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Operating in the himalayas since 2000

‘‘Explore Kathmandu: 5 must-see attractions in Kathmandu’’

26 February, 2024
Sukriti Sapkota

Let’s start a journey through Kathmandu, where culture pulses in every corner and the streets tell tales of a city deeply rooted in tradition and vibrancy. Kathmandu is a place where different cultures live together from the ancient temples to the lively markets, this city’s every corner speaks stories of centuries-old traditions.

You can discover its charm with the must-see attractions. Explore the heart of the city and discover what makes these top destinations unique! While you are in Kathmandu, these are the five best places to go.

1. Pashupatinath Temple

Welcome to Pashupatinath – a holy Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva. It is built on an area of 246 hectares (2,460,000 m2) and includes 518 mini-temples. Pashupatinath temple is listed in world heritage site by UNESCO that was built in 5th century– the main temple is located in the sides of Bagmati river.

The main temple built in Pagoda style is a visual masterpiece, showcasing grand architectural designs that has tested the test of time. You will be amazed by the temple’s magnificent architecture, which like an era of history carved from stone. The temple includes a variety of shrines, statues, and temples dedicated to different deities.

You can visit the shores of Bagmati river after 5 pm to watch Bagmati Ganga aarti. The most iconic attraction is the Tandava Bhajan, which takes place during aarti. Pashupatinath practices holy cremation rituals among the riverbanks; it is thought to be among the holiest locations for Hindus to die.

The air is filled with spirituality, and the rituals which offers deeper connections with the surroundings. The peaceful surroundings of the temple complex offer a serene escape from the bustling city life.

2. Swayambhunath Stupa

Have you ever noticed those big, wise eyes staring at you from the stupa? They say these eyes see everything – the city, the people, and probably the antics of the monkeys too! It’s like the stupa is this ancient, mystical guardian keeping watch over the land.  Swayambhunath is an ancient religious stupa situated at the top hill of the Kathmandu city, a dome-shaped structure representing Buddhist enlightenment. It is listed in the world heritage site by UNESCO.

According to Swayambhu-Purana, the entire valley was once filled with an enormous lake, out of which grew a lotus. The valley came to be known as Swayambhu, meaning “Self-Created.” The name comes from an eternal self-existent flame (svyaṃbhu) over which a stūpa was later built. (Source: Wikipedia)

To reach the stupa, visitors ascend a stairway that leads them to the elevated platform. Once you reach at top, it provides the panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley. As you walk around, you’ll find those prayer wheels you can spin and wishing wells where you can make a little wish. It’s a bit like a magical playground for your soul – simple, quiet, and kinda special.


3. Bouddhanath Stupa 

Come for a visit to the Bouddhanath Stupa. A massive white wonder, the stupa seems to follow you around. The broad mandala on top of the dome-shaped structure represents the world, and the spire on top is a representation of Mount Meru, a holy mountain in Jain, Buddhist, and Hindu cosmologies. The stupa’s base is ornamented with prayer wheels, god images, and intricate carvings.

Bouddhanath Stupa recognised for its cultural and historical significance is listed in the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Over the ages, the stupa has stood firm, witnessing centuries of devotion and spiritual practices. Surrounding the stupa are monasteries, shops, and homes, creating a vibrant hub of religious and cultural activity.

4. Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is a historical and cultural heart of city, representing the rich legacy of the Malla kings who once ruled over the Kathmandu Valley. It is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. You will be wandering around and gets amazed by its architectural marvels where you will explore the intricately wooden structures including Kumari Ghar- the residence of the Living Goddess Kumari.

Then there you can see the square’s heart, Kasthamandap, the temple that is said to have given Kathmandu its name. It is constructed from a single Sal tree that whispers tales of centuries past. And a must-see formidable statue of Kal Bhairav, believed to be the guardian deity of Kathmandu.

Well, Durbar Square is not just a static historical site, it also serves as the backdrop for various cultural festivals and events. During festivals like Indra Jatra, the square comes alive with vibrant immersion into local traditions, chariot parades and traditional performances. If you are a tourist here for Nepal tour with exploration of Kathmandu, you will have a remarkable experience if you get to visit during the time of Jatras and Festivals. The whole Newar community gathers together, creating a massive crowd with local music and dance. “There, you can feel the peace in the chaos.”

There are many markets nearby; you can explore local markets where you can shop for traditional artifacts, handicrafts, and souvenirs. Durbar Square is not just a tourist spot, it’s like a time- travelling adventure where every part of the palace has a story to tell. It is like stepping into a living storybook right in the heart of Kathmandu!


5. Patan Durbar Square  

Patan Durbar Square is a historic square located in the heart of the city of Lalitpur, also, known as Patan, in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. Patan Durbar Square listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by the numerous temples, places, statues, and shrines, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship and intricate detailing. Many of these structures date back to the medieval period of the Malla dynasty rule in the Kathmandu Valley.

Patan Museum one of the notable attraction within the Patan Durbar Square. The Patan Museum displays a remarkable collection of traditional arts, sculptures, and artifacts. Similarly, Krishna Mandir, Bhimsen Temple, Golden Temple are the other places. Rato Machindranath Jatra is one of the greatest religious events in the city of Patan and the longest chariot festival celebrated in Nepal. The festival dates can vary each year based on the lunar calendar. If you are planning for Kathmandu Tour you should check the specific dates for the Rato Machindranath Jatra before planning your visit to ensure to witness the main events. Trust me, it would be worth the decision.

You can also explore the local market in Mangal Bazar where the area is filled with narrow lanes and traditional Newari houses. Mangal Bazar is a bustling market area where you can experience the local lifestyle and find traditional handicrafts. Sum up your day in Patan with the Newari food and vibrant aura of the evening.

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