Kathmandu Tourism Area is one of the tourism zones among 18 tourism zones of Nepal, consisting of four districts of central Nepal, namely Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, and Kavrepalanchok. It is surrounded by Sagarmatha Tourism Sector in East, Simraun Tourism Area in West, Langtang-Gaurishankar Tourism Sector in North, Videha-Mithila Tourism Sector in the South. This is the first tourism area you will be in when you come by Airways. The only international airport of Nepal, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) lies in Kathmandu at the elevation of 1,350 m.
This region has the cultural and historical importance. This area is rich in religious sites, ancient monuments, and world heritage sites. The area of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur commonly lies in Kathmandu valley. The historical sites, ancient monuments, architecture, sculptures, the inscription has been dated back to the 5th Century or even from the before. These areas are developed in the Lichhavi period and Malla Period on arts and architecture sites. Most of the places in this region are popular tourism sites.
Although the scenario is similar to all the durbar squares of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur, but there you will find different on one another. Closer to the Kathmandu valley, Kavrepalanchok is also the touristic destination. Here you will find the ancient town, monuments. Along this, this area is suitable to spend the holiday with the view of mountains, green hills, monasteries, ancient towns, etc. Here are the popular places enlisted with the short information about them which can be on your bucket list.
Kathmandu District is located in Kathmandu Valley of Province No. 3 (Bagmati Pradesh) of Central Nepal, covering an area of 395 sq.km. The district's headquarter is Kathmandu Metropolitan City, also the capital of Nepal. Adjoining districts are Bhaktapur and Kavrepalanchok in east, Dhading in west, Nuwakot, and Sindhupalchok in North and Lalitpur and Makwanpur in South. It is also a famous tourist spot as there are many religious temples, attractive places.
Tourism in Kathmandu
Kathmandu, the city of peace, lives true to this description. The city is charming, busy, bustling, serene, alive and asleep all at once. The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is the most accessible city in the country. From buying trekking equipment in Thamel or taking a rickshaw ride through traffic-packed alleys of the old part of the city or simply visiting the fascinating buildings in Durbar Squares, Kathmandu is truly a place filled with warmth. Kathmandu is home to more than 1.5 million people. The city is at an altitude of a whopping 1,350 meters or 4,428 feet, which assures a blissful climate, all year long.
Kathmandu, which is derived from the Pahari word for 'wood shelter'. It is an abode of serenity and tranquility, with its monasteries, temples, and spiritual melting pots. Moreover, the natural beauty of the city is more than enough for travelers to throng Kathmandu year after year. It offers the varieties - from spiritual awakening to adventure sports.
Places to visit in Kathmandu
Shivapuri National Park
Shivapuri National Park, covering an area of 159 sq. km, is the ninth national park for Nepal and was established in 2002. About 12 km from the central city, Shivapuri National Park is considered a mid-hill on the northern part of the Kathmandu city. Its highest peak lies at 2,732m (Shivapuri Peak). Plant in the park includes 129 species of mushrooms while animal consists of 19 species of mammals including beer, leopard, deer, wild boar, wildcat and Langur monkeys. Likewise, there are 177 species of birds and 102 species of butterflies.
It is one of the best destinations for trekking and short day hikes around Kathmandu Valley. Chisapani Trek, Nagarjun-Jamacho Day Hiking, Tarkeshwor Hiking, Shivapuri Hiking, Bishnu Dwar Hiking, Kakani-Suryachaur Hiking, etc. are the adventure walk inside the national park. It is also an excellent destination for mountain biking
Chandragiri Hill is seven kilometers from Thankot, and lies on the south-west side of Kathmandu Valley which is 2,551 meters above sea level. The hill provides panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley and the Himalayan ranges from Annapurna to Everest. Chandragiri Hill was an ancient trading route. The Bhaleshwor Mahadev temple at the top of the hill is where King Prithvi Narayan Shah worshiped the god before conquering the valley. It is one of the most visited sites in the country which is accessible by the 2.4 km Cable Car to the top. Besides the Panoramic view of the Himalayas, activities to entertain and amuse guests of all age groups, the location now stands as the ultimate fun destination.
Thamel is a commercial neighborhood located in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. It has been the center of the tourist industry in Kathmandu for over four decades, starting from the hippie days when many artists came to Nepal and spent weeks here. It is the hottest-spot for tourism inside the Kathmandu valley and well known for its narrow alleys crowded with various shops and vendors. Commonly sold goods include food, fresh vegetables/fruits, pastries, trekking gear, walking gear, music, DVDs, handicrafts, souvenirs, woolen items, and clothes. Travel agencies, small grocery stores, budget hotels, restaurants, pubs, and clubs also line the streets.
Many restaurants serve traditional and continental cuisine, although prices are significantly higher than in non-tourist areas. It also acts as the pre-base camp for mountaineers and boasts a wide range of mountaineering gear shops, foreign money exchange booths, mobile phone shops, along with the numerous travel agents and guest houses. This is the best place to enjoy the nightlife when you are in Kathmandu. On Wednesday, 28 September 2011, Thamel was declared a full Wi-Fi zone. It is the first Wi-Fi zone in Nepal.
Kirtipur is an ancient city of Nepal. It lies 5 km south-west of the city of Kathmandu. It is one of the most famous and religious places to visit. Many people visit this place to not only see the beauty of nature but also to visit temples. The name Kirtipur comes from the Sanskrit terms Kirti (glory) and pur (city). The colloquial term used for the city is Kipoo. Originally a Newar foundation, Kirtipur is still a center of Newar culture. Southern Part of Kirtipur is surrounded by Champadevi Hill. It has many temples, gumbas (Buddhist monasteries), and churches. Bagh Bhairab, Uma Maheshwar Temple, Chilancho Stupa, Nagar Mandap Shri Kirti Bihar, etc are the important heritage sites of Kirtipur.
Taudaha Lake is a small lake in the outskirts of Kathmandu, in Nepal. The name comes from a combination of Newari words 'Ta', meaning snake, and 'Daha', which means lake. Around 40 species of birds have been recorded out of which 17 are residents, 2 are summer migrants and rest are winter migrants. Here are many species of fishes in the lake. It is well known for large carps. The lake, arguably the only clean water body remaining in the Kathmandu Valley, is a stopover for numerous migratory bird species. In the winter, hundreds of water birds can be seen in and around the lake. Taudaha Lake is one of the important sites for Bird watching.
World Heritage Sites
The Pashupatinath Temple is a sacred Hindu temple complex that lies on the banks of the Bagmati River, approximately 5 km north-east of Kathmandu in the eastern part of Kathmandu Valley. The main temple is built in the Nepalese pagoda style of architecture. The two level roofs are of copper with gold covering. It has four main doors, all covered with silver sheets. This temple has a gold pinnacle (Gajur). This temple complex was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites' list in 1979. There are many temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions raised over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati River.
The unique feature of this temple is that only 4 priests can touch the idol. Inner Pashupatinath Temple where the Lingam of Lord Pashupatinath is established is open from 5 am to 12 pm for the morning ritual and viewing and from 5 pm to 7 pm for the evening ritual. The temple was created in the 5th century by Licchavi King Prachanda Dev after the previous building was consumed by termites. Over time, many more temples have been erected around this two-storied temple. These include the Vaishnava temple complex with a Rama temple from the 14th century and the Guhyeshwari Temple mentioned in an 11th-century manuscript.
For centuries, Bouddhanath has been an important place of pilgrimage and meditation for Tibetan Buddhists & local Nepalese. It is also a popular tourist site. In 1979, Bouddha became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Great Stupa of Bouddhanath is the focal point of the district. There are over 50 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries & Nunneries) around Bouddhanath. As a daily ritual, many people walk three or more times around the stupa while repeating the mantra 'Om Mani Padme Hum' either quietly or aloud.
Nowadays, the stupa is the most popular site for Buddhists in Nepal, and throughout the day pilgrims can be seen circumambulating the structure chanting mantras. It is especially spectacular at night when adorned with butter lamps. Remember to walk around the stupa in a clockwise direction and also to spin the prayer wheels clockwise.
Swayambhunath Stupa is one of the most ancient and holy shrines resting on a hillock 3 km west of Kathmandu and has been an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination since 5th century AD. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Swayambhunath is also fondly known as the ‘Monkey Temple’ on account of hundreds of monkeys that abound the hill. Swayambhunath is a mosaic of small stupas, pagoda temples and monasteries, and presents a magnificent view of the Kathmandu valley. Swayambhunath is regularly visited by thousands of pilgrims including Vajrayana Buddhists of northern Nepal and Tibet, Newari Buddhists of central and southern Nepal, and even people of other faiths.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square (Basantapur Durbar Kshetra) in front of the old royal palace of the former Kathmandu Kingdom is one of three Durbar (royal palace) Squares in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. The Kathmandu Durbar Square held the palaces of the Malla and Shah Kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square surrounds quadrangles, revealing courtyards and temples. It is also popular as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, a name derived from a statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, at the entrance of the palace.
Lies at the heart of the ancient city in Kathmandu it is surrounding both Hindu and Buddhist temples. Most of them are built in the pagoda style. Most of the buildings we see here date from the 15th to 18th centuries. The Durbar Square, with its old temples, palaces, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people. The major Interesting things to see here are "Kumari (The Living Goddess) Gar" "Kastha Mandap", Maru Ganesh, Mahadev Temple, Shiva Parvati Temple, Bhagwati Temple, Old palace, Saraswoti temple, Krishna Octangular Temple, Big drums, Kal Bhairav, Jagannath Temple, and Taleju Temple, etc.
Narayanhiti Palace Museum
The name, ''Narayanhiti'' is made up of two words ‘Narayana’ and ‘Hiti’. Narayan is the Hindu god Vishnu, whose temple is opposite the palace. ‘Hiti’ means “water spout” in Newar Language, which is to the east of the main entrance in the precincts of the palace, a landmark that features prominently in local legends. Narayanhiti Palace was converted to Narayanhiti Palace Museum in 2008, is a palace in Kathmandu, which long served as the residence and principal workplace of the reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Nepal. Lies in the capital city of Kathmandu, the palace become the center of state occasions and royal hospitality.
The palace complex lies towards the east of the Kaiser Mahal next to Thamel in an impressive and vast array of courtyards, gardens and buildings. The current Narayanhiti Durbar was built by King Mahendra in 1963. The entrance fee for Nepalese citizens is NPR 100. The SAARC and Chinese Nationals have to pay NPR 250 and entry charges for other foreigners is NPR 500. The Narayanhiti palace museum remains open every day except on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and public holidays. The visiting time is 11:00 AM-4:00 PM.
The National Museum of Nepal (Rashtriya Museum) is a popular attraction of the capital city of Kathmandu. About a century old, the museum stands as a tourist destination and a historical symbol for Nepal. Being the largest museum in the country of Nepal, it plays an important role in nationwide archaeological works and the development of museums. For the residents of Kathmandu, the monument serves to relive the battles fought on the grounds of Nepal.
The main attractions are the collection of historical artworks (sculpture and paintings) and a historical display of weapons used in the wars in the 18-19th century. The museum has separate galleries dedicated to statues, paintings, murals, coins and weapons. It has three buildings — Juddha Jayatia Khate Sala, Buddha Art Gallery, and the main building which consists of natural historical sections (collection of species of animals, butterflies, and plants), cultural section, and philatelic section.
Kapan Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery near Bouddhanath, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal. Its name comes from the name of the hill on which it was built. Kapan becomes famous for teaching Buddhism to visiting Western foreigners. The first of what would become annual month-long (November–December) meditation courses was held in 1971. These courses generally combine traditional Lam Rim teachings with informal discussion, several periods of guided meditation, and a vegetarian diet. Kopan Monastery has also recently become a popular recreational destination for Kathmandu residents and tourists. On Saturdays, it regularly receives hundreds of visitors from 10 AM to 4 PM. The monastery is not open to the public on other days of the week.
Jamacho monastery, at the elevation of 1,500m, is the most popular pilgrimage sites for Hindus as well as Buddhist. On the hilltop of Nagarjuna, you will find the small statue of Nagarjuna Buddha on the beautiful Jamacho Monastery. On the east side of the stupa, there are two rows of Buddhist gods and goddesses. In the first row Mahankala is in meditation pose and third Vasundhara while the second row includes white Tara, Padmapani green Tara, and Vajrapani. Hiking to Jamacho Monastery is one of the most popular, short, and easy hiking near Kathmandu. If luck favors, you can enjoy magnificent views of Annapurna Himalayan Range, Manaslu Himalayan Range, and Langtang Himalayan Range from the top of the hills.
White Monastery lies in the northeast of Kathmandu and is one of the famous and most visited places in Kathmandu when it comes to one day tour for the tourists. In and around the monastery, the environment is silent, and the surrounding is lush. Additionally, it has a beautiful viewpoint to see sunrise and sunset, including a range of Himalayas. It is from here, you can see a nice view of Kathmandu as well.
The white monastery also is known as Seto Ghumba or The Druk Amitabh Mountain in Nepal. This monastery is rich in Buddhist Cultural Heritage and renown for the Tibetan Culture and rich architecture, where you will see colorful statutes and Buddhist paintings, including flags with “mantras.” These mantras have the inscriptions of peace, prosperity, calmness, and a good state, and inside the monastery, there is a flat rock, which has tiny footprints of goddess Sita.
Neydo Tashi Choeling Monastery
Neydo Tashi Choeling Monastery lies about 22 km or less than an hour's drive from the heart of hectic Kathmandu. It is located in the southwest corner of the Kathmandu Valley close to Pharping. It is an ideal place to simply relax and unwind all hustle and tussle of mundane life and an easy get-away for a short break, as you may also indulge in meditation, or even study Buddhism or follow a day in the life of the monastics. The Neydo Monastery is purposely situated close to the Asura Cave where Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche, as he is known affectionately, meditated and achieved the highest realization. Almost 200 monks live and study here and if you wish you may eat alongside them, participate in their practice, and gain insight into their monastic life.
Temples and Caves
Budanilkantha Temple, lies below the Shivapuri Hill at the northern end of the Kathmandu valley is a Hindu open-air temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Its name 'Budanilkantha' does not come from the Buddha; Budanilkantha stands instead for “Old Blue Throat”. And can be identified by a large reclining statue of Lord Vishnu. The temple's main statue of Budanilkantha is considered the largest stone carving in Nepal. A legend states that King Pratap Malla (1641–1674) had a prophetic vision. This vision resulted in him believing that the kings of Nepal would die if they visited the Budanilkantha Temple. Nepali monarchs after King Pratap Malla have never visited the Temple in fear of the prophecy.
Gokarneswor Mahadev Temple
The Gokaneshwor Mahadev Temple on the northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu has witnessed a large influx of devotees on the occasion of Bhadra Krishna Aunshi, also known as Kushe Aunshi or Gokarna Aunshi. The festival is celebrated as the Father’s Day by Hindus of Nepal. People visit this temple in memory of their fathers on Gokarna Aunsi, which falls around September. The inscriptions found at Gokarneshwor Temple, which in its current form was built in 1582 AD by a Gopiran Bharo, describes the origins of the spot well before the Lichhavi period and informs us that the place was of great significance even before them.
Dakshinkali Temple is a standout amongst the most important sanctuaries in Nepal. It is one of the ancient, historic, and religious temples dedicated to one of the forms of Lord Shiva’s wife Goddess Kali “the goddess of time, death, and destruction. Dakshinkali means the goddess of the south where “Dakshin “stands for south direction. Kali is one of the incarnations of Goddess Parvati. Dakshinkali temple is located in the southwest part of the Kathmandu valley, which is nearly forty-five minutes’ drive by taxi from Kathmandu. The heaven and its encompassing are committed to goddess Kali, the deity who demands life two times a week, Tuesday and Saturday. So, a huge mass of devotees assembles particularly on Tuesdays and Saturdays were they for the most part sacrifice cocks and uncastrated male goats, as well as lots of animals, are forfeited during the holy festival of Dashain.
Bhadrakali Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Devi Bhadrakali. It is located in central Kathmandu, next to Tundikhel. It is located near the Sahid Gate. The temple is on the eastern side of Tundikhel. This temple is also known as Shree Lumadhi Bhadrakali. It is one of the most renowned “Shaktipith” of Nepal. A form of the Goddess Kali, Bhadrakali in Sanskrit means “blessed, auspicious, beautiful and prosperous” and she is also known as “Gentle Kali”. Another name for the goddess is Lazzapith. The temple was built in the year 1817 and was previously known as “Mudule Thumpko”. The temple is believed to be built after Goddess Bhadrakali told the priest to dig the hill where they found her statue. Since then, the temple lies there and is protected by the Nepal Army. It overlooks the Singha Durbar, Prime Ministerial office, on the eastern side.
Phamting Vajrayogini Temple
This temple, dedicated to Vajrayogini, is located on the side of the hill between the Yanglesho caves and the town of Pharping. It is one of the main Newar Buddhist Vajrayogini temples of the Nepal mandala which includes the Sankhu Vajrayogini, Vidhyeshvari Vajrayogini, Phamting Vajrayogini, Guhyeshwari and the Pulchowk Khagayogini temples. It is said to have been established by the Pamtingpa brothers, two important disciples of the Buddhist mahasiddhas Naropa and Maitrepa. The present structure probably dates to the 17th century and has been renovated.
Yangleshö cave is located about ten minutes' walk before the town of Pharping. Near the road, there are several large ponds and shrines dedicated to Vishnu in the form of Shesha Narayan which are located just below the sacred cave of Yangleshö and there is a flight of stairs leading up to the cave. It is said that Guru Padmasambhava in the form of Dorje Tötreng Tsal and his consort, the Princess Shakyadevi, meditated in this small cave on the Tantra of Yangdak (Skt. Vishuddha) Heruka and realized the siddhi of mahāmudrā. To the right of this cave is a small retreat monastery, Rigdzin Drubpe Gatsal Ling, which was established by the Nyingmapa yogin Chatral Sangye Dorje who stayed here many years. This monastery is dedicated to the meditation practices of the Longchen Nyingthig tradition.
Asura cave is a cave sacred to Guru Rinpoche, located above the village of Pharping, near Kathmandu, Nepal. It is also known as the 'Upper cave of Yangleshö'. On the upper left side of the entrance door is the imprint of a hand in the rock. Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche restored the cave in the late 80s, early 90s, and built a monastery and three-year retreat center for the practice of the Chokling Tersar called Pema Ösel Ling, which surrounds the cave. The three main images enshrined inside the cave are those of Guru Rinpoche, Yangdak Heruka, and Vajrakilaya.
Balaju Water Garden
Situated five kilometers north-west of Kathmandu, Balaju Water Garden is an ideal place for rest. The park has a line of twenty-two stone water spouts built in the 18th Century, each of which has an ornately carved crocodile head. During an annual festival, people come here to bathe. The garden has a swimming pool open to the public and the ponds beside the flower gardens are teeming with fishes. A replica of the stone image of Budanilkantha was built here specifically for the royal family as they were barred from visiting the real one.
Garden of Dreams
Located in Kaiser Mahal which is across the street from the former Royal Palace at the entrance to the Thamel tourist area, the Garden was made famous as the Garden of Six Seasons created for Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana (1892–1964), in early 1920. The Garden, which featured a design inspired by the Edwardian style, was considered one of the most sophisticated private gardens of that time. Tour the beautifully designed garden, read a book, get a coffee or a meal, and relax. The Garden of Dreams is a Neo-classical historical Garden amid Kathmandu city. The size of the garden is 6,895 sq. m. and includes pavilions, an amphitheater, central ponds, pergolas, urns, and a combination of small gardens to larger ones.
Lalitpur District is located in Province no. 3 (Bagmati Province) covering an area of 385 sq. km. Patan of Lalitpur Municipality is the administrative headquarter. It is one of the three districts in the Kathmandu Valley, along with Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. Adjoining districts are Bhaktapur and Kavrepalanchok in east, Kathmandu in north, and Makwanpur in West and South. It is best known for its rich cultural heritage, particularly its tradition of arts and crafts. Lalitpur city is called the city of festival and feast, fine ancient art, making of metallic and stone carving statue.
Tourism in Lalitpur
Lalitpur is one of the most famous tourist destinations of Nepal as it contains countless historical temples, monuments, and gardens. Patan is best known for its rich cultural heritage, particularly the tradition of arts and crafts. It’s the city of festivals and feast, fine ancient art-making of metallic and stone carving statue. The 16th Century Newari towns of Bungamati and Khokana are worth a visit to see the beauty in the lives of the locals. Several fine restaurants and eateries are also spread across the city, especially around the Durbar Square, which sees the highest density of tourists in almost any season.
Places to visit in Lalitpur
Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square situated in the heart of the city constitutes the focus of visitor’s attraction, the square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines noted for their exquisite carvings. The Patan Durbar consists of three main chowks or courtyards, the central Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Chowk. The Sundari Chowk holds in its center a masterpiece of stone architecture, the Royal Bath called Tushahity.
The Patan Museum is a museum located in Patan inside the durbar square. The Museum's exhibits cover a long span of Nepal's cultural history and some rare objects are among its treasures. Most of the objects are cast bronzes (mostly sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist deities) and gilt copper repoussé work, traditional crafts for which Patan is famous. The Museum has over 1,100 artifacts, about 200 of which are on permanent exhibition. The Patan Museum's mission is "the interpretation of Sacred Art, Culture and Iconography of Hinduism and Buddhism through preservation and exhibition."
Built-in the seventeenth century, the temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in the palace complex of Patan. It is supposed to be the first specimen in Nepal. It is the only temple in Nepal; having 21 spire and is completely made of stone.
A little further east of Patan Durbar Square lies this Buddhist temple made of clay bricks in which thousands of images of Lord Buddha engraved. The terra-cotta structure is one of the fourteenth-century Nepalese architectural masterpiece.
Hiranya Verna Mahavihar
It is informally called The Golden Temple with literal meaning "Gold-colored Great Monastery" which is a historical vihara (Buddhist monastery). It is famous for feeding rats. Located inside Kwabadehal, this Lokeshwor (Lord Buddha) was built in the twelfth century by King Bhaskar Verma. Inside the upper storey of the pagoda, there are the golden image of Lord Buddha and a large prayer wheel.
Kumbheshwar Temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples, situated 200m from the northern part of Patan Durbar Square. It was built in the 14th century (around 1392) by King Jayasthiti Malla that makes it the oldest temple in Patan. The temple is noted for its graceful proportions and fine woodcarvings and is dedicated to Shiva, as indicated by the large Nandi, or bull, facing the temple. The Kumbheshwar Temple lies in a complex that includes many other structures: Bagalamukhi Temple, Ulmanta Bhairav, and two hiti ponds among the most notable ones.
The Central Zoo of Nepal, also known as Jawalakhel, is located at Jawlakhel of Lalitpur District. It is the only zoo in Nepal with a total area of six hectares. The park is the pride of the State and the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) aims to develop the Central Zoo as a center for wildlife research and conservation education. The journey begins with the gharials, birds, monkeys, and ends at the aquarium. Familiarize yourself with deer, wild buffalo, bear, jackal, hippo, elephant, crocodile, and the whole range of exotic birds. Near every enclosure there are plaques made of wood, giving details about the particular animal or bird. It also serves as a recreational center for the visitors. Central Zoo uniquely serves as a historical-cultural site for diverse groups of people.
Phulchoki Hill (2,791 m)
Phulchoki Hill is situated south-east part of Kathmandu valley. It is the highest viewpoint near from Kathmandu valley. Walking through the ascending trail of the jungle offers you to see several residential and migratory birds as well as scenic views of Nepalese hills. Several varieties of birds such as the Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Yellow-browed Tit, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Red-billed Leiothrix and many more can be seen during the hike. Phulchoki hill offers stunning views of Kathmandu valley, several hills of Nepal as well as the eastern part of the Annapurna range.
National Botanical garden
The National Botanical Garden is located in the base of Mount Phulchoki (2,791 m) at Godawari at the southeast corner of Kathmandu valley. The area of the Garden is 82 hectares. It is surrounded by evergreen natural forests. This Garden was graciously inaugurated by His Majesty the King Late Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev on the 20th of October 1962. Ever since its establishment much of its activities have been centered in enriching the garden with indigenous plants to integrate its collection with scientific investigation, conservation, education, and demonstration.
Jawalakhel Handicraft Centre
The Jawalakhel Handicraft Center also known as Tibetan Refugee Camp is the pioneer of the Tibetan Carpet Industry in Nepal. In the JHC camp, more than 1000 Tibetans are settled and out of this, 500 Tibetans are directly engaged in different processes of carpet production like Wool sorting, Hand Brushing & Spinning of yarn, Dyeing, Ball Winding, Weaving, Trimming & Finishing, etc. The Production Process is closely monitored on ever stage to produce the finest piece of Tibetan Hand-Woven Carpet. Because of these strict measures on quality control, Jawalakhel Handicraft Center has become the most popular Tourist Destination for Carpet Weaving Center in Nepal.
Bhardeu is a small village located in the southern part of the Lalitpur district. It has got a beautiful landscape views, greenery environment with cool and fresh weather. The people here are mostly Tamang, Newar, and very few others. The main language spoken here is Tamang and Nepali. This cave is known nowadays as Gupteshwor Mahadev’s Cave, which is located at the peak of the hill almost 2 hours walking from the village. Even the Phulchoki hill is nearer to this place. Bhardeu is just 22 km south from ring-road Satdobato, Lalitpur. It takes almost one hour by car drive or motorbike. It is quite interesting walking like hiking with a greenery panoramic scene, enchanting landscape view. Simple villagers, traditional village houses, and Himalayan views may attract you on the way.
Simba Waterfall is a combination of 5 different small waterfalls in Manikhel. To visit this beautiful waterfall, one has to walk for about 45 mins – 1 hour from the last vehicle stop. It is better to go on a private off-road vehicle. The waterfall is situated in peaceful and green surroundings. It is suitable to explore the place that loves a serene environment and loves to go for a hike. The greenery and water is so pure that, it’ll make you forget all the sorrows and make you feel delightful and joyous. The road to reach Manikhel, Simba Falls is a bit difficult (most difficult in monsoon), but the visit is worth it.
Dalchoki is a beautiful place with a modest tourist visiting every year. It is situated in the southern part of Lalitpur district, nearly 23 Kilometers from Patan, its district headquarters. It has a good possibility of tourism. There are several things to be seen in Dalchoki such as the hill of Dalchoki, Thanapati-cave, Green forest with several herbs, plants, and animals, Manakamana temple, Dalchoki temple, etc. We can see the beautiful sunrise and sunset from Dalchoki. Besides, we can have a view of Kathmandu, the Terai plains, beautiful cloud-covered mountains, and the movement of clouds. Dalchoki has a Home-stay facility. There are about 6 home-stays registered under Nepal Tourism Board in Dalchoki.
Bungmati and Khokhana
Bungmati is believed to be the birth-place of deity Rato 'red' Machindranath. Shikhara, Rato Machhindranath temple is the major attraction. Many locals work as woodcarvers and there are numerous craft workshops and showrooms around the village. Other sights to visit around the village are Bungamati Culture Museum, Dey Pukha (central pond), and Karya Binak Temple on the way to Khokana Village. The temple is dedicated to Hindu god Ganesha.
There is another charming Newari town is Khokana, worth to visit. Triple-tiered temple in the heart of town is Shree Rudrayani Devi or Shekala Mai Temple. A visit to the heart of the village to observe ancient religious practices and watch friendly villagers spin wool, stuff mattresses with cotton, and prepare rice and straw. In October, there's the Khokana Jatra festival, where masked dancers take to the streets to honor the goddess Shikali.
Bhaktapur district is located in the eastern part of Kathmandu valley covering an area of 119 sq. km is the smallest district of Nepal. It is part of Bagmati Pradesh. Bhaktapur is its administrative headquarters. It is surrounded by Kavrepalanchwok District in the east, Kathmandu and Lalitpur District in the west, Kathmandu and Kavrepalanchwok District in the north and Lalitpur District in the south. The altitude ranges from 1,331 meters to 2,191 meters above the sea level. The highest peak of the district is Nagarkot.
Tourism of Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur is the home of traditional art and architecture, historical monuments and craftwork, magnificent windows, pottery and weaving industries, excellent temples, beautiful ponds, rich local customs, culture, religion, festivals, and musical mystic and so on. Bhaktapur is still an untouched as well as preserved ancient area that is itself the world to explore for tourists. Tourists from almost every country of the world visit Bhaktapur to observe the ancient arts and cultural practices. Changunarayan Temple and Bhaktapur Durbar Square are enlisted in the World Heritage.
Fifty-five-window Palace, Datatraya Temple, Nyatapole, Bhairab Temple, Suryabinayak Temple, Doleshwor Mahadev Temple, and Nagarkot are the prominent tourist destinations of Bhaktapur. The pottery-art enchants a lot of tourists. A host of monuments like temples, religious platforms, palaces, stone taps and ponds, and a plethora of festivals, dances, and praying practices together make this district a magnificent tourist hub. The ancient Bhaktapur city is famous for a special type of dahi (yogurt) called "Ju Ju (king) dhau (curd). Bhaktapur translates to "city of devotees".
Places to visit in Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is located in the current town of Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon, which lies 13 km east of Kathmandu. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and shikhara-style temples, mostly dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses grouped around a 55-window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal.
While the complex consists of at least four distinct squares (Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square), the whole area is informally known as the Bhaktapur Durbar Square and is a highly visited site in the Kathmandu Valley. There are 55 windows which are the major attraction of this place, batsala Temple, Statue of Bhupatindra Malla, Nyatapola Temple, Bhairava Nath Temple, Golden Gate, Lion’s Gate, mini Pashupatinath Temple.
Nyatapola Temple is a 5-storey pagoda style temple located in Bhaktapur, Nepal. It was built by King Bhupatendra Malla. It stands on five terraces on each of which squat a pair figures, two famous wrestlers (Malla), two elephants, two lions, two griffins and two Baghini and Singhini, the tiger and lion goddesses. Nepal’s vast heritage of Temples like Nyatapola and the work of art is renowned throughout the world. The more so now because of the increasing number of tourists. Those who comes to seek the rich culture that still thrives in the unique country Nepal. This historical and artistic temple of Bhaktapur is dedicated to all the powerful Goddess Siddhi Luxmi Devi of Tantra Sastra related to Goddess Durga.
This is another pagoda temple of lord Bhairab, the dreadful aspect of Lord Shiva. It stands near the Nyatapola temple and was originally constructed by King Jagat Jyoti Malla on a modest scale. It was later remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla, a zealous lover of the arts, into what it is now a three-storeyed temple.
The three-story pagoda-style Dattatraya Temple, with statues of the Hindu trinity, (Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer), was built during the reign of King Yaksha Malla (1428 A.D. – 1482 A.D.) and was opened to the public around 1486 A.D., only after his demise. This temple, according to popular belief, was constructed from a single piece of wood from one tree.
At the entrance are two large sculptures of the Jaipur wrestlers, Jaimala and Pata (as in the Nyatapola Temple), a "Chakra", and a gilded metal statue of Garuda, a bird-like divinity. Around the temple are wood carved panels with erotic decorations. It was subsequently repaired and renovated by King Vishwa Malla in 1548 A.D. Just beside the temple is a monastery (Math) with exquisitely carved peacock windows. These famous windows were carved during the reign of King Vishwa Malla. The monastery is full of artistic facades of latticed windows and engraved columns.
Pottery square as its name means is a square full of pottery works. You can reach there within a few minutes’ walks from Bhaktapur durbar square. This square is not as big as Durbar square but is a hub to do shopping of Nepali handicrafts. The center of this square always gets filled with clay wares and local grains to give them an ace finishing. This place also holds the ceremony of rising and defecting the non-hand lingo during Bisket Jatra (one of the prestigious Jatra of Bhaktapur). There is also a thangka school, you can see the calmness and patients of artists over there as well as the arts.
Changu Narayan is an ancient Hindu temple located about 6 km from Bhaktapur on top of a hill in the northern part of the district. It is one of the oldest Hindu temples of the valley and is believed to have been constructed first in the 4th century. Changu Narayan is the name of Vishnu, and the temple is dedicated to him. A stone slab discovered in the vicinity of the temple dates to the 5th century and is the oldest such stone inscription discovered in Nepal. It was rebuilt after the old temple was devastated.
Many of the stone sculptures date to the Licchavi period. Changu Narayan Temple is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The temple is a double-roofed structure where the idol of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayana is deified. A kneeling image of Garuda (dated to the 5th century), the vahana or vehicle of Vishnu with a snake around its neck, faces the temple. The gilded door depicts stone lions guarding the temple.
Siddha Pokhari, also called as Ta–Pukhu, was constructed during the rule of the Medieval King Yakshya Malla in the early fifteenth century. This human-made pond is 171 m long, 73 m wide and about 3 m deep. It is one of the old and traditional ponds of Bhaktapur which is very popular among the people of Nepal. Also, it observes the presence of many national as well as international tourists. The pond is a popular place to hang out with friends and also parents bring their children here to enjoy the pleasure of feeding the numerous fishes in the pond.
Kailashnath Mahadev Statue
Kailashnath Mahadev Statue is the world’s tallest Shiva statue in standing pose. It is situated in Sanga, on the border of the Bhaktapur and Kavrepalanchwok districts in Nepal, about 20 km from Kathmandu. The color of the statue is copper and the face is serene, pleasant, and welcoming to the believers and travelers. The statue is 143 feet (43.5 m) in height and is made using copper, zinc, concrete, and steel. About 5,000 guests go to the statue on a weekday, and an altogether bigger number visit on ends of the week, national occasions, and Hindu festivals.
Wood Carving Museum
The old Pujari Math has been converted into a Woodcarving Museum and is located at the Dattatreya Square about a ten-minute walk from Durbar Square. The Pujari Math is considered one of the oldest maths (the dwelling of a priest) in the Kathmandu Valley. The museum has courtyards decorated with exquisitely carved windows and pillars. The most well-known in Bhaktapur are the windows of the former royal palace "55 windows" and “peacock window”.
Brass & Bronze Museum,
The metalwork section known as the Brass & Bronze Museum is housed opposite the Woodcarving Museum. This section showcases brass and bronze metalware that were extensively used by nobility and their Newar subjects in the previous century and early 20th century. Objects used for religious purposes such as Kalash and incense stands are noteworthy. Religious and ritual objects of the Newar community make up the bulk of the exhibition here. The museum is also closed on Tuesdays and stays open only until 3 pm on Fridays.
Nagarkot, located at an elevation of 2,195 meters, is considered as one of the most scenic spots in Bhaktapur District. It is 32 km from Kathmandu. It is known for a sunrise view of the Himalayas including Mount Everest as well as other peaks of the Himalayan range of eastern Nepal. Nagarkot also offers a panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley. The scenic beauty of the place makes it a very popular hiking route for tourists.
For those active nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, there are many hiking opportunities in and around Nagarkot. Among them, Nagarkot eco-trail (nature walk) along with Nagarkot panoramic hiking trail is the most popular one. You can also do Paragliding with Everest view in Nagarkot. Situated in a strategic location, Nagarkot was an ancient fort of the Kathmandu valley built to monitor the external activities of other kingdoms. Later, it became a summer retreat for the royal family before becoming popular as an international hill station.
Pilot Baba Ashram
Pilot Baba Ashram lies six kilometers south of Bhaktapur Durbar Square. An hour of following the easy trails through the gorgeous Suryabinayak jungle will lead you to the temple on a hillock with amazing views of the hills and mountains surrounding Kathmandu valley. From there, you can either move on to the Suryabinayak temple, head towards Ghyampe Danda or, if you feel like it, meditate in the ashram after paying a small fee. It would make for a relaxing day hike for sure.
Doleshwor Mahadev Temple
Doleshwar Mahadev Temple is situated at the Bhaktapur district of Nepal which is just 20 km away from the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu. This temple is worshipped as the head of the Lord Kedarnath. According to the long-held belief, the head of the deity originated in this place while the remaining body part in Kedarnath of India. A large rock outcropping amidst green forest is worshipped as a representation of Lord Kedarnath. Common people can touch and worship here only three times a year. On other days, they have to offer worship from outside the gate.
Kavrepalanchok District is located in Province no. 3 (Bagmati Pradesh), covering an area of 1,396 sq. km. Dhulikhel is the administrative headquarter. It is surrounded to the east by Ramechhap and Dolakha in east, Kathmandu Valley in the west, north by Sindhupalchok in north and Sindhuli and Makawanpur in south. Its elevation range is 280 meters to 3018 meters (Bethanchok Narayan Danda). It has the huge potentialities of local tourism with the various geographic nature and cultural heritages. Information Technology Park is also located in this district.
Tourism in Kavrepalanchok
Kavrepalanchok district has great potential in the tourism industry. It is culturally rich with historical places like Dhulikhel, Panauti, Banepa, and Chandeni Mandan. Chandeni Mandan is an interesting place for tourism it covers the low and high point of the district, the low point is the Indrawoti river and the highest point is THAMDANDA (interesting place of hiking and 360-degree site viewing including top of the world). Big religious fairs like Chandeshwari Jatra of Banepa, Namobuddha Jatra of Namobuddha celebrated on the birth date of Lord Buddha (Buddha Purnima), Kumbha Mela of Panauti which happens once in 12 years, are some interesting events to view.
The Long Himalayan Gaurishankar range can be seen from Dhulikhel. It is famous for short circuit trekking in places like Dhungkharka-Narayanthan, Nagarkot-Dhulikhel-Namobuddha-Panauti-Banepa. Koshipari (i.e. east of Dolalghat/Sunkoshi River) has a very good prospect in the tourism field. There are lots of adventurous places such as Thulo Bangthali. BP Highway and Araniko Highway are the major highways of these districts which are connected to India and China with the shortest distance.
Places to visit in Kavrepalanchok
Dhulikhel is justly famous as a well-preserved Newari town, mountain viewpoint, and hiking and biking hub, though its popularity is waning as modernization takes its toll. Located 5k m east of Banepa, just beyond the Kathmandu Valley rim, it sits at the relatively low elevation of 1,550 m, and is now something of a boomtown. The most popular activity in Dhulikhel is hiking to the high point southeast of town in time for a sunrise over the peaks.
To get to the top, take the road leading east from Mahendra Chowk for about 1 km. Cyclists will have to stay on this graded road, but hikers can climb the more direct flights of steps. The summit (1,715 m) is marked by a small Kali shrine. The peaks from Ganesh Himal to Everest are visible from here, and the sight of Dhulikhel’s old town is pretty wonderful, too. The main temple, known as the Gokureshwar Mahadev Mandir, contains a large bronze linga.
Located 40 kilometers southeast of Kathmandu, Namo Buddha is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites south of the Himalayas, as well as being one of the holiest Buddhist sites in the world. It is home to more than 250 monks and includes a monastic college, a school for young monks and a Tibetan Medical clinic. Known as Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery, the location of Namo Buddha is on top of a hill that offers superb views of the Himalayas. The Namo Buddha Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour combines meditation and chant to help each visitor to find a higher level of consciousness as they follow along the right path of the Buddha. The region of Namo Buddha offers fresh mountain air along with its magnificent views. The spirituality of Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery will touch your mind.
Panauti is situated about 32 km south-east of Kathmandu, at the junction of the confluence of the Roshi and Punyamati Rivers, and believed to be located on a single rock, this historical Newar town is one of the oldest settlements in Kathmandu Valley. There are plenty of pagoda-type and other religious shrines all over the town, with most of the monuments, temples, and sattals (community shelters) being made of terracotta. The temples, with their gilded roofs, carved wooden pillars, elaborate carvings, and wide courtyards impart an Eastern mysticism. The remains of the old durbar square can still be seen in the center of the town.
Once described as a town having more temples than houses, and more deities than inhabitants, this medieval town can proudly claim to be the fourth most important site in Nepal, after the three ancient cities of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. The month-long Makar Mela is held once every 12 years at the sacred confluence of three rivers, two actual (Roshi and Punyamati), and one imaginary (Lilawati, which is said to be visible only to a lucky few). This festival attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims, who come to take a holy bath that will cleanse them of past sins.
Banepa, a historical town is a valley situated at about 1,500m above sea level in central Nepal which is at about 25 kilometers (16 mi) east from Kathmandu. The main attraction of Banepa is the temple of Chandeshwori, located approximately 1 km (0.62 mi) northeast of the town along the Rudramati River. The Dhaneshwor Temple is 1 km south of the town. Banepa is also known for its eight different temples of Lord Ganesh, Narayanthan (the temple of Lord Narayan), Bhimshenthan (the temple of Lord Bhimshen), and eight different ponds.
Palanchok Bhagawati Temple
Palanchowk Bhagwati Temple is situated on the top of the Palanchowk hill at the elevation of 1,563 meters which is 7-km north of the mountain of Panchkhal and 42 kilometers from Kathmandu. There is an idol of 3 feet high goddess Bhagawati artistically carved in a black stone. It is one of the most famous temples for Buddhists and Hindus. This temple is believed to have been constructed during the reign of King Man Dev. One can enjoy the panoramic views of the landscape from this vantage point. In addition to the religious importance, the beautiful scenes, view from the hilltop is magnificent. Visitors can enjoy spectacular Nepalese panoramas of the Himalayan and the countryside.
Balthali is one of the old villages which has been a center of culture, trade, and learning in Nepal. The small settlement of Balthali village is about 40km away from Kathmandu. Moreover, the village is situated at the junction of two rivers. Therefore, Balthali village is an outstanding place of isolation and relaxation. Enjoy the special atmosphere created by the surrounding Nepali countryside with lush rice fields and traditional farmhouses. Have a look at the picturesque snowy peaks of, among others, Langtang and Mahabharat Range. Besides, explore the region’s lush forest with various floras: Colorful rhododendron, Magnolia, and Sal trees are covering the hills beautifully. Especially nature lovers and bird watchers can spend days exploring the exceptional species of wildlife.
Bethanchowk hill, located on the southern side of Kavre district, is believed to be the highest peak of the Mahabharat Range. This hill is located at an altitude of 2,930m from the sea level and offers a 360-degree view of the surrounding hills and Himalayan ranges in the north. On a clear day (no clouds), some places of Makwanpur and Janakpur can also be seen from the top of the hill. At the top of the hill, there is a small temple named Narayanan. This temple is crowded with devotees during the Fagu Purnima every year. The peak is usually known as Narayanthan rather than Bethanchowk. People also refer to it as the King of the Hills.
Dhagpo Sheydrub Ling Monastery
Dhagpo Sheydrub Ling Monastery, locally named as Nala Gumba, is located on Nala, Banepa, Kavrepalalnchok, about 1,300m from Karunamaya Temple North-West & can be reached from Bhaktapur also. It takes about 20 minutes from Bhaktapur in the vehicle. Situated on the hilltop of Nala, this Monastery offers different art, painting, and sculpture. A combination of different colors in the art will make your trip more worthy of this monastery. This also focuses on giving education for Buddhist children. You will get the opportunity to get information about Buddhist culture, traditions, norms, and values here. It remains open for the public on Saturday only from 10 am to 5 pm.
Zipline at Dhulikhel
Like Classic and Couple zipline, you can enjoy this newly introduced adventurous sport ‘Superman Zipline’ in Dhulikhel. It is just 1.5 hours' drive away which is almost 32 km from Kathmandu. The length of the zip line at Dhulikhel is around 1100 meters. In this Superman Zipline, you will put Harness for safety and adore the experience of flying like a bird over the woodland and valley, which is a substantially more phenomenal experience. Along the ride, you will witness the magnificent 180⁰ view of Langtang Ranges and Rolwaling mountain ranges. Anyone can visit the site, have a thrilling experience, relax, and get lost in nature.
Moreover, the Kathmandu Tourism Area carries the ancient as well as the historical importance. Most of the places of this tourism area are popular as the tourism destination. However, there are lots of places to visit outside of the hustling city but inside of the Kathmandu valley. Those who have fewer periods to stay in Nepal, then this area is more suitable for a luxury trip as well. Along this Helicopter tour to Mount Everest is also possible from this region. Dhulikhel, Chandragiri and central Kathmandu has the luxury hotels. In the present context, paragliding has been in operation from the hills around the Kathmandu Valley. But there as more places to be explored for national as well as International Tourism Market.