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Kathmandu & Surroundings


Durbar Square : Asan : Swayambunath : Patan : Bodnath : Pashupatinath : Bhaktapur

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Durbar Square:

Location: Kathmandu Old City Centre

What It's Like:

Durbar Square is the central square in the old section of Kathmandu. It is also known as Hanuman Doka. Enclosed by magnificent medieval, multi-tiered, pagoda-style temples with intricately carved, erotic, temple-struts it is a World Heritage Site and a mandatory first stop on any visit to Durbar Square:Kathmandu. Kumari - the "Living Goddess" resides in one of the temples. The Old Royal Palace forms one side of the square and is now a large museum open to the public. The adjacent square of Basantapur is an extensive open air "antiques" and curio / souvenir market. Freak Street, the old haunt of the original hippies, runs along the far end of Basantapur from Durbar Square. Sitting on the temple terraces is an ideal place for meeting other tourists and trekkers. First time visitors can expect to be beseiged by rikshaw drivers, shoe-repair boys, khukri ( the famous large curved knife of the renowned Gurkha soldiers ) and jewellery sellers, freelance guides and students practising their English ( and looking for sponsors to pay for their education). Regrettably the Kathmandu Municipality have recently introduced entrance charges for tourists to Durbar Square.


Asan:

Location: Between Durbar Square and Thamel

Description: Local marketplace / shopping centre Asan Toll

What It's Like:

The 6 narrow streets, that radiate from the open air fruit and vegetable market surrounding the 3-storey high pagoda at Asan toll are probably the busiest in Kathmandu and are lined with a multitude of shops selling all kinds of household goods, clothing and footware. While items are mainly for local trade they include some of interest to visitors such as metalwork, woollen sweaters and rugs. Prices are generally cheaper than the inflated ones of the tourist oriented shops in Thamel but hard bargaining is still required for best prices.


Swayambunath:

Location: Outskirts of KathmanduSwayambunath - the Monkey Temple

What It's Like:

Known also as the "Monkey Temple" due to the hordes of monkeys frequenting the temple and its surroundings, the huge stupa of Swayambunath perched high on a hilltop on the outskirts of Kathmandu provides a fine outlook over the city and the great white wall of the Himalaya lining the northern horizon. Gained by a short walk from Durbar Square, followed by a never ending flight of stairs, Swayambunath can also be accessed on its far side by taxi or tourist bus. An archetypal structure with its hemispherical base, all-seeing eyes of Buddha on the four sides of a rectangular column looking to the four points of the compass and conical spire bedecked with fluttering prayer flags Swayambunath is a major venue for both tourists and the Nepalese.


Patan Durbar Square:Patan Durbar Square:

Location: c3Km from Kathmandu city centre

What It's Like:

The Durbar Square (central square) of the ancient royal city of Patan is comparable to, but different from, that of Kathmandu and is also a complex of medieval temples. Originally a separate entity, Patan is now a suburb of the ever expanding metropolis of Kathmandu and is easily reached by bicycle or tempo/taxi - a good day's outing. Many tourists prefer to stay in Patan as it is quieter and less congested than Kathmandu.


Bodnath:

Location: 10 minutes drive from Kathmandu centreBodnath Buddhist Stupa

What It's Like:

Situated on the outskirts of Kathmandu near the airport and within walking distance of Pashupatinath the great Buddhist stupa at Bodhnath is one of the largest in the World and the centre of Tibetan / Sherpa culture in Nepal. The circumference is ringed with prayer wheels and merit is obtained by making a clockwise circuit of the monument - even more if done prostrate! It is considered to be bad luck to go in the wrong direction! The outer rim of the courtyard enclosing the stupa is lined with stalls selling handicrafts and other curios / souvenirs.


Pashupatinath:Pashupatinath Hindu Temple

Location: c5 km from Kathmandu centre

What It's Like:

Situated on the outskirts of Kathmandu, close to the international airport and Bodnath, Pashupatinath with its burning gats on the banks of the Bagmati River is the main Hindu Temple . Access is only permitted for Hindus but views of the extensive temple complex are gained from terraces on the opposite side of the river.

 


Bhaktapur:Temple at Bhaktapur

 

Location: 15km east from Kathmandu

What It's Like:

Easily accessible by bicycle, taxi or trolley bus from Kathmandu the centre of the old royal city of Bhaktapur with its cluster of tall, medieval, multi-tiered, pagoda-style temples is now a conservation area. Renowned for the intricate wood-carvings on the ornate temples - in particular the "Peacock Window".

 




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