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Kathmandu Durbar Square: It’s one of the major attraction of Kathmandu valley. Located centrally in the city, the pulsating Kathmandu Durbar Square is a dreamland away from the honking of cars and the traffic jams. This old palace square is filled with people out for a stroll, marveling at the wonders of the place. On entering, visitors are greeted by the grand Nautalle Durbar (the Nine-story Palace). The structure emanates beautiful craftsmanship of an era gone by with its architecturally beautiful windows. Made out of wood and bricks, all the nine levels are not built in the same manner; in fact, on closer inspection, each level will resonate the beauty and style.While in Kathmandu Durbar Area, you also must visit The Kumari Ghar, The Gaddhi Baithak, Taleju Temple, Swet Bhairav, and Jagannath Temple. Also, do not forget to stroll around or have a coffee in the old Freak Street, which will transport you back to the hippie days.
Patan Durbar Square: Visit to Patan Durbar Square will provide you an entirely new perspective about the Kathmandu valley. The alleyways and little lanes in Patan Durbar Square are excellent pathways to discover the temples, architecture, and different bahl or bahis, open spaces between houses. The main attractions of the Durbar Square are the Patan Museum and Krishna Mandir. A short walk to the south from the central Durbar Square you can also visit Mahabuddha temple. Modeled after the Mahabodhi in Bodhgaya, India, the temple is believed to have been completed by an artisan and his sons in 1610 A.D. Intricately done works of the various images of Buddha in terracotta can be seen all over the temple. Similarly, a bit of a walk away from the Durbar Square you can also visit Golden Temple, a Newar Buddhist monastery. Some of the other attractions in Patan include Banglamukhi Temple, Temple of Rato Macchendranath. Apart from the many temples, the Durbar Square is famous as the pulse of its neighborhood with its food, ambiance, and lively crowds. Spend an entire day marveling at the old relics and share a seat with some of the seniors passing the time outside the Patan Museum.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square: About a half-an-hour drive from the central Kathmandu, is another architectural gem, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, which has over the years, remained hubs for not only touristic attractions but also for the expression of art and culture of the city. The Golden Gate at the entrance of the Durbar Square invites you into a world of art and architecture. An open space, dotted with pagoda-styled structures and architectural marvels dating from the Lichhavi and Malla periods, one is bound to get lost in the art of the place. Some of the must visit places in and around Bhaktapur Durbar Square include 55-Window Palace, the three-storied Bhairabnath Temple, the Pottery Square, and five-tiered Nyatapola temple, and Bhaktapur’s most famous attraction, the peacock window.
Swayambhunath: Perched high up one of Kathmandu’s hills stands the Swayambhunath, also known as monkey Temple. Rising above a cloud of buildings beneath, the temple is a perfect respite from the clamor of the city streets. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can enjoy the view from this ancient temple that overlooks the city of Kathmandu but at the same time keep your belongings and food items away from the monkeys’ sight.
Neydo Monastery: Nestled in the southern hills of Kathmandu, Neydo Monastery is the perfect refuge for peace lovers and enlightenment seekers. A relatively new structure, this lamasery is the ideal escape from the humdrum of city life. Built in 2006 by Karma Chagme Rinpoche, thought of as the seventh Lama to be reincarnated under the Neydo Kaygu tradition, this monastery is believed to house 200 trainee monks. For a tranquil experience, you can meditate along with the 200 other monks inside the monastery.
Pashupatinath Temple: A pilgrimage to Kathmandu is thought to be incomplete if respects are not paid to Lord Pashupatinath, God of the Animals and the holy temple of the god of death and destruction, Lord Shiva. Glistening in gold during the day and illuminated by lights at night, the temple complex is the most visited and revered holy site in Kathmandu. Although non-Hindus are not allowed inside the main temple complex, one can enjoy the magnanimity of the temple from across the river. Visitors are allowed to walk in and out freely in this area, the Arya Ghat, which stretches 0.19 kilometers, is considered the holiest Hindu cremation site.
Boudhanath: Off the bumpy and busy main road, you’re thrown into a whole different world when you enter the premises of Boudhanath. Surrounded by buildings, the Boudhanath Stupa’s white dome topped with a golden crest basks in the center, and the area is a vibrant ensemble of people, culture, religion and the city. Historically, the place used to be a resting place for traders coming into Kathmandu via Sankhu. Now, the area is congested with houses and is most commonly known for being inhabited by Tibetan refugees, with some even calling it Little Tibet. Come evenings, the Stupa lights up and the ambiance is even better with people lighting butter lamps and chanting prayers. Wine and dine in the area, attain inner peace – both in terms of your mind and stomach.
Nagarkot: High up at an elevation of 2,195 meters, romancing with the clouds and with a picturesque view of the rest of Kathmandu lies Nagarkot. A two-hour, 32-km drive away from the bustle of the Valley, this hill station in the district of Bhaktapur is the perfect getaway for locals and tourists alike. Offering a splendid view of the sunrise & mountain range, Nagarkot has increasingly become one of the more popular hill stations.
Pokhara: About 100 km away from Kathmandu lies Pokhara, one of the must visit cities when you are in Nepal. Popularly known as the Lake city, it is a haven for those who are looking to unwind. The winding roads, with the pristine Trishuli River flowing in the gorges below, is part of the fun of the trip. Lakeside is one of the trendy places in Pokhara where you can just stroll around, bike, or enjoy food and drink in one of the local cafes. Some of the major attraction of Pokhara include boating in the Phewa Lake up to Tal Barahi temple, or the Lake Temple, which is built right in the center of the lake; hike to Sarangkot and paragliding, as well as visit of Davis Falls and the International Mountain Museum.
Chitwan: A five to seven-hour journey from Kathmandu takes you to this wildlife heartland of Chitwan, which literally translates to Heart of the Jungle. Pulsating various lodges and numerous wildlife excursion activities, Chitwan has become a prime destination for those looking for an adventurous yet relaxed holiday and you are bound to soak in the true Chitwan experience. You can choose to venture on wildlife safaris, forest walks, boat rides, elephant rides into the forests and, most recently, elephant baths – wherein you get to sit on top of an elephant while it showers itself. Chitwan is also a bird lovers’ paradise, especially the Bishazari Tal, where you can spot a variety of them. In the evenings, do not forget to visit a local Tharu village and catch a glimpse of ethnic Tharu culture.