Interesting places in Nepal
Annapurna National Park is famous for its Tibetan temples, monasteries and hot mineral springs. Through its territory passes pilgrims to the sacred towns of Mustang Kagbeni and Muktinath, where Hindus, Buddhists and followers of the Bon religion peacefully coexist.
Bodnath or Bouddanath is a Buddhist temple complex on the outskirts of Kathmandu, one of the most notable in the Nepalese capital. There is a large Buddhist stupa in the center of Bodnath, and around it are Tibetan monasteries of various schools and trends.
The Bhimsen Tower or Dharahara was originally built in 1832. Standing 76.2m high, it was one of the most visible structures in “low” Kathmandu, which was no wonder given its purpose.
Kumari Ghar is the temple of Goddess Kumari, the residence of the living personification of the deity, the incarnation of Goddess Taleju, the militant Hindu goddess Durga. Kumari means “virgin” and in Kathmandu she is considered the most influential deity.
An amazing corner of nature and human unity, harmony and self-contemplation can be found within the walls of Kopan Monastery, a popular place in Nepal for the study of Tibetan Buddhism. The meditation abode is located just north of the Boudnath Stupa, on top of a hill, and the views are delightful.
Pashupatinath is a Hindu temple complex located within walking distance of the Bodnath Stupa, east of Kathmandu. This temple is an important religious shrine, the oldest Hindu temple of Shiva in the guise of Pashupati, the king of the animals.
Durbar Square in Kathmandu
There are three squares in the Kathmandu Valley listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Durbar Square in Patan, Durbar Square in Bhaktapur and Durbar Square in Kathmandu. “Durbar” means “place of palaces” in Nepali, the name given here to the squares where the old royal palaces are located.
Sagarmatha National Park (Sanskrit for “The Face of Heaven”), located northeast of Kathmandu, received its proud title in July 1976. The park is home to several rare animal species, including the snow leopard and the lesser panda.
Kathmandu’s Durbar Square is sacred to Nepalis, both devout and sacred, and to tourists. It is on this small piece of land that the most important landmarks of Nepal’s capital are located.
Danshinkali Temple is a surprising, mysterious and even a bit frightening place. Lost in the southern part of the Kathmandu Valley, this revered Hindu temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali. And she, as we know, was the wife of the god Shiva.
The Royal National Park Chitwan (Chitwan, “Forest of Leopards”) – National Park in Nepal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located 200 km from Kathmandu. Until 1973 the park was a favorite hunting ground of the Nepalese kings.
Mountains of Nepal
Many tourists go to this amazing country for the grandiose range of mountain peaks. Nepal has eight of the world’s highest peaks: Jomolungma (8848 meters in height), Kanchenjunga (8598 meters), Makalu (8475 meters), Dhaulagiri (8167 meters), as well as the famous Annapurna and Machapukchi massifs. The mountains of Nepal are wrapped with thousands of trails through the most picturesque places, which are daily conquered by trekkers. The population centers of Nepal are concentrated in the bosom of the Kathmandu Valley, where the three capitals of the country are located: the modern Kathmandu and the two old Lalitpur (Patan) and Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon).
Any climbing of Nepal’s mountain peaks without special permission is illegal. There are 438 mountain peaks in Nepal, of which 326 are permitted to climb and 112 are not. Mount Everest has a special status. All climbs are paid, the cost of permission – from 43 to 25,000 USD, depending on the status of the mountain, the season and the number of members of the expedition.
Dzhomolungma (Everest or Sagarmatha) – the highest peak on Earth, the goal of many climbers. Located on the border between Nepal and China, in the Himalayas, and the peak itself is located in China and is part of the Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal.
Kanchenjunga, or (Kanchinjunga, is located on the border between Nepal and India and consists of five peaks. There is a legend in Nepal that Kanchenjunga is a female mountain that kills all women who try to conquer its peak.
The town of Pokhara is called the hippie capital of the world in the 1970s, and it’s also the starting point for many treks through Annapurna National Park. The most famous treks are the Annapurna Base Camp, the Jomsom Trek, the King’s Trek and the Annapurna Great Ring, and the 4-day Annapurna Skyline route. Natural attractions (Devil’s Falls, the limestone caves of Mahendra Gufa and Rupa) here are in harmony with man-made structures (Tibetan settlements, a hilltop monastery). From Katamandu to Pokhara can be reached by bus in 8 hours.
Rafting in Nepal
You can’t think of a better place for rafting than Nepal. The mountain rivers originating in the Himalayas offer an opportunity to try white water rafting (literally “white water rafting”) of any difficulty level. You can also go white water rafting in lightweight plastic boats called kayaks.
Capital of Nepal
Kathmandu is a lively big city that has managed to retain its identity and charm of the last century: narrow, meshed streets, squeezed between the houses of bizarre architecture, piles of temples and sacred stupas. Meanwhile, Kathmandu, filled with exotic scents and motley crowds, flows seamlessly into Lalitpur, merging with the emerald hills of Nagarjun Nature Reserve.
The city’s streets are brightest lit by the wooden temple of Kasthamandal, which gave the city its name. Jaishi Deval, the temple of Shiva, covered with amazing carvings of erotic content, the temple of the god of heaven Akash Bhairav majestically rises among the pointed tops of the temples Jagannath, Ashok Vinayak, Sveta Machhendranath (Janmadio). And the colossal size of the Taleju Temple is open to visitors only once a year.
The Stupas of Kathmandu
An architectural feature of Nepal’s landmarks are the numerous stupas, dome-shaped religious buildings where religious relics are kept. The largest stupas are Swayambhunath (Swayambhu), located in the Monkey Temple, built more than 2 thousand years ago on a hill in the northwestern part of the city, and Budnath – the largest stupa in Nepal, which is included in the UNESCO list. A large area of monasteries on the northeastern outskirts of the city and the temple complex Pashupati (Pashupatinath, Shiva Temple) on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River, stunning for its famous two-tiered gold roof and silver doors.
Squares of Kathmandu
The unique variety of squares in Kathmandu is another reason to check out the capital of Nepal. The heart of the city is the central Palace Square (Hanuman Dhoka) with the Nautalle Palace, which houses the Dynasty Museum, the Numismatic Museum and the Tribhuvan Museum. Nearby is the historical district of the Ideal City of the Nevari people, where you can see at least a thousand miniature temples.
The tradition of the locals to erect a stupa or a temple dedicated to a deity in their courtyards, formed a unique look of the city. It is worth seeing the luxurious palace of Singh Darbar, which in recent years has occupied the secretariat of the government, as well as Taumadhi Tole Square with a five-tier pagoda Nyatapole. The old town of Tundikhel is famous for its famous Dharahara Tower. Until a couple of years ago, it offered a stunning view of the surrounding area, but in April 2015, an earthquake destroyed most of the tower, and now you can only see its ruins. For history buffs, the Kaiser Library, a center for rare books and manuscripts, opens its doors daily. For shopping, head to the legendary Yak & Yeti Hotel in the touristy district of Tamel. Its history began with the fact that in the former palace of the Russian traveler Boris Lissanevich opened a restaurant, which became a big success. Seeing this, the country’s authorities renovated the palace and arranged there a 5-star hotel.
Temples of Nepal
On the outskirts of Kathmandu are the Gokarnath Temple, the Vishwarut temple complex, and the Chandra Vinayak Temple in Chabahila, famous for its huge sculpture park. In the Chobhar Gorge, the magnificent Adinath Temple is hidden from prying eyes. Here also, on the top of the hill, is the small Adinath temple, from which there is a beautiful view of the mountain peaks.
Budhanilakantha, the most important shrine to the god Vishnu at the foot of Mount Shivapuri, 9 km north of Kathmandu, is notable for the 6-meter statue of Vishnu lying on the back of the nine-headed serpent Ananta in the center of the pond. Visitors are only allowed to lay sacrificial offerings and touch Vishnu’s feet. The Guhishwari temple complex near the Pashupatinath temple was built in honor of Goddess Sati (Parvati), the wife of Shiva. It is the oldest religious building in Kathmandu valley and the entrance to the shrine is only allowed to Hindus.
In the city of Lalitpur, the “temple map” is also colorful and varied: Krishna Mandir temple, Rudravarn Mahabihar Buddhist monastery, former coronation site of Nepalese kings, Aksheswar Mahabihar temple, Jagannaraya temple, Hiranya Varna Mashavishar sanctuary, architectural replica of the Bodhyaga temple in India where Buddha gained enlightenment, Mahabodha temple and Visankhu Narayan temple are here.
Bhaktapur is home to over a dozen Vishnu (Narayana) temples, the Shiva-Parvati temple popular with tourists, and the Batsala Devi temple with the “Barking Dog Bell”. Changu Narayan is another ancient Kathmandu Valley shrine dedicated to Narayana (Vishnu) and built on top of a mountain range 5 km north of Bhaktapur. And the Surya Binayak temple, a temple of the god Ganesha, is built so that the first rays of the sun penetrate the structure.
Lumbini is a town that is considered the birthplace of the Buddha. Here is the temple of Shiva – Pashupatinath, a place of attraction for every Hindu; also here, surrounded by temples and sacred ponds live yogi ascetics, perfectly mastering their bodies.
Kathmandu Valley Temples
In the southern Kathmandu Valley, in a place shrouded in dark secrets, is the Dakshinkali Temple, dedicated to the six-armed goddess Kali, the bloodthirsty incarnation of the consort of the god Shiva. Twice a week the Nepalese sacrifice buffalo, chickens, ducks, goats, sheep and pigs here.
The famous ancient pagoda temple of Ichangu Narayan, the most important shrine dedicated to Vishnu 3 km northwest of Swayambunath is a permanent place of pilgrimage for the faithful. Four Narayana temples are also considered key in the Kathmandu valley: the Sekh (Shesh) Narayan Temple southwest of Kathmandu, Changu Narayan, Bishankhu Narayan in Patan and Ichangu Narayan. The Vajra Varaha temple 10 km south of Patan near Chapagaon village was erected in honor of Lord Varaha, an avatar of Vishnu in the form of a boar.
Namobuddha is rightly considered the most famous stupa in the valley. It is built at the site where, according to legend, 5,000 years ago Shakyamuni Buddha sacrificed his body to a hungry tigress.
Top 21 Best Sights in Nepal
Nepal, lost in the snow-covered Himalayas, offers a surprisingly rich and unusual vacation.
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What to do in Nepal
Fans of extreme and nature will want to visit the local national parks. Annapurna is 3 peaks over 8 thousand meters high. To conquer them – a task exclusively for trained climbers. Fans of hiking are welcomed in the Sagarmatha Reserve. Trekking routes pass through the most picturesque places.
To enjoy the architecture, the world of Hindu myths and Buddhist philosophy, you should visit temples and pagodas. The most important structures are located in Kathmandu, the capital of the state. The all-seeing eyes of the Buddha on the Bodnath Stupa stir the imagination.
Kumari Ghar is the home of the girl goddess, the earthly incarnation of Kumari. And the Swayambhunath temple ensemble with its rich and ancient history can be viewed for hours.
Annapurna National Park, located on the southern part of the Himalayan range, has 3 mountain peaks: the Middle (8010 m), Eastern (8000 m), and Main (8091 m) Annapurna. The last peak is the tenth largest in the world and the first to be conquered by man. The ascent was made by a French expedition in the mid-19th century. For those who prefer to view the 8,000m peaks exclusively from below, there are several trekking trails to view the surroundings.
The reserve, founded in 1976, lies northeast of Kathmandu. Its name translates as “The Forehead of Heaven.” The protected area consists of rugged plateaus, gorges and valleys formed by the Bhot Kosi and Dudh Kosi rivers. It is home to many species of animals, including the Red Book species of lesser panda and irbis.
The main attractions of the park are the famous Mount Everest (8848 m) and the people of the Sherpa people. All trekking routes pass through the villages of this tribe. There you can replenish supplies and see the life of the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal.
The Royal Chitwan National Park (Leopard Forest) was founded in 1973. The area of over 932 square kilometers is home to about 400 species of birds and 50 species of mammals, including Bengal tigers and Indian rhinos. Unlike other parts of Nepal, the climate in the reserve is mild and warm. There are many lakes and scenic rivers.
Tours to the park are carried out on jeeps or on the backs of elephants, rafting and canoeing are very popular. If you want to stay in nature a little longer – at the disposal of tourists luxury villas with pools or bungalows with a minimum set of amenities.
The largest lake of Nepal is situated in the northwest of the country. Its maximum depth reaches 167 m, width – about 3 km and the length of the shoreline is almost 5 km. All the classic flora of the Himalayas grow densely along it: juniper, Indian cypresses, rhododendron and Himalayan pines with needles like long threads.
The entire area around the reservoir is protected. Traveling along the trails of the reserve, you can meet leopards, snow leopards, small pandas, and Himalayan bears.
Also known as Phewa, this lake is the second largest in Nepal. It covers more than 4 square kilometers and has a maximum depth of about 23 meters. On a fine day the water mirror reflects the majestic peaks of the Annapurna massif and Machapuchare Mountain. In the middle of the lake lies an island on which stands the temple of Bahari (one of the reincarnations of the god Vishnu). You can get to the shrine by boat.
The natural formation consists of two caves, Gufa and Rupa. Both are considered sacred, so many stalactites and stalagmites local residents have given the outlines of the god Shiva. The caves are also called the “home of the bats,” as many of these animals find shelter there. Natural lighting in the caves is poor, so it is advisable to bring a flashlight.
The country’s most important Buddhist temple is located in the northeast of Kathmandu. The stupa, built in the 6th century, consists of three levels. The massive base symbolizes the earth, the dome represents water, and the 13 steps on the spire represent the number of steps the Buddha takes toward Nirvana. The umbrella mounted on the spire represents air, and its tip represents the sky.
The all-seeing eyes of the Enlightened One look out on the four sides of the world from the square base of the spire. Terraces descend from the stupa, on which many small stupas are set. Around the structure is a fence of prayer drums.
One of the scenes of the movie “Little Buddha” with Keanu Reeves was filmed at the walls of Bodnath.
This is a complex of religious Hindu buildings located on both banks of the Bagmati River. The most important temple glorifies Shiva in the guise of the king of animals, Pashupati.
The two-tiered pagoda with its golden spire and golden roof was built in the 19th century. Locals come here to perform cremation rites. Funerary fires are lit along the river and the ashes of the deceased are lowered into the water. Tourists can watch what is happening from the opposite shore.
In this temple twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, sacrifices are made. This is how the Nepalese want to appease Kali, the goddess of death. They believe that the blood of domestic animals will propitiate the deity and she will show mercy. Trouble and misfortune will pass by the ceremony.
The sacrifices peak in October, the month in which Dasain is celebrated. A line of worshippers with pigs, chickens, goats, chickens and other domestic animals lined up at the temple to sprinkle their blood on the altar.
The temple of the goddess Kumari and also the residence of her human incarnation on Earth was built in 1757. The three-story building is richly decorated with fine carvings on the outside and bright paintings on the inside. Every room is a work of art.
Kumari is a little girl of the Shakya caste. Before becoming a goddess, she underwent a rigorous selection process based on 32 criteria, from her appearance and health to her horoscope and the timbre of her voice. A Nepali who is lucky enough to see her will be lucky in all endeavors. That is why there are always crowds of people outside the palace trying to see the girl through the window.
Officially, Kumari “goes out” 13 times a year, and it is forbidden to photograph her. She is worshipped until Kumari defiles blood for feminine reasons. After that, she becomes an ordinary person, and the priests begin their search for a new goddess. The former Kumari receives a lifetime pension from the state, but she cannot marry. Ordinary mortals, just in case, bypass her.
The secluded monastery stands on a picturesque hill north of Bodnath. The monastery was founded by lamas Tubten Sopa Rinpoche and Tubten Yeshe and is named after the peak where it is located. Since the 1970s, pilgrims from all over the world have come to Kopan to meditate, study the Tibetan branch of Buddhism and improve themselves. The courses last from a few weeks to a few months. More than 500 monks and novices reside at the monastery at all times.
The temple complex, consisting of two Hindu temples, a Buddhist stupa, a monastery and a gompa, is located in the east of the Nepalese capital. The first written mention of Swayambunath dates back to the V century.
There is a legend connected with this place. Once upon a time, the hill on which the stupa stands was in the middle of a beautiful lake. One day the Buddha passed by and dropped a lotus seed into the water. The flower bloomed and began to emit a blue glow and was noticed by the Bodhisattva Manjushri (the embodiment of supreme wisdom). With his sword he chopped up the rocks and the lake so that people could approach the shrine.
Surprisingly, geological surveys show that there was indeed once a lake at this site. It dried up, leaving behind the most fertile soil in Nepal.
Also known as Dharahara, the tower was built in 1832. It was almost 62 meters high, comparable to an 11-story house. There was a lookout point at the top, from where the area was monitored. In case of the approach of invaders, a signal was given to assemble the troops.
The structure was badly damaged by earthquakes. The first time it was rebuilt, but the earthquake of 2015 finally destroyed Dharahara – only the lower part of the building and the fence remained. Nevertheless, there are always many tourists here. They come to see the majestic ruins of the tower that once defined Kathmandu’s architecture.
Durbar Square in Kathmandu
Durbar means “place of palaces” in Nepali. There are similar royal squares in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. The one in Kathmandu deserves the closest attention. The buildings that make up the architectural complex of the square were built in the XII-XVIII centuries. After a big earthquake many of the buildings were destroyed. In the process of reconstruction they lost their authentic look, but some still remained unchanged.
- The apartments of the kings of Malla look pompous. There is a carved throne in the audience hall and portraits of the monarchs hang on the walls.
- The statue of Narasimha is impressive – the god Vishnu is depicted as a human lion.
- Opposite the palace are the octagonal Krishna-Balaram Mandir Pagoda and the Nasal Chowk Court, where coronations were held.
- At the eastern end of the square sits Panch Mukhi Hanuman, a temple with a five-tiered roof.
This is a palace complex of 19 courtyards, temples, pagodas and the royal palace itself. It was built in the V century, but was constantly modified to suit the new tenants. Authentic look retained only stand-alone rooms in the northern part of the ensemble: Sundari Chowk and Mohan Chowk. Alas, they are closed to tourists.
The bulk of the structures belong to the XVI-XVII centuries, but they, too, have changed shape because of earthquakes and subsequent restorations. Until 1886 Hanuman was the official residence of the Nepalese kings. It was notable that the heir to the throne had to be born in the palace otherwise he would not be able to succeed to the throne.
The red-brick building, surrounded by a high wall and a beautiful park, was built in 1970 by order of King Mahendra. The majestic and monumental structure in the classical style replaced the palace of 1915 which was destroyed by an earthquake.
For almost 40 years the Narayanhiti Palace was home to the monarch and his household. In 2001, the royal family died at the hands of the Crown Prince, and a few years later Nepal abolished the monarchy. The palace was turned into a museum, which now displays the cultural treasures of the state. When visiting Narayanhiti, one should pay special attention to see the pagoda-shaped main building and the picturesque park of over 30 hectares.
International Mountain Museum
A museum was opened in Pokhara in 2004 where you can learn about the mountains and everything related to them. The exhibition is divided into 4 parts:
- “Mountain Peoples” section focuses on the culture and life of the country’s indigenous inhabitants.
- In the hall of ‘Beasts of Nepal’ there are stuffed animals typical of the region.
- The History of Mountaineering” hall introduces the pioneers, who conquered the harsh mountain peaks – it shows rare photos and personal belongings of the brave explorers.
- A thematic exhibition with the telling title “Geological Discoveries” preserves amazing discoveries made in the mountains and valleys of the state.
Every 20 minutes, a film about Nepal is shown in the museum’s small movie room.
Places of Interest
The capital, cultural and financial center of the country looks like a big beehive. Temples, pagodas, and palaces grow among the dense residential buildings, as if from a parallel world. Earthquakes regularly destroy architectural monuments. But the Nepalese people rebuild them with changes of their own and trace the history of the city.
This is the tourist district of Kathmandu, where the colorful spirit of Nepal is best felt. The narrow streets are lined with hotels, hostels, restaurants with local food, bars, and pharmacies with exotic medicines. In the shops and stores is a brisk trade. The most popular items are climbing equipment and souvenirs. But if you’re strolling around Tamel, be careful as pickpockets are always on the lookout.
The city, also known as Lalitpur, is considered the oldest in Nepal. Geographically it is almost merged with Kathmandu. The main point of attraction Patan – Durbar Square, where there are more than 10 temples dedicated to different gods. Must visit the monastery, where almost all the rulers of Nepal were crowned, and look in a small zoo.
According to legend, this is the village where Buddha was born, so Lumbini is a place of religious pilgrimage. There are countless stupas, monasteries and temples. The most important is the Maya Devi. Modern building with whitewashed walls stands on the site of an ancient sanctuary, next to – the column of King Ashoka (about III century).