal and a perfect place to explore history and culture of this Himalayan country. Nepal being an underdeveloping country, its shape and face is changing daily bringing environmental degradation, and is affecting the world heritage sites. The influence of modernization is engulfing the ancient treasures of Nepal. Therefore, we request all visitors to contribute their ideas on how to save the world heritage sites of Kathmandu Valley for the future generation.
The valley rims, especially, Nagarkot and Dhulikhel are perfect places to escape the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. From these hilltops, you can breathe fresh air and enjoy striking mountain scenery, sunsets and sunrise over the snowcapped peaks. We organize treks of various durations in the surrounding hills to provide you opportunities to visit local villages and to enjoy scenic vistas. If you plan to escape the traffic and sounds of the city life, then, these hilltop resorts are perfect places to consider.
Day 1 Arrive Kathmandu, Nepal
Day 2 Kathmandu, Swayambu and Patan
Kathmandu Durbar Square:
The fearsome Kal Bhairab, the Red Monkey god, the house of the living Goddess Kumari, not to mention hundreds of erotic carvings-only begin to unfold the square's cultural imagery!
The buildings here are the greatest achievements of various dynasties that rule the Kathmandy Valley. They resulted from the great rivalry between the three realms of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan. According to legend, the valley was divided among the children of Yaksya Malla. His children and grandchildren began an artistic warfare trying to outdo each other in ever grander styles. As a result, the architectures of these cities look similar, particularly the palace squares. But the wood carvings, statues and architecture in particular-of Kathmandu's Durbar Square are exceptionally fine.
Then, we visit the fine collections of the Royal Museum inside the old palace of Kasthamandap from which the name Kathmandu was derived.
Swayambu is not only the major landmark of the valley but also one of the best places to observe the religious harmony of Nepal. Ancient mini stupas and shrines of both Bhudhists and Hindus fill up the stupa complex. This stupa is among the most ancient in this part of the world and its worshippers are diverse. A monastery adjacent to the stupa houses the largest image of Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal and many stone sculptures of different deities. There numerous monasteries in the vicinity of the stupa with huge prayer wheels, fine Bhuddhist paintings, and special butter lamps which can be lite after offering a monetary donation. Since we will not spare time to visit all the monasteries, we will visit the main monastery in the stupa complex. On a clear day, this hilltop stupa complex offers excellent views of the Kathmandu Valley and the towering snowcapped peaks in the distant background.
Patan -The City of Beauty & Artistry:
End of Patan tour, visit the Tibetan Refugee Handicrafts Center, and transfer back to hotel.
Day 3 Bhaktapur and Nargarkot
Patan -The City of Beauty & Artistry:
Bhaktapur -the city of Devotees:
It is the most enchanting of Kathmandu Valley's three ethnically Newar cities. Newar art and architecture of the Malla periods from about 12th to 18th century are among the best attractions here. The palace complex in the middle of the city portrays the prosperity of the Malla years and the detailed craftsmanship of the period. The Palace of fifty-five Windows stands in the square and was home to many of Bhaktapur's kings. The square's gate was built by King Bhupatindra Malla (1696- 1722) and was among the biggest in the Valley. Among other monuments in Bhaktapur, the big bell, the Nyatapola temple, the golden Gate, the Bhairab Temple, the five-tiered temple, the Dattatreya Square with its wood-carving, and metalwork museum are the most interesting places.
Bhaktapur is not as modernized as Kathmandu and Patan and stands in sharp contrast. Therefore, visitors can still see people making clay sculptures and utilities in the city alleys. Its elaborate ancient monuments and the surrounding valley with beautifully terraced farms make Bhaktapur a unique destination to visitors.
Lunch break in Bhaktapur and drive to Nagarkot hilltop:
Nagarkot hilltop situated at 6885ft above sea level. This rural hilltop dotted with few resorts is an ideal place for viewing spectacular sunrise and sunset over the Himalaya. On a clear day, Mount Everest and many other famous peaks can be seen from here; also beautiful layout of the Kathmandu Valley below can be seen from here.
Day 4 Pashupatinath and Bouddha stupa
Rajrajeswari Temple built in 1407, Kailash with Lingas more than 1,400 years old, Goraknath temple, the courtyard of Biswarup, rows of Shiva shrines and Hindu pilgrims from all over South Asia offering worship to Shiva, the Hindu cremation grounds known as Arya Ghat along the Bagmati River are some of the sites that we see on this tour. You may encounter cremation along the bank of the river. Please refrain from taking pictures as you may offend the mourning relatives.
Monks, nuns and lay people alike walk around the stupa with prayer wheels in their hands, whispering "OM MANE PADME HUN" meaning "hail to the jewel in the lotus" while extreme devotees undergo rituals of prostration to the Lord Buddha. The Bouddha area is a unique place with full of visual attractions. Vividly colored thankas (tantric Buddhist paintings), hand-woven carpets, jewelry, masks, khukri knives, ready made garments of different ethnic groups, and many other modern and antique crafts are sold here. The visitors and residents around the stupa are as varied as the physical objects one will encounter. The Tamangs were the original inhabitants. Then, refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s and many settled around Bouddhanath. Today, different ethnic groups make their homes here particularly followers of Buddhism. After the tour, transfer to hotel and at leisure.
Day 5 Departure from Kathmandu