The Kathmandu valley is the hub of Nepal for its political, commercial and cultural activities and is the first stop for the majority of the visitors to the country. Once separate kingdom in itself, it consists of three cities of the great history. Every one has an artistic exposition of graceful temple, elegant palace, brick-paved courtyards and quaint streets.
The history begins with the Buddhist saint Manjushree who slashed a passage through the surrounding hills to drain out primordial water and made it habitable. Over the centuries, a refined urban civilization emerged, built on a unique synthesis of Hinduism and Buddhism. Dynasties came and went trade and the arts flourished. Its deeply religious Newars inhabitants built fabulous cities and artistic temples that attracted devout pilgrims as well as ramping invaders. In the date late 18th century, following the founding of modern Nepal with in more or less the present boundaries, Kathmandu was made the capital. It is said that Katmandu was named after Kastamandap an imposing pagoda next to Hanumandhoka palace. The city is said to built in its present form by Gunakama Dev 724 AD. Followings are the major tourist attractions in the Katmandu Valley.
This complex of palaces, courtyards, and temples are built on 12th to 18th centuries used to be the seat of the ancient Malla kings of Kathmandu. An intriguing piece here is the 17th century stone inscription set in to the wall of the palace with writing in15 languages. The Durbar Square protected as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the social, religious and urban focal point of the city. There are three museums inside the palace building.
Three kilometer west of Kathmandu city complex locates the one of the worlds most glorious Buddhist Stupas, it is said to be 2000 years old. Visitors often call it Monkey Temple. The main structure brick and clay which supports a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. There are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha on the four sides of spire. Being situated seventy meter above the level of valley, the hill of Shwoyambhunath is a mosaic of small Stupas and pagoda temples. Aside, in front of the temple, one of the famous goddess with the shrine of Ajima called Harati Mata is there. This temple of goddess believes to be famous in the way of tantric. Both the stupa of Lord Buddha and temple of a goddess are surrounded by other temples and Tibetan monasteries. Being located in the top level of valley, this place is famous for visitors for sightseeing.
Pashupatinath is considered one of the holiest shrines of all the Hindu temples. The temple has remained the presiding deity of ruling Nepalese Royalty. Located on the banks of the Bagmati river, this two-tiered magnificent golden temple with four triple silver doorways is unique example of the Nepalese temple architecture. It is one of the largest Hindu temple complex in South Asia with hundreds of Shiva lingams, shrines icons of various Hindu god and goddess insides. This temple site occupies an area of 281 hectors in total. The main entrance of this temple is in the western side facing a small street of Deopatan market. As non-Hindus are not allowed to enter this temple courtyard. They are advised to go on the other side of the river in the East to have a glimpse of the temple complex. In the middle of the spring (Feb. March) every year there occurs a festival called Shivaratri. The world Shivaratri means the holy night of Lord Shiva. On this day many devotees visit the Pashupati Nath temple and make the ceremonial fire. Most of the devotees spend the night offering prayers to Shiva. This festival attracts tens of thousand of pilgrims from India besides the locals. Historically pre-Chistian era this temple seems to have its origin away back to the early Kirat period. Stone sculptures found in the vicinity support the antiquity of this place. This holy site is 6 km. east oil down town Kathmandu. Regular bus and taxi services are easily available from a city points.
One of the worlds largest Stupa, Bouddha is generally acknowledged to be the most important Tibetan Buddhist monument outside Tibet. Tibetans simply call it CHORTEN CHEMPO Great Stupa. It has now become the Mecca of Tibetan exiles in Nepal. Walking around Bouddhnath one often fins men wearing long braids wrapped around their heads. Many of these pilgrims carry their own prayer wheels, which they spin incessantly.