According to swayambhu Purana, Kathmandu was a huge and cavernous lake entitled “Nagdaha”, as it was full of snakes. The lake was cut drained by Bodhisatwa, Manjusri with his sword, and the water was expel out. Then, he made Dharmakar the ruler of the valley land. After sometime a demon known as “Banasur” closed the vent and the valley was turned into a lake. Then Lord Krishna came to Nepal, killed Banasur and again drained out the water, Lord Krishna brought some Gopals and declared that Bhuktaman was the king of Nepal.
Kathmandu is the largest metropolis city of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. It is located in bowl shaped valley in central Nepal and surrounded by Fulchowki, Chandragiri, Shivapuri and Nagarjun.The city of Kathmandu is identified after “Kastamandap temple” which stood in “Durbar Square”. “Kastha” and “mandap” are Sanskrit words which symbolize “wood” and “covered shelter”. The city was also known as “Kantipur” in Medieval Period. The word ‘Kantipur’ is derived from two Sanskrit words ‘kanti’ and ‘pur’. ‘Kanti’ stands for beauty which associates with light and ‘pur’ means place. Then, it represents as city of light.
The metropolis which has been the name of Newar culture in historical period known as “Nepal Mandala”. The Kathmandu valley World Heritage Sites is illustrated by seven groups of monuments and buildings include the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan, Bhaktapur (before the unification of Nepal on the 18th century, the three cities were independent states ruled by the Malla Kings), the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhu and Baudhhanath and the Hindu temples of Pashupatinath and Changunarayan. Kathmandu has been the center of Nepal’s history, art, culture and economy. Hinduism and Buddhism are the predominance with multi ethnic population.
Kathmandu is the capital of the kingdom which is an open air museum of famous sites, ancient temples, deities, shrines, historic artistic and cultural interest. There are beautiful and interesting villages and towns surrounding the valley offer ideal destination for mini treks. The beautiful Himalayan peaks are visible from several points on the mountains around the valley. The Kathmandu Valley has available of comfort and convenience boasting luxury hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and casinos. Transportation is convenient and is expensive. Medical service is good. Shoppers may purchase unusual gifts and memorandum from an interesting array of items such as handicraft, carpets, wooden at works, bronze, casting and metal work, than Nepali paper prints and readymade garments.
Kathmandu is sparkling city filled with deep spiritually and rich historically. There are hundreds of temples and shrines traditional villages and agriculture scattered around the valley. Kathmandu is an incredibly historic city with breath taking Newari architecture, centuries old Hindu and Buddhist religious sites along with dedicated tourist accommodations and restaurants. Kathmandu is the largest city of Nepal which is the political and cultural capital of the country. “Atithi Devo Bhava” defines as “Guest is equivalent to God” values of ancestors into the valley.
The Kathmandu valley has always been a melting pot for a various culture, religious, arts and crafts. According to ancient tradition, it is blessed by Living Goddess Kumari and is enriched by endless ceremonial processions and events that take to the streets every now and then with throngs of devotees seeking joy in spiritual celebrations. Kathmandu was ranked first in Asia and ranked third among the top ten for coming travel destination in the world by Trip Advisor in 2013. It is most important industrial and commercial center in Nepal. Tourism is a major source of income for most of the people in the city with several hundred and thousand visitors annually. In April 2015, Kathmandu valley was hit by earthquake and occurred thousands of deaths and destruction of many historical temples and infrastructures.
Venue to recognize:-
- Kathmandu Durbar Square:-
Kathmandu Durbar Square or Basantapur Durbar Square is also recognized as Hanuman Dhoka Square. There are three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is the plaza in front of the old royal palace of Kathmandu kingdom. The Kathmandu Durbar Square is the ancient seat of Malla Rulers of the Kathmandu Valley. Basantapur Durbar Square is crowded by Visitors and photographers. Besides, there is a museum with the antique collections of ancient Shah and Rana rulers. It is a place for those who can explore and learn the ancient history of our Great Nation “Nepal”. The Durbar Square is surrounded by picturesque architecture and clearly shows the skills of the Newari artists and craftsmen over several centuries. The royal palace was located at Dattaraya square and was moved to the Durbar Square location.
Kathmandu Durbar square was the place from which the kings of Malla and Shah Dynasty of Nepal ruled over the city. Historically, Durbar square establish as a Palace dates back to Lichhavi period in the 3rd century. When the Kathmandu Valley became independent under the rule of King Ratna Malla (1484-1570), palaces in this square became a royal palace for Malla Kings. In the 1769, King Prithvi Narayan Shah also recommended Kathmandu Durbar square for Palace. Then, other follower Shah Kings continued to rule from square until 1896 when they move to Narayanhiti Palace. Coronation of King Birendra Bir Bikram shah Dev and King Gyanendra Bir Bikram shah Dev in 1975 & 2001 respectively. This is a place of historical significance.
Among these cultural sites, the important is Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square. The name Hanumandhoka Durbar came from the statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram established by the King Pratap Malla at the entrance of the royal palace in 1672 A.D. The main Golden gate is guarded by the monkey God called Hanuman. King Prithvi Narayan Shah built storyed residence in 1770 which is called Basantapur Durbar. The Kathmandu Durbar Square is situated at the heart of ancient city in Kathmandu, srounding both Hindu and Buddhist temples. Most of them are built in Pagoda style decorate with complex sculpture. The Durbar Square are made up of two sub areas. The outer complex is famous for numerous interesting temples as Kumari Ghar, Kasthamandap, Shiva Parvathi, Jaganath Temple, Big Bell etc. while the inner complex comprises the old palace area, Hanuman-Dhoka and its courtyards as Nasal choke, Mul choke, Sundar choke, Basantapur Durbar and other. Now Nepal is a democratic country, people gather in Kathmandu Durbar Square in festivals like Indrajatra, Dashain, Gaijatra, Machindranath Jatra etc. to identify centuries of their old tradition. The major attraction in Kathmandu Durbar Square are Kasthamandap, Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple, Taleju Temple, Kumari Ghar, Basantapur tower Gaddi Baihav, Maru Ganesh, Mahadev Temple, Shiva Parvathi temple, Bhagawati temple, Krishna Octangular temple, Kal Bhairav and Jaganath temple. Most of temples were completely destroyed by the enormous earthquake of 25th April 2015.
The Taleju temple was built by King Mahendra Malla in 1562/4. Taleju Bhawani was originally a goddess from the south of India, she became titular deity or royal goddess of the Malla Kings in the 14th century. This temple is laying on a 12 stage plinth, the sanctuary is 36.6 meters high. The sanctuary is opened to general society only once in a year that is in Dashain. Taleju temples were erected in her honour in Patan and Bhaktapur as well as in Kathmandu. Taleju Bhawani was the tribe Goddess of the Malla Lord, who ruled Nepal from the 12th to 18th century which clarifies the presence of a Taleju temple in each of the valley’s three primary downtown areas.
A big brick building on Durbar Square in Kathmandu, the Kumari Ghar (or Kumari chowk) houses the living goddess of Kathmandu which was built in 1757. The temple is known for its magnificent carvings as well as its divine inhabitant. The south side of Durbar square, kumari Ghar is a three- story brick building richly decorated with wood carved reliefs of gods and symbols. Kumari virgin lady is recognized as Goddess in the Valley by both Hindus and Buddhists families. Kumari is selected from one specific dan called Shakya residing near by the square at around the age of 3 or 4 and brought up there in the palaces till her maturity. She is highly worshipped by the peoples and have strong belief on her. She lives in the Palace during the period and got chance to come out from the Palace in limited occasion only. Tourist can enter the courtyard, where there are more beautiful reliefs over the door, on the pillars and around the windows. The living Goddess sometimes appears in one of the first- floor windows, she is most likely to appear in the morning or late afternoon.
Kasthamandap was built in 16th century in a pagoda style. This temple was built under the reign of King Laxmi Narsingha Malla and there is a story about Kasthamandap that a tantric cursed a spell on one of the disciples of Machindranath, and as a punishment the disciples had to help him to build a temple in Kathmandu by providing the required materials. After the boon was bestowed, a huge tree started growing at the location where the present temple exists, with the wood of this single tree, the tantrik built the temple.
Kasthmandap was a three-storied shelter that included a shrine consecrated to Gorakhnath situated at Hanumandhoka. The word Kasthamandap literally translates to ‘wood shelter’ in English. It is known to have been constructed out of single Sal tree. It first served as a community center where devotees gathered for major religious and cultural ceremonies. Gorakhnath is the lord who protects cows, and form of the god Shiva. Later, it was turned into a temple dedicated to Gorakhnath, who was linked to the then royal family. It was destroyed by the earthquake 25th April 2015.
- Narayanhiti Palace Museum:-
The word Narayanhiti is made up of from two words “Narayan” and “hiti”. Narayan is a form of Hindu god Lord Vishnu, whose temple is located at the palace and hiti means water sprout, which is also located to the east of the main entrance in the grounds of the palace and which also has legends associated with it. The current Narayanhiti Durbar was built by King Mahendra in 1963. It is located in the north- central part of Kathmandu, and the entire enclosure surrounded by a compound wall, it is called the Narayanhiti Palace. This palace was on the occasion of the marriage of the then heir apparent to the throne, King Birendra Bikram Shah.
Narayanhiti Palace is one of the most interesting place to visit in Kathmandu. King Birendra and even queen Aishwarya along with six other royals were shot dead in June 2001 by crown Prince Dipendra, before he turned the weapon on himself. The apparent motive of the massacre were revenge as the King and queen refused to approve the prince’s marriage intentions. The palace is made up of 52 rooms, 19 of which are open to public and museum showcases the belongings of the farmer royal family. The last king to live in this Palace was king Birendra’s brother Gyanendra and his family .After Nepal was declared a secular and inclusive democratic republic, it has been turned into a museum and is open for all to visit.
- Pashupatinath Temple:-
Pashupatinath temple is located in Kathmandu, Nepal on the banks of the Bagmati River. The temple is associated with centuries of an ancient history and culture that amazes all who visit the temple for pilgrimage. Lord Shiva is the primary deity worshiped at this temple. Pashupatinath temple stands as a symbol of faith, religion, culture and tradition. It is one of the holiest temple in Nepal. According to legend, the Nepalamahatmya & the Himavatkhanda, the Hindu god Shiva fled from the other gods in Varanasi to Mrigasthali, the forest on the opposite bank of the Bagmati River from the temple, then in the form of gazelle, he slept with his consort Parvati when the gods discovered him there and tried to bring back to Varanasi, he leapt across the river to the opposite bank where one of his horns broke into four pieces. Then, Shiva became as Pashupati (Lord of animals) in a four faces (Chaturmukha) linga.
Pashupatinath temple stands in the center of town of Deopatan, in the middle of an open courtyard. It is a square, two tiered pagoda temple built on a single tier plinth. It stands 23.6 meters above the ground. The two level roofs of the temple are embellished with gold and the four main door are adorned with silver. The sanctum contains a one meter high linga with four faces representing Pashupati as well as images of Vishnu, Surya, Devi and Ganesh. The western door has a statue of a large Bull Nandi, is ornamented in gold. This black stone idol, above 6ft in height and circumstance, adds to the beauty and charisma of the temple. The priests of Pashupatinath are called Bhattas and chief priest is called Mool Bhatt or Raval. The struts under the roofs, dating from the late 17th century, are decorated with wood carvings of members of Shiva’s family, such as Parvati, Ganesh, Kumar or Yoginis as well as Hanuman, Rama, Sita, Lakshman, and other gods and goddesses from the Ramayana. The temple of Vasuki, the King of Nagas is small pagoda in the northeast corner of the temple courtyard. According to local belief, Vasuki took up residence here in order to protect Pashupatinath.
The Bagmati River which runs next to Pashupatinath temple has highly sacred properties. Thus, the banks are lined with many ghats fir use by pilgrims. Shiva is considered the patron of animals and all living organisms, monkeys and deers are wondering all around the temple complex on both banks of Bagmati. Teej and Maha Shivaratri are the major festivals of the Hindus on which day many devotees visit Pashupatinath temple. Non- Hindus are strictly prohibited to enter into the Pashupatinath temple. It is believed that those who die in Pashupatinath temple are reborn as a human, regardless of any misconduct that could worsen their Karma. It is a temple with special atmosphere of death; death is present in almost every ritual & every corner of it.
Dharahara became identified as Bhimsen tower or Bhimsen Stambha which was built in1832, by the Prime Minister during the time of Bhimsen Thapa of Nepal. It was completely collapsed in the earthquake of 25th April 2015. More than a hundred of people were killed on earthquake, when the tower destroyed. Thapa built the tower under the order of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari.
The tower was nine storey, a spiral staircase inside containings 213 steps and 25 steps outside it at the center of Sundhara in Kathmandu. The 8th floor held a circular balcony for observers that provides a panoramic view of the whole Kathmandu Valley. The tower had a 5.2 meter bronze mast on the roof. The purpose for construction of Dharahara was military. It was used as a watchtower. This assisted to transform message to the army men to assemble an urgent reason by blowing trumpet at the top floor of tower. The tower was religiously linked because there was Shivalinga (the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva) on top floor and a golden spire crowns it. It was designed in both Mughal and European Style. The tower was opened for the general public since 2005 with small fee, but destroyed completely in earthquake.
- Clock tower (Ghanta Ghar):-
Ghanta Ghar is the first public tower clock in Nepal, situated at the heart of the city of Kathmandu (near to Tri Chandra college) which was built by Rana Prime Minister Bir Shumser which is infront of Rani Pokhari. The word Ghanta Ghar is made up of two words, ”Ghanta” and “Ghar ”in Nepali connotation, “Hour” and “House” in English respectively. The word “Ghanta Ghar which means the house is used for looking hours or time. The original clock tower was designed after Big Ben of London, as western influence crept into Nepalese architecture during the Rana era, the Ghanta Ghar that stands today was rebuilt after the 1990 B.S.earthquake, standing on the site of the original after the tower was destroyed by the earthquake. It is the most noticeable landmarks in Kathmandu. Before, Ghanta Ghar was made, the residents of Kathmandu Valley had no scientific means of knowing the time. They deduced the time by feeling their wrists and watching the sun.
- Rani Pokhari:- Rani Pokhari defines as queen’s pond, originally known as “Nhu Pukhu” meaning new pond, is a historic artificial pond located in the heart of Kathmandu. The square –shaped tank dates from the 17th century, and was built on the side of the then city limits. It lies just outside a city gate. The pond is recognized for its religious and aesthetic significance and its dimensions are 180 m by 140m.
Rani Pokhari was built in 1670 A.D.by King Pratap Malla which is one of the most important monarchs of the Malla Dynasty that ruled Nepal for more than 600 years. Pratap Malla had the tank constructed to console his queen who was distraught with grief after their son was trampled to death by an elephant. He had water collected from various holy places and river confluences in Nepal and India like Gosaikunda, Muktinath, Badrinath, and Kedarnath. A large stone statue of an elephant bearing the images of Pratap Malla is situated on the tank’s southern embankment. The Pond is recharged by water flowing in through an underground channel. There are smaller temples situated at the four corners of the Pond, Bhairwa temple in the northwest and northeast, Mahalaxmi temple in the southeast and Ganesh temple in the southwest. Rani Pokhari is fenced with an iron bars and opened once a year during Bhai Tika, the fifth and final day of the Tihar. The world’s largest Chhath festival takes place every year in Rani Pokhari. The famed Rani Pokhari inscription of King Pratap Malla installed here is a stone slab with writings in three languages Sanskrit, Nepali, Nepal Bhasa. It is dated Nepal Sambat 790 & describes the construction of Rani Pokhari and it also mentions five Brahmins, five Pradhans and five Khas Magars as being witnesses.