STROLL THROUGH KATHMANDU
On your first full day just leave your hotel and stroll around the center of KATHMANDU and you are likely to come across many interesting buildings including stupas, cows, Durbar Square, narrow streets with wooden buildings each side, the market, temples, statues, the house of Kumari (the living Goddess), Kashmiri shops, souvenir shops, bookshops,locals carrying their Gods, restaurants etc. It will give you a real feel for the place, and will be extremely exciting if it is your first time in Asia.
STUPAS of KATHMANDU
Besides the famous Stupas of Kathmandu you will come across many more when exploring the streets of the city. Actually the word Stupa comes from Sanskrit meaning 'a heap', but modern stupas are hemispherical structures which normally contains Buddhist relics and even Buddhist monk's ashes. Originally a stupa was a burial mound which makes more sense of the origin of the word.
A stupa may represent the five purified elements.
The square base represents earth
The hemispherical dome/vase represents water
The conical spire represents fire
The upper lotus parasol and the crescent moon represents air
The sun and the dissolving point represents the element of space
Narayanhiti Museum: Last king were killed here
It was here that, in June 2001, King Birendra, Queen Aiswarya and six other royals were shot dead by Crown Prince Dipendra before Dipendra turned his weapon on himself; the apparent motive was revenge, after the King and Queen refused to approve the Prince's marriage intentions We spent about one hours at this Palace and enjoyed wandering from room to room, .I was told that there are 75 rooms which are named after 75 district of Nepal but 19 rooms are open to the public
The original palace built in 1915 was destroyed during an earthquake and rebuilt in 1960. The palace got converted into a museum when the country became a republic after the 2006 revolutions.
Note: No cameras or mobile phone are allowed inside and must be left in lockers.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Garden of dreams
Just a 5 minutes walk from busy Thamel, enjoy the beautiful garden of dreams a quiet oasis from the hectic city.It was created by the Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana(1892-1964) in early 1920 who was a field marshal in the Royal Nepalese Army. It was one of the most renowned private gardens when it was initially built. After the death of the creator, the garden was handed to the government of Nepal. But it wasn't properly maintained. Later in between 2000 to 2007, the government of Austria restored the garden having a collaboration with the Nepal Ministry of Education.For the recreation, the garden has several park benches around. It has several mats on the ground with pillows so that the visitors can relax here. Also you can take a walk through the paths amid of the garden. It has a Cafe (Kaiser Cafe) where you can drink coffee and at another side a mini bar where you can drink beer and can have food as well.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Degutalle temple in Durbar square is a fine white temple built in 1671 which is located opposite the Stone Column. it is the same colour of the Royal Palace and, in fact, it is part of the Palace complex. Inside the temple, which is not open to the public, there is the shrine of a Tantric Goddess that, i nthe past, used to be a family divinity of the Malla Kings.
The Jagannath Mandir (temple) is an old temple that was in the past dedicated to Vishnu and possibly built between 1560-1574 by Mahendra Malla. It was then re-dedicated to Jagannah, who is a different reincarnation of Vishnu. This temple is well-known because it is little gem of wood carving - in particular of erotic carvings. You can find them everywhere: on the windows, on the doors, on the roof struts. There are also several carvings of Hindu gods
Some details about this mandir: it has a three-tiered platform, each side of the temple has three doors, and it is two storeys high.
Unique to Durbar sqaure, which is dotted ti temples, comes this colourful statue (or better stone idol) of Kaal Bhairav, whom I believe used to be the care-taker of Nepal. It was not built in Kathmandu but in Raniban, near Pokhara, and eventually brought into the city in 1775 by King Pratap Malla. Kal Bhairav represents Shiva in one of its most terrifying aspects.
Chyasin Dega temple is what the temple of Vansagopal is called. Vansagopal means Krishna in the act of plying the flute. This temple, which has an interesting octagonal shape, was erected in 1649 by king Pratap Malla, to honour the memory of his two dead wives.
Taleju temple is a three-roofed temple that was built in 1564 by king Mahendra Malla. Because of the 12 large steps upon which it sits, it looks a bit like a pyramid, too. The architecture, however, is typical Newari. Taleju, in fact, was a Newari variant of Goddess Durga. Durga (according to wikipedia) is "the most popular incarnation of Devi and one of the main forms of the Goddess Shakti in the Hindu pantheon".
Around the main Taleju temple you can find 12 tiny temples, all belonging to the same religious complex
if you want to learn all about the Nepaleseroyal family and lates king this is the place to come. the courtyards are amazing and great to visit, the palace itself, turned into a museum, is really not thta interesting for non-nepalese... in particular it spans all over the palace and the visit is endless... since you must follow a set route.
Still, it allows you to climb the nine-story pagoda, which is quite interesting for the sights you get from the top. cameras are not allowed inside the entire Royal Palace, but no one says you must leave your mobile phone at the entrance
kumari devi's palace
A little secluded palace in Durbar square turns out to be the kumar devi's palace. the kumari devi is a young girl who is believed to be the incarnation of the goddess - and is therefore called the living goddess. Occasionally she appears at the window but we were not lucky to see her. Mostly she lives secluded within her palace (unless paraded in the city) until her reign ends, which is either when puberty starts or when she injured herself and bleeds.
I'm not sure this is the correct name of one of the most beautiful temples we visited in Kathmandu... we just entered a little courtyard in the Chhetrapathi area, and we found this amazing square ful of little and larger temples, including a very colourful buddhist one. A true delight to the eye.
Old people's home at the Pashupati Bridhashram
There's a beautiful old people's home located at the Pashupati Bridhashram: it is run by the Missionaries of Charity and it provides assistanceto over 200 elderly, mostly Hindus I believe. It is possible to visit and the place is really charming. It is built in a square complex with a courtyard inside, where a white temple stands. These elderly people all have a sibngle room and spend theur days quitly by the temple... they are looked after and fed. As far as we were told, those people do not have any family and were "chosen" because they had no one who looked after them and no home to go to. The impression we had, is that they were serene.
Garden of Dreams
The Garden of Dreams is.. well, a garden. It's miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet it is just around the corner from Thamel, past the Moroccan Embassy. The garden is formal, with pavillions, a pond, well looked-after lawns and flowers... nothing to write home about, but one should really not go there for the flowers and grass. There's an entrance fee to pay (200 rupess if I remember correctly) but it is a good price to pay for a couple of hours of quietness.
This garden was built by Field Marshall Kaiser Shumsher (1892-1964), who was the son of Nepal's prime minister Chandra Shumsher, and later restored by an Austrian team. When you go there, other than relax, you can sample some Austrian Sacher Torte at the garden's posh restaurant.
The garden is open 9am-10pm, 7 days a week.
Drink in the cultural extravaganza of Bhaktapur
A visit to Bhaktapur would transport to another era! The fascinating architecture, the small winding lanes, shops selling exotic things -- are all sure to send you into joyful wonderment. You can visit Bhaktapur for just a day or choose to stay here for a weekend. There is much to see in and explore and also experience in Bhaktapur.
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