Kathmandu Places to Visit – My travel memoirs Part II

Continued from Kathmandu Top Attractions: My trip to the City of Temples (Part I)

During our stay in Kathmandu, we were deliberating on going to Nagarkot or Pokhara, but travelling to either of these places meant that we would need to spend a night there to see the sunset and the sunrise. Given our short schedule, we ruled out the visit to these places, as it would be difficult to drive back in the evening after sunset. These are the tourist places in Kathmandu that we visited instead:

Doleshwar Mahadeva

About 20 km away from Kathmandu city centre, is a temple called Doleshwar Mahadeva, which is believed to be the head of Kedarnath temple, one of the most prominent Hindu pilgrimages in Uttarakhand, India.  Given its religious significance, Birbal suggested that we go there.

It was a pleasant uphill drive with views of terraced hills and the valley. On the way up, I requested Birbal to stop at places from where we could get good views. He willingly obliged.

EnrouteDoleshwarNepal

On reaching the temple, we found that it is a small, quaint place in the lap of the hills. The Shiva sculpture at the Doleshwar shrine is supposed to be 4000 years old. There were very few people. The temple was completely devastated by the 2015 earthquake and reconstruction work was going on. We bought some offering and went to the shrine, where a local person recited a stuti (prayer). We spend a few quiet moments at the temple and then proceeded to the other places.

Kailashnath Mahadeva (Sanga Mahadeva)

As we drove through the hills, we could see a distinctive statue of Shiva standing on one of the far off hills.  Birbal told us that we were heading towards Sanga on the border of Bhaktapur to see the lofty Shiva statue.

KailashnathMahadevNepal

When we saw the towering statue from close, we were in complete awe of it. The 143 ft (43.5 m) majestic statue of Shiva made of copper, zinc, concrete and steel is both an engineering and artistic marvel. Structures have been constructed around the statue to stabilize the ground and safeguard against potential landslides.

KailashnathMahadeva

Panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley and the Himalayan ranges, and cotton like clouds floating by made a very picturesque sight. After several attempts, we could get a picture of ourselves with the entire statue. It struck me that never before have I seen so many Shiva sculptures in one day.

We found that the property also has a wellness resort and spa where tourists can have a peaceful stay while enjoying the views of the lush green gardens and the surrounding mountain ranges. We spent about an hour there before heading towards Bhaktapur.

Bhaktapur Darbar Square

Right at the entrance, we saw the steps of a temple devastated by the earthquake. Only the bottom half remains, while the top half was destroyed by the 2015 earthquake.  Sculptures of elephants, lions and horses on both sides on the steps stand as the survivors of the earthquake.

Inside the Durbar Square is the Palace of fifty-five windows, a unique masterpiece of brick and wood, and one of the oldest monuments present in Nepal. The palace has a golden gate embellished with mythical creatures. On a column facing the palace is a statue of the king seated in worship.

BhaktapurDarbarSquare

The entire square has the charm of the medieval world. We spent time looking at the city gates, temples, sculptures, idols, all of which gave an insight into the life and style of the ancient kingdom and convey the essence of the cultural heritage of Nepal.

Watching the sun set against the silhouette of the temples left an impression that would perhaps last in my mind forever.

BhaktapurNepal

 

Narayansthan Temple 

Next morning, we set off for Swayambhunath. On the way, our driver Birbal stopped at a Narayan temple. Maybe, he had instructions from his boss to take us first to the religious places.

The open – air temple is also known as Budhanilkantha Temple. It is dedicated to Lord Narayan, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Inside the temple, we found a large statue of Lord Narayan in a sleeping posture floating in water, with SheshNag (a hooded snake) rising protectively around his head. This 5m-long sculpture of Narayan is supposed to have been created in the 7th century from one huge piece of stone. Perhaps this is the only statue of Narayan in a sleeping posture. Photography of the sculpture is prohibited but one can take pictures of the other places in the temple courtyard. The lady had come for darshan. She kindly allowed me to take a picture of her.

NarayanthanTemple

Swayambhunath 

From the Narayan temple, we went to Swayambhunath, which I thought would be a Shiva temple. From the entrance, a flight of steps took us up to the Swayambhunath temple. On reaching the top we found a Buddhist stupa (supposed to be 2500 year old). Just across the stupa was a Hindu temple. A very cordial ambience prevailed in the temple as people lit incense sticks and lamps both in front of the stupa and the temple.

SwayambhunathNepal

There were lots of monkeys all over the place, some perched on the windows, roofs and some rolling on the floor. They seemed to be at ease with the tourists and vice versa. From the temple, we got a lovely view of the Kathmandu valley. Downstairs I saw a swimming pool dedicated to monkeys, where big and small monkeys were diving, taking a dip, and honing their swimming skills. It was fun to watch a baby monkey deftly crossing the pool.

We spend some time at the stupa relishing the mystical, spiritual and festive environment at Swayambhunath.

Patan Darbar Square

Of the three Darbar Squares of Kathmandu, I found Patan to be the most beautiful and well preserved.  This UNESCO Heritage site is like a living museum, where we could see exhibits of fine craftsmanship, and visually stunning display of Newari architecture in the ancient monuments, the array of temples and shrines.

We went inside the Royal Palace. Small doors lead to large courtyards. There is a three-storey temple on the side. In one of the courtyards, we saw a beautiful step well in the shape of Shiva Linga. Another courtyard houses the museum. The seating beside the windows of the museum gives a good view of the square and the road below.

PatanNepal

StepWellPatan

Out of the palace and museum, we walked around the Durbar Square and saw a huge bell that dates back to 1700s and marvellous sculptures of kneeling elephants and elephant riders in front of the temples.

On the day prior to our departure, we had a lunch get-together with my husband’s college classmates from Kathmandu. I volunteered to be the photographer. Here is a picture of the sumptuous Nepali thali. The number of dishes and the portions in each plate was quite a lot.

Lunch

We wanted to take a Yeti flight over Everest but had to drop that due to slight indisposition. As they say Once is Not enough, perhaps I will go back some other time to see Pokhara, Lumbini and to take a flight over Everest.

I have been posting the pictures on Instagram. If interested, you may want to have a look here.

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    By: Somali K Chakrabarti

    Hi there ! I am a management and leadership coach and a ‘çlinical blogger’. Well, that’s what my family & friends call me now ! Here, I tell stories of different brands, how people relate to the brands and the values, beliefs and emotions that they associate with the brands. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

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24 thoughts on “Kathmandu Places to Visit – My travel memoirs Part II

  • June 3, 2017 at 10:02 am
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    Wow what views, and the statue of Shiva.. Oh, how large and beautiful it stands proud on the hillside.. Such wonderful views.. Many thanks for sharing part of your world.. So enjoyed travelling with You Somali..
    Love and Blessings my friend..
    Enjoy your weekend..
    Sue 🙂

    Reply
    • June 4, 2017 at 6:55 pm
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      Thank you very much, Sue. We hadn’t exactly planned it this way but somehow it turned out to be a spiritual and heritage tour, thanks to the competent person who drove us around. Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Had guests for the weekend, so could not reply earlier. Love & Regards, Somali

      Reply
      • June 4, 2017 at 9:35 pm
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        🙂 I am pleased it turned out this way.. My daughter is going to Bali later in the year to tour alot of the temples there.. On a spiritual tour.. So your photos were fascinating. Sending my love and thoughts your way .. Enjoy your week Somali.. xx

        Reply
  • June 4, 2017 at 4:10 am
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    So many temples, and each has its own styles and significance. So much to see and so much learn. Always we feel such pious and poignant when we are in precinct of temples premise in the midst of lush green nature and life is best understood when we step out of our comfort zone, out of city, out of routine works and get into such beautiful places. The Shiva Statue picture has been beautifully taken in the blue sky backdrop…

    Nepal at the backdrop of Mount Everest can only provide the most humbling feelings when you are at the foothills of Himalaya. Shiva Statue to Darbar Square, so much of engineering work that has gone in and we only realize the quantum of work and the work excellence in our historical monuments and sculptures.

    By the way the spread on the plate is tempting and sumptuous…is the Nepal Thali similar to Indian Thalis, as it appears quite similar.
    Somali, have a peaceful Sunday.
    😀

    Reply
    • June 4, 2017 at 7:11 pm
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      Thank you, Nihar. It is amazing to see how Nepal as a country is culturally so connected with India in terms of religion, mythology, beliefs and practices. The Shiva statue is an engineering marvel. The space around it is such that the whole setting seems like the abode of Shiva, like we read in mythological lores, The Durbar Squares showcase finest examples of Newari architecture.
      The arrangement of rice, accompaniments and curries in the thali is very similar to the thali from eastern part of India.
      Btw I forgot to mention that most places in Nepal accept Indian currency, and most people understand..so it sometimes feels as if you are in your own country. 🙂
      Hope you had a great weekend.

      Reply
      • June 5, 2017 at 2:44 am
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        I agree Somali just that it is a different country but they were very much a part of Indian landscape and so much things in common, especially the culture and religion. So is the case with Bhutan and both these Himalayan countries are like one more Indian state. Yes, Indian currency is accepted in both countries and we don’t feel as if we have come to foreign country. The mythological stories and the architectural structures are testament to the kind of knowledge and work by our ancestors.

        Thanks for sharing such an informative post on Nepal and have a lovely week ahead.
        😀

        Reply
  • June 4, 2017 at 4:28 am
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    Lovely pictures Somali…I didn’t know there are so many temples and all dedicated to Shiva! Thanks for sharing the wonders of Kathmandu…you seem to be quite good at photography! The panoramic beauty of hills has been well-captured! 🙂

    Reply
    • June 4, 2017 at 7:18 pm
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      Thank you very much, Balroop. I have since the past few months developed a great fascination for photography. 😀
      I also had no idea that there were so many temples in Nepal , and many of them considered as very sacred ones. The other thing I found was that people could make out that we are from India and greeted us with a Namaste, which is nowadays becoming uncommon among the younger generation in the cities of India.
      Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

      Reply
  • June 4, 2017 at 5:56 am
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    Thoroughly enjoyed the lovely description of your visits to Doleshwar Mahdeva,Sanga Mahadeva,Bhaktapur Darbar Square,NarayansthanTemple,Swayambhunath Temple and Patan Darbar Square during your Kathmandu trip.Hope you get an opportunity to see Pokhara,Lumbini and Mount Everest in your future trip.Best wishes.

    Reply
    • June 4, 2017 at 7:23 pm
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      Thank you very much for your kind words. Happy to know that you enjoyed reading the post. We are grateful to Mr Thakur, for making his vehicle and driver available for us, Birbal, the person who drove us around knew the place so well that we could cover a number of places in a short time. If God is willing we may get the chance to see the other places.

      Reply
  • June 4, 2017 at 10:03 am
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    Somali! Nepal for sure offers breath-taking and stunning views, right from nature to spiritual places. I love the shots and got a friend from Nepal who keep urging me to visit…this post urging me to plan a visit soon.

    Reply
    • June 4, 2017 at 7:27 pm
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      Thank you Vishal. Till your friend is in Nepal, take the opportunity to visit the country. You will enjoy visiting these places in Kathmandu and can explore the other places to. Indians do not even need a visa to travel to Nepal, and even Indian currency is accepted at many places.

      Reply
      • June 5, 2017 at 10:50 am
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        He is a local based there and just yesterday we spoke on phone. Told him about your posrt. May be shall plan some three to four days next year:) That’s cool to know Indian currency accpeted there.

        Reply
  • June 5, 2017 at 3:08 am
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    Very exhaustive and informative detail of sites to visit when in Nepal. We had driven to Pokhara. Scenery was beautiful. Patan square also I liked. Did not visit Mahadeva. May be next time.

    Reply
  • June 6, 2017 at 12:28 pm
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    4000 years old, yet the statue looks beautiful! The monkeys sound spoiled. I’d love a pool dedicated to me. What fun adventures you have, Somali!! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Reply
  • June 6, 2017 at 10:02 pm
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    Beautiful pictures, Somali. It’s a temple city…dedicated to Lord Shiva. You made the best use of time (or shortage of it) by visiting all the temples 🙂 The Nepali thali really looks great 😀

    Reply
    • June 7, 2017 at 1:44 am
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      Spot on Maniparna. Temple city dedicated to Shiva. The arrangement of thali was similar to how traditionally the Bengali thala is arranged.
      Thanks for letting me know that the email is working now.

      Reply

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