Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing
April 23, 2023

Kathmandu has often been by some as a flawless jewel in a unique setting. No other place in the world has the concentration of culture, art and tradition that exists in the Kathmandu valley (1300m.). Kathmandu is the crossroads for the many ethnic groups of Nepal and for visitors from all over the world every year. Nestled in the central hills of Nepal, Kathmandu is at once medieval and modern. The Kathmandu valley Tour sprawls at the junction of two sacred rivers, Bagmati and Bishnumati. Just cross the Bagmati River to the south is Patan, on ancient city of temples, while Bhadgaon with its thousands of homes and temples shrines lies six miles to the east. More then two hundred years ago these three cities housed the Royal places of three different kingdoms that divided the valley palaces surviving today.

They say there are more temples than houses in Kathmandu valley in past. Great temples with heavily carved exteriors, massive white-domed Buddhist stupas and hundreds of smaller Buddhist chaityas small temples with low, ornate archways-and tiny temples containing once lone idol all are an integral pieces of the unique mosaic that is Kathmandu city. To really discover the Kathmandu valley you need to begin exploring from well beyond the city limits, and travel in from the outside of Nepal in order to touch its roots. Fortunately there are many very beautiful walks within the Kathmandu valley that combine cultural experience and natural heritage.

Kathmandu is a city in Nepal that is known for its rich cultural heritage, art, and tradition. It is located in the central hills of Nepal, at an elevation of 1,300 meters above sea level. The city is situated at the junction of two sacred rivers, the Bagmati and the Bishnumati, and is surrounded by the beautiful Himalayan Mountains.

Kathmandu is a melting pot of different ethnic groups from Nepal, and also attracts visitors from all over the world. The city is a mix of both medieval and modern elements, making it a unique and fascinating place to explore.

The Kathmandu valley is home to many ancient temples, stupas, chaityas, and shrines, which are all an integral part of the city’s cultural heritage. In fact, it is said that there are more temples than houses in the valley. The temples are heavily carved, and the stupas are white-domed and massive, creating a beautiful mosaic that is unique to Kathmandu.

To fully appreciate the beauty and culture of Kathmandu, it is recommended to explore the city from the outside in. There are many beautiful walks within the valley that offer a combination of cultural experiences and natural heritage. In addition, there are many historical sites, such as the Royal palaces of the three different kingdoms that once divided the valley, which are still standing today.

Anyway, Kathmandu is a beautiful and culturally rich city that is a must-visit for anyone interested in history, art, and tradition.

Bhaktapur Visit in Kathmandu

Bhaktapur Durbar Square-

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Bhaktapur, a city in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. It is one of the three ancient royal palace squares in the valley, along with Kathmandu Durbar Square and Patan Durbar Square. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture, rich cultural heritage, and artistic masterpieces.

Here is a detailed overview of Bhaktapur Durbar Square:

Historical Significance of Bhaktapur Durbar Square:

Bhaktapur Durbar Square was once the royal palace of the Bhaktapur Kingdom and served as the center of religious, cultural, and administrative activities. It dates back to the 12th century and showcases the artistic and architectural achievements of the Malla dynasty.

Architecture and Structures:

The square is home to numerous temples, palaces, courtyards, statues, and other architectural marvels. Some notable structures include:

The Palace of Fifty-Five Windows (Pachpanna Jhyale Durbar): This palace, built by King Bhupatindra Malla, is famous for its exquisite wooden carvings and the 55 intricately carved windows.

Nyatapola Temple:

This five-story pagoda-style temple is dedicated to the goddess Siddhi Lakshmi. It is one of the tallest and most beautiful pagoda structures in Nepal and showcases stunning craftsmanship.

Bhairavnath Temple:

This temple is dedicated to the fierce deity Bhairava. It features intricate wood carvings and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area from its upper level.

Golden Gate:

The Golden Gate is the entrance to the main courtyard of the Palace of Fifty-Five Windows. It is adorned with intricate golden carvings and is considered a masterpiece of Newar artistry.

Vatsala Temple:

This temple is dedicated to the goddess Vatsala Devi and features exquisite stone carvings depicting mythological scenes and deities.

Artistic Masterpieces:

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is renowned for its exquisite woodcarvings, stone sculptures, metalwork, and pottery. The craftsmanship displayed in the temples, windows, doors, and other structures is a testament to the artistic skills of the Newar artisans.

Festivals and Celebrations in Bhakatapur:

The square serves as a vibrant cultural hub, and various festivals and religious ceremonies are held here throughout the year. Major festivals like Bisket Jatra, Dashain, and Tihar are celebrated with great enthusiasm, showcasing traditional music, dance, and religious rituals.

Museums and Galleries:

Bhaktapur Durbar Square houses several museums and galleries that provide insights into the history, art, and culture of the region. These include the National Art Gallery, Woodcarving Museum, Brass and Bronze Museum, and Pottery Square.

Visiting Bhaktapur Durbar Square offers a chance to immerse yourself in the rich heritage and architectural grandeur of the Kathmandu Valley. Exploring the square’s intricately designed temples, admiring the exquisite craftsmanship, and witnessing the traditional lifestyle and festivals of the local community make it a captivating cultural experience.

Please note that due to the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, some structures in Bhaktapur Durbar Square were damaged. Restoration efforts have been ongoing, and while some parts may still be under renovation, the square remains a fascinating destination for travelers seeking to appreciate Nepal’s cultural heritage.

Short history of Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a historic site located in the city of Bhaktapur, Nepal. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, along with those in Kathmandu and Patan. The square holds immense cultural and historical significance, serving as the heart of Bhaktapur’s ancient kingdom.

The origins of Bhaktapur Durbar Square date back to the 12th century when the city of Bhaktapur was established. It grew in prominence during the Malla dynasty, which ruled over the Kathmandu Valley from the 12th to the 18th century. The Malla kings were great patrons of art, architecture, and culture, and they contributed to the development and beautification of the Durbar Square.

Over the centuries, Bhaktapur Durbar Square became the center of religious, social, and administrative activities. The square was adorned with palaces, temples, and other architectural marvels, showcasing the exquisite craftsmanship of the Newar artisans. The Malla kings and their successors added various structures, including the famous 55-Window Palace, the Golden Gate, and the Nyatapola Temple, among others.

However, the square suffered significant damage during the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015. Many of the temples and buildings in Bhaktapur Durbar Square were destroyed or severely damaged, leading to the loss of invaluable cultural heritage. The earthquake was a tragic event for Nepal and its cultural legacy.

Since the earthquake, extensive restoration and reconstruction efforts have been undertaken to preserve and revive Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Local and international organizations, along with the Nepalese government, have worked together to restore the damaged structures and revive the square’s former glory.

Today, Bhaktapur Durbar Square stands as a symbol of resilience and preservation of Nepal’s rich cultural heritage. It continues to attract visitors from around the world who come to witness its exquisite architecture, intricate wood carvings, and religious sanctity. The square serves as a living museum, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of Nepal’s ancient history and the artistic brilliance of the Newar civilization.

Patan Durbar Square Visit-

Patan Durbar Square, located in the city of Patan (also known as Lalitpur), is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. Known for its rich cultural heritage and ancient architecture, Patan Durbar Square is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and travelers alike.

Patan Durbar Square Visit

The history of Patan Durbar Square dates back to the Licchavi period, which began in the 3rd century. Patan was one of the three major kingdoms in the Kathmandu Valley, along with Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. The city flourished as a center of art, religion, and trade under the reign of the Malla dynasty from the 14th to the 18th century.

Patan Durbar Square became the center of royal power and governance for the Malla kings. They commissioned the construction of numerous palaces, temples, and courtyards, reflecting their patronage of the arts and culture. The square was a hub of religious and social activities, with various festivals, rituals, and ceremonies taking place there.

The architectural wonders of Patan Durbar Square showcase the intricate Newari craftsmanship. The square is adorned with stunning palaces like the Krishna Mandir (Krishna Temple) and the Sundari Chowk, which served as the private residence of the royal family. The Golden Temple, Kumbheshwar Temple, and the Taleju Bhawani Temple are among the many other magnificent structures that grace the square.

Similar to Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square suffered significant damage during the 2015 earthquake. However, restoration work has been carried out diligently to preserve and revive the historic structures. Many of the temples and palaces have been rebuilt, and efforts are ongoing to ensure the conservation of Patan’s cultural heritage.

A visit to Patan Durbar Square offers a unique opportunity to explore the ancient Newari architecture, observe traditional craftsmanship, and immerse oneself in the rich history and culture of the Kathmandu Valley. The square also houses several museums, such as the Patan Museum, which display exquisite artifacts, sculptures, and paintings, providing deeper insights into the region’s art and history.

Beyond the Durbar Square itself, the city of Patan offers charming narrow streets, bustling markets, and vibrant communities. Exploring the local neighborhoods and interacting with the friendly locals add to the overall experience of visiting Patan. It is a place where ancient traditions and modern life coexist, creating a fascinating atmosphere for travelers to discover.

Short History of Patan Durbar Square-

Patan, also known as Lalitpur, is one of the oldest cities in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. It has a rich and diverse history that dates back over two millennia. Here is a brief overview of the history of Patan:

Ancient Origins:

The earliest recorded history of Patan dates back to the 3rd century BC when it was known as Lalitapura (City of Beauty).
It was founded by the Kirat dynasty and later became a prominent city-state under the Licchavi dynasty in the 4th century AD.
Licchavi and Malla Period:

Patan flourished during the Licchavi period (4th to 9th century AD) as a center of trade, art, and culture.
It became a major hub for Buddhism and Hinduism, attracting scholars, artists, and religious practitioners.
In the 14th century, Patan came under the rule of the Malla dynasty, which greatly contributed to its architectural and cultural development.
Golden Age of Art and Architecture:

The Malla kings were great patrons of art and architecture, resulting in the construction of numerous palaces, temples, and public squares.
Patan Durbar Square, the royal palace complex, became a center of power and cultural activities, showcasing the exquisite Newari craftsmanship.
The city witnessed the creation of stunning temples, statues, and intricate woodcarvings, exemplifying the unique Newari architectural style.
Unification of Nepal:

In the late 18th century, the Shah dynasty of Gorkha initiated a campaign to unify the various city-states of the Kathmandu Valley.
Patan, along with Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, came under the rule of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, marking the unification of modern-day Nepal.
Modern Era:

During the Rana regime in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Patan faced some neglect and destruction of heritage sites.
However, efforts to preserve and restore the city’s cultural heritage gained momentum in the latter half of the 20th century.
Today, Patan remains a vibrant city known for its well-preserved ancient architecture, rich cultural heritage, and strong artistic traditions. Its historical sites, including Patan Durbar Square, temples, monasteries, and traditional Newari neighborhoods, continue to attract visitors from around the world, providing a glimpse into the glorious past of this ancient city.

Ariana Lopes
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