Nepal is well known for being home to Mount Everest and the Himalayas, a small landlocked country residing between India and China. It is a country characterized by its distinct cultures and is the only place where the living goddess Kumari is worshiped. It’s also the birthplace of Buddha, and as such, is home to many Hindu temples and Buddist monuments.
Kathmandu is Nepal’s capital city, nestled in one of the world most breathtaking landscapes. Despite being small and overcrowded it is filled with history, excitement, and culture. Definitely worth a visit if you want a raw experience rich in culture and tradition.
Swayambhunath is located on a hilltop and is also known as the ‘monkey temple’. Getting to the stupa requires climbing many steps ascending to the hilltop and once you have made your way to the top, you are greeted by an incredible view of the Kathmandu Valley. The Swayambhunath stupa is a sacred ancient structure possessing distinct architecture where large eyes are painted on, representing the eyes of the Buddha.
Bhaktapur is an ancient Newari city filled with traditional buildings, medieval squares and temples and is a place rich in local culture. The city is most renowned for its beautiful tapestries and various artisans working beside the square. Potters Square and the golden gate are just some of the sights you come across in Bhaktapur.
Patan possesses many old temples and palaces decorated with beautiful stonework and metal architectures. It has many tourist attractions including the Golden Temple, museums, and numerous temples. There is also Peace Gallery in Patan that exhibits powerful photos and images of Nepal’s civil war.
The Bodhnath Stupa is an ancient and holy Buddhist monument that symbolizes the path of enlightenment. From above, the stupa resembles a massive mandala and the base, on the other hand, is filled with a ring of prayer wheels and shrines. During Tibetan New year called Losar, Boudha is filled with celebration and festivities.
This beautiful palace in Kathmandu is an ancient and holy structure cloaked in red with a large umbrella sheltering it. In the entrance of the Hanuman Dhoka lies a Hanuman statue and many courtyards. However, due to the recent earthquake that hit Kathmandu, the palace has sadly lost some of its structural integrity.
Nagarkot is situated at the east of Kathmandu and if you want a breath-taking view of the mountains, the villages, the cloudy skies and the valley, this is a place worth stopping by. Watching the sunrise in Nagarkot is one of the most stunning things you can experience in Kathmandu.
This holy temple is situated near the Bagmati river and is one of the most sacred places visited by Hindus from all over the world. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and entry to it is restricted to Hindus only. Despite this, tourists can visit other parts of the temples and near the eastern river bank, you can get a really good view of the temple.
The white monastery is located on a hill near the Swayambunath stupa in which a short hike takes you up to the monastery. This monastery represents the rich cultures and architecture of Tibet and is filled with beautiful Buddhist murals, art, and statues. The atmosphere of Seto Gumba is very sacred where you experience peace and calmness reflected through the sounds and prayers that resonate within.
The countryside near Kathmandu is a great place for mountain biking where you can ride along the rivers and hills, explore the local area and immerse yourself in the culture. There are so many historic towns you can explore and many breath-taking views of the valley and mountains. There are many locals you can ride by and watch as they work on beautiful potteries and woodworks to the sound of looms.
Thamel is a great place for shopping and attracts a lot of tourists with its lovely markets and handcrafted goods. However, do be wary of swindlers that lurk around these bustling streets. You can ride around in a rickshaw and is a great place for dining. Thamel provides so much variety in its narrow busy streets, ranging from beautiful souvenirs, art, markets to restaurants, clubs, and nightlife.
Pratishta Panday, Travel writer