Kathmandu Heritage Site Tour takes you on a journey of discovery to some of the city’s iconic UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spend one day in Kathmandu experiencing its rich cultural heritage. Visit a medieval palace square and ancient spiritual sites that are as old as the city itself. Explore Kathmandu Durbar Square, the royal seat of Malla dynasty that once ruled over the medieval kingdom of Kathmandu. It is one of the most visited places in Kathmandu. Temples, royal quarters, courtyards and the house of Kumari, the Living Goddess dots the royal square. Intricately carved wooden struts, windows, and brass detailing decorate pagoda-roofed temples and royal buildings. These historical monuments showcase Kathmandu’s rich art and architecture. Moreover, the durbar square is an important socio-cultural site of the valley’s Newari community.
Swayambhunath Temple’s origin is closely linked to the creation of Kathmandu Valley. The compassionate eyes of the Buddha watch over the city from the top of the stupa. Sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, the hilltop temple offers panoramic views of the city. The ancient Hindu temple of Pashupatinath is one of the most important Hindu shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. ‘Pashupatinath’, means ‘protector of all living beings’. The Hindu cremation site of Arya Ghat lies nearby, on the banks of the holy river Bagmati. Hindus believe that the souls of those cremated here find their way straight to heaven. Additionally, complete a kora (circumambulation) around Boudhanath Stupa, the biggest Buddhist stupa in Nepal. Boudhanath, apart from being an iconic landmark, is an important pilgrimage center for followers of Tibetan Buddhism. The large dome of the stupa sits atop a giant mandala. Discover the valley’s rich cultural treasures by joining this Kathmandu City Tour. If you are looking for a longer tour and want to visit all the popular tourist destinations in the country, you can try our Best of Nepal Tour. For a complete Himalayan cultural tour visit the cultural gems of both Nepal and Bhutan by booking our popular Jewels of Bhutan and Nepal Tour.
Departure Time: 9 AM
Duration: 1 day (6 hours approx.)
Starting & Ending Point: Your hotel
Kathmandu Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Swayambhunath
Activities: Historical, Cultural and Religious tour
Built by Malla kings during the 15th and 16th centuries, the gems of the palace square include Kumari Bahal or the House of the Living Goddess, Hanuman Dhoka Palace Museum, Taleju Temple, Mul Chowk, Nasal Chowk, Nau Taale Durbar, shrine of Kaal Bhairav etc. The House of Kumari or the Living Goddess, built by King Jaya Prakash Malla in 1757 AD, lie in the southern part of the durbar square. Worshipped as the manifestation of Goddess Durga, the Kumari is a pre-pubescent girl from the Newari community. Nepalese seek her blessings believing that the goddess resides in her body. Inside the Hanuman Dhoka Palace are courtyards and living quarters of the Malla and Shah kings. One can view artifacts and photographs of the Shah royals and Rana aristocrats at the Hanuman Dhoka Palace Museum. The pogoda-roofed Taleju Temple, dedicated to Goddess Taleju (patron goddess of Nepalese royals) lies near the old palace.
Drive to the base of a green hill and climb the steps to Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple). According to a popular legend Kathmandu was once a huge lake. Boddhisattva Manjushri built Swayambhu after draining this lake. Several Buddhist and Hindu shrines surround the large white dome of the stupa. Dotting the temple complex are shrines of Harati Mai (the goddess of children and smallpox), Saraswati (the goddess of learning) and Shantipur (the resting place of a Tantric guru). A Buddhist Monastery and a museum also lie in the temple precint.
Pashupatinath tour takes you to one of the holiest sites for devotees of Lord Shiva. Lying beside the sacred Bagmati River, the gilded pagoda-roofed temple dates back to 400AD. The Pashupatinath temple was renovated in the seventeenth century after the original structure was destroyed by termites. A large bronze statue of Nandi the ‘Bull’, the sacred vahana(vehicle) of Lord Shiva guards the entrance. According to legend as Lord Shiva is the protector of cattle, especially cows, his vehicle is ‘Nandi’, the Bull. Nandi is also worshipped and he grants boons and fulfill wishes of his devotees. Several smaller temples and ashrams surround the main temple. The Hindu cremation site of Arya Ghat lies below the temple. Hindus believe that cremating the dead at Arya Ghat helps the dead attain salvation.
Offer prayers at the main shrine if you are a Hindu. Non-Hindus can view the pagoda-roofed temple and the cremation site of Arya Ghat from the eastern bank of Bagmati River. Ponder about the impermanence of life while observing the cremation rites. The temple is also home to several ash-smeared sadhus in colourful garb. Seek their blessings and take pictures with them. During the devastating 2015 earthquake, Pashupatinath Temple was the only world heritage site in Kathmandu which did not suffer any damage. While many of the ancient heritage sites suffered significant damages, this Hindu temple stood firm and tall. Hindus believe it was because of divine intervention. The importance of this holy site has increased since then.
Boudhanath Stupa is one of the sacred sites for Buddhists. According to local legend the remains of Kasyapa Buddha; an incarnation of Lord Buddha; lie beneath the stupa. Walk around the white stupa in a clockwise direction spinning the prayer wheels (147 in total). Light a butter lamp and say a little prayer. Step on the giant mandala and take pictures beneath the fluttering prayer wheels. Here you will come across a lot of Tibetan pilgrims as this is an important centre of Tibetan Buddhism. Curio shops, restaurants and a Buddhist monastery surround the stupa.
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