PRIVATE DAY TOUR OF THE KATHMANDU VALLEY
The history of the Kathmandu Valley dates back thousands of years to a time when the valley was actually a large lake encased by the mountains that surround it. It is said Lord Shiva took his sword and broke open a gap in the mountains, releasing the floodwaters and making it habitable for humankind.
Science says it was an earthquake that broke open the gap in the mountains. Whatever the answer, people have lived, farmed and worked the valley for thousands of years.
The valley was once home to several kingdoms, and old royal palaces are still standing. There are ancient Hindu temples throughout the valley while Buddhist stupas crown many of the mountains along with other impressive shrines in the valley.
There are narrow streets, impressively carved architecture, flowing rivers and much more that dot the various cities and villages of the valley. It is surrounded by impressive mountains which ring the valley, and on clear days, you can see the higher snowcapped peaks in the distance.
Stand on top of the mountain and watch a sunset, only to rise early and see a sunrise from the same spot. Spot a living goddess, walk through ancient temples, or enjoy an afternoon in the sun on a rooftop garden in Thamel. This an more is all part of the Kathmandu Valley, awaiting your exploration.
We at PANDA TREKS & EXPEDITIONS can help you to put together an incredible journey through the Kathmandu Valley. Trips can be as short as one day, or can be extended to include some trekking in some of the more remote places along the valley's many mountains.
Come and join us for an incredible adventure. Your representative at PANDA TREKS & EXPEDITIONS can put together the perfect package for you, based on your fime and financial budget. Best of all, you will be pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced a tour of the Kathmandu Valley can truly be.
Some Places of Interest:
Kathmandu's Durbar Square has been home to the kings of Kathmandu for over 1000 years. There is a royal palace, nearly 60 Hindu temples and a palace for the living goddess all in this concise area. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it preserves a culture and temples, some of which are almost 500 years old.
The Malla kings developed this square. The other part of the Durbar Square is known as Hanuman Dhoka, named for the monkey faced god who is devoted to Lord Ram. The living goddess is a young girl who is called The Kumari who resides in a special palace. Chosen at a young age, she serves as the Kumari until she reaches puberty.
The old Royal Palace is now a museum, and the temples stand as a tribute to great architecture of the past. The temples are still active as part of religious festivals, which are both colorful and impressive.
Swayambhunath, also known as The Monkey Temple, is one of the most sacred Buddhist shrines in Nepal. Situated on a high knoll overlooking the Kathmandu Valley, its stupa is visible from much of Kathmandu.
The sacred site dates back 2,500 years and is a complex of temples, shrines, monasteries and more. It is a classical Buddhist design with the eyes of Buddha painted on all four sides, representing the invisible power of the Buddha.
The structure has five parts that correspond to the four elements and life. The white, round half-globe represents Earth; the second, golden square represents air. Above it is a triangle that represents water while the level above resembles an umbrella representing fire. Above it at the fifth level is spiral shape, representing life. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This stupa is the largest Buddhist shrine in Nepal and one of the largest in the world. Surrounded by monasteries, local shops and gompas, it is an important sacred spot in the Kathmandu Valley.
It is considered by Buddhist a place of power, and has drawn pilgrims there to worship for centuries. The stupa dates back to the time of the 5th Century. This is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Immediately south of Kathmandu and across the Bagmati River is the city of Patan. Once its own kingdom, it is composed of primarily Newari people. The unique architecture of the Newar culture is evident in the buildings and wood carvings that are found throughout the city.
Patan is called the city of artists, and its wood and metal workmanship brings fame to the city. In the center is Durbar Square, with its winding, narrow lanes, temples, old royal palace as well as its own Kumari or living goddess. Krishna Mandir is a famous temple in Patan's Durbar Square that honors the incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. There is also Bhimsen Temple which honors Bhim who is a great wrestler, brother of the Pandavs and the primary diety of Nepali businessmen. There are many more intricately carved temples. Patan's Durbar Square is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the most popular places to visit is the city of Bhaktapur. Once its own kingdom, its many temples and royal palace, along with its own Kumari or living goddess. Located to the east of Kathmandu, it features many traditional industries include pottery, woodworking, tankha paintings, weaving and morel Some of the more interesting places include:
- Durbar Square – Contains numerous temples, carvings, statutes and more.
- Palace of 55 Windows – Bhaktapur's Royal Palace, it gets its name from the balcony with 55 windows. The palace is a masterpiece of woodcarvings.
- Stone Temple of Batsala Devi – A wonderful example of Shikhara architecture, the temple is filled with many intricate stone and wood carvings. A colossal bell situated on the terrace dates back to 1737 when it was used to sound curfew.
- Nyatapola Temple – This tall, five storey pagoda was built in 1702 and features five pairs of carvings; wrestlers, lions, griffins, elephants, and finally, Baghini and Singini, tiger and lion goddesses. It is one of the tallest pagoda temples in Nepal and is famous for its massive construction and workmanship.
- Dattatraya Temple – This temple dates back to 1427 AD and is said to have been built from a trunk of a single tree.
The city of Bhaktapur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the most overlooked of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the impressive Newar village of Changu Narayan. Located near Bhaktapur on a ridge, the city dates back to King Hari Dutta who constructed it in 323 AD. Its temple is the oldest in the valley. The village features Newari craftsmen working. Unlike the other World Heritage Sites, there are few tourists here, making it an ideal place to immerse oneself in Newar culture.
On top of the mountain overlooking the Kathmandu Valley near Changu Narayan is the village of Nagarkot. From its summit, one can watch sunset over the Himalayas and then the next morning, get up early and watch a sunrise! On a clear day, Mt. Everest is visible in the east while the Annapurna Mountains can be seen in the west.