Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and the largest city in Nepal. The city is situated in Kathmandu Valley that also contains two other cities – Patan and Bhaktapur. The original inhabitants of Kathmandu are called Newars, who speak a language called Nepal Bhasa. However, Nepali is the lingua franca of the valley and the most widely spoken language.
|Day 01:||Arrival at Kathmandu International Airport, welcome transfer to the hotel and rest of the day free for leisure. Overnight at hotel.|
|Day 02:||Full day Sightseeing of Swambhunath Stupa & Kathmandu Durbar Square. Overnight at hotel.
Swambhunath: A journey up to the Buddhist temple of Swambhunath is one of the definitive experiences of Kathmandu. Mobbed by the monkeys and soaring above the city on a lofty hilltop, the â€œmonkey templeâ€ is a fascinating, chaotic jumble of Buddhist and hindu iconography.
The compound is centered around a gleaming white stupa, topped by a gilded spire painted with the eyes of the Buddha. Depictions of these eyes appear all over the Kathmandu Valley. Coming to Swambhunath is an intoxicating experience, with ancient carvings jammed into every spare inch of space and the smell of incense and butter lamps hanging heavy in the air. The mystical atmosphere is heightened in the morning and evening by the local devotees who make a ritual circum-navigation of the stupa, spinning the prayer wheels set into it’s base. It is a great place to watch the sunset over Kathmandu.
Kathmandu Durbar Square: Kathmandu’s Durbar Square was where the city’s kings were once crowned and legitimised, and from where they ruled. As the square remains the traditional heart of the old toen and Kathmandu’s most spectacular legacy of traditional architecture, even though the king no longer lives in the Hanuman Dokha.
Although most of the square dates from the 17th & 18th century, many of the buildings are much older. The entire square was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979.
The Durbar Square area is actually made up of three loosely linked squares. To the south is the open Basantapur square area, a former royal elephant stables. The main Durbar square area, with its popular watch the world go by temples is to the west.
Running the north east is a second part of Durbar Square, which contains the entrance to the Hanuman Dokha and an assortment of temples.
|Day 03:||Full day Sightseeing of Pashupatinath Temple and Boudhanath Stupa. Overnight at hotel.
Pashupatinath Temple: Only hindus are allowed to enter the compound of this famous temple, but you can catch tantalizing glimpses of what is going on inside from several points around the perimeter wall. From the main gate on the west side of the compound, you can view the mighty golden behind of an enormous brass statue of Shivas Bull. Inside the shrine, hidden from the view, is a black, four headed image of Pashupatinath. Lord of the beasts.
The pagoda-style temple was constructed in 1696 but Pashupatinath has been a site of Hindu and Buddhist worship for far longer. If you climb between the terraces and ceremonial cisterns to the west of the temple, you can look down on the gilded rooftop which cascades down into the two wide tiers. There are more views from the top of the terraces on the east of the Bagmati. If you follow the road running south from the side entrance to the temple, you will pass the Panch Deval(Five Temples), a former temple complex that now acts as a social welfare centre for destitute old people.
Boudhanath Stupa: There is nowhere quite like Boudhanath. This enormous stupa pulses with life as thousands of pilgrims gather daily to make a ritual cicum-navigation of the dome, beneath the watchful eye of the Buddha, which gaze out from the gilded central tower. This is one of the few places in the world where Tibetan Buddhist culture is accessable and unfettered, and the lanes around the stupa are crammed with monasteries and workshops producing butter lamps, ceremonial horns, Tibetan drums, singing bowls, plumed hats for lamas and other essential paraphernalia for Buddhist life.
Historically, the stupa was an important staging post on the trade route between Lhasa and Kathmandu, and Tibetans traders would pray here for a safe journey before driving their yaks on to the high passes of the Himalaya.
|Day 04:||Full day sightseeing of Bhaktapur City. Overnight at hotel.
Bhaktapur: The third of the medieval city states in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is also the best preserved. Many nepalis still use the old name of Bhadgaon or the Newari name Khwopa, meaning city of Devotees. The name fits- Bhaktapur ahas not one but three major squares full of towering temples that comprise in the country. This grandeur is set against a surprisingly rural backdrop-many local still make a living farming the fields around Bhaktapur and the streets are full of drying crops and the farmers winnowing rice and wheat using wicker baskets and electric fans. The townâ€™s cultural life is also proudly on display. Artisans weave cloth and chisel timber by the roadside, squares are filled with drying pots drying pots and open kilns and locals gather in communal courtyards to bathe, collect water and socialize- often over intense card games.
|Day 05:||: Full day sightseeing of Patan Durbar Square. Overnight at hotel.
Patan: Once a fiercely independent city state, Patan is now almost a suburb of Kathmandu, separated only by the river Bagmati. Many locals still call the city by its original name, Yala. Almost anyone who comes to Kathmandu also visits Patan’s spectacular Durbar Square- arguably the finest collection of temples and palaces in the whole of Nepal. Patan has a long Buddist history, which has even had an influence on the towns hindu temples. The four corners of the city are marked by stupas said to have been erected by the great Buddhist emperor Ashoka in around 250 B.C.
|Day 06:||Transfer to airport for the final departure.|