Kathmandu The Gateway to Nepal


Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and often called "The Gateway to Nepal" and "Gateway of Mount Everest". When anybody who has come to Nepal thinks of Kathmandu, the first impression he carries on his mind is the temples of Kathmandu and its rich culture. Pashupatinath, Boudhanath Stupa, Swyambhunath temple (often called Monkey temple), Changunarayan are the world heritage sites of Kathmandu that are in the memories of thousands of tourist who have visited Nepal. Kathmandu is the melting point of Buddhism and Hinduism. The greatest Hindu shrine, Pashupatinath, situated in the eastern part of Kathmandu attracts thousands of tourists every year. Spectacular stupas such as Swyambhunath and Boudhanath would keep any peace lover spellbound and surrender to the symbol of peace and take mesmerizing experience back.

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Now I would like to scratch some history behind Kathmandu valley. Nobody would ever believe this beautiful city was once a great lake and Swyambhunath, a floating lotus. A Chinese warrior named Manjushree came to Nepal to see the Swyambhunath. It looked like a lotus floating around the lake. He then drained the water out of Kathmandu by cutting hill in Chobhar with his sword. Kathmandu valley is believed to have got its name from imposing pagoda Kasthamandap in Hanuman Dhoka.

Nepal is a country of great culture and traditions. Believe it or not here are 3 million gods and festivals more than there are days in a year. So, if you are in Kathmandu on any month in a year, you would definitely want to check the festival out there. It's a lot of fun.

Pashupatinath is the greatest tourist destination. Though on the main temple only the Hindus are allowed to enter there are several interesting things in Pashupatinath which will make your visit worthy. Pashupatinath has covered a very big area. Monkeys, dears, beautiful pigeons can be seen around Pashupatinath. Pashupatinath is a temple of God Shiva. You can see lot of devotees with the ashes put around their body and smoking weeds. Pashupatinath is situated on the bank of holy river Bagmati. On the bank of Bagmati River you can see the cremation ceremony. IN Hindu culture, when there is death of any person, then they are burnt and at last the ashes are flown to the Bagmati River which will ultimately reach the Holy River Ganges. This is quite an interesting culture of Hindus which you can witness in Nepal unlike the burial ceremony of other religions and culture.

When you are in Kathmandu you would not want to miss the opportunity to see the sunrise in Nagarkot. The golden color cloud with the sunrise makes you feel like you are in Heaven and the spectacular view of Mount Everest makes your visit million dollar one. I would strongly recommend get yourself to Nagarkot, one of the premier hill stations, where you will find a hotel for any budget and taste. It is not very difficult to get to Nagarkot. You can book a taxi or take the daily tourist bus which departs from Thamel at 7 am everyday in tourist season and on demand out of season. A great view of mountains, one of the Nepal's biggest attractions can be enjoyed on a clear day. From Nagarkot, views can be seen right from Annapurna in the west all the way down to Kanchenjunga in the east. The best time of year to see impressive views of the mountains is from September through to February. When you are returning from Nagarkot I would recommend you to trek down through the hillside Tamang Villages to Changunarayan, the oldest and one of the loveliest temples in the Kathmandu Valley. The entry fee is just 70 rupees.

Thamel, Narayanhiti national museum, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Rani Pokhari, Dharahara are other interesting places which are within a 2km radius so I hope you would you could visit these places without any difficulty. Thamel is the gathering point of Tourists in Nepal where I believe every tourist will go once they go to Kathmandu. Here you can witness as many tourists as native people. You can find some good restaurants and good hotels for your accommodation in Thamel. It is worth visiting in Kathmandu.

Kathmandu Durbar Square is another tourist place where you must definitely go when you are in Nepal. It seems like there was a competition of putting as many temples and big museums in the smallest area possible. I would recommend taking a rickshaw (three wheeler bicycle) and wander around the place. You can stay on the top of one of the temples and just watch the activities on busy city as well.

If you want to go for trekking from Kathmandu you can easily go to any popular trekking sites such as Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Trekking Circuit, and Manaslu Trekking etc. If you want to go to Mount Everest, then you need to take a mountain flight from Kathmandu to Lukla which is about 30-40 minutes. Lukla is one of the world's most dangerous airport and the airport on the highest point.

I hope you learned something about Kathmandu and hope it will provide some help for your visit.

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