Private Kathmandu Valley Temple Tour

Posted by Andy on Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Home to some of the cultures and religions that have shaped the philosophical outlook of the civilized world for the last thousand years, The Kingdom of Nepal is a true adventure place but beside the excellent trekking, the challenging whitewater rafting and stunning wildlife safaris, Nepal, and in particular the valley of Kathmandu, offers a wide range of interesting natural and cultural heritages to discover.

This half-day itinerary visits what many consider the main cultural highlights of the Kathmandu Valley.  You will begin with a visit to Kathmandu Durbar Square and then walk or shuttle over to Swayambhunath Stupa.  From there a private vehicle will transport you to Bhouddanath Stupa where you will visit the area and have lunch.  Finally you will stop at the open Hindu cremation site of Pashnupatinath and then ultimately be driven back to your hotel.  All tours include pick-up/drop-off to your hotel in Kathmandu, transportation between sites and entry fees at each location.  A licensed professional guide will accompany you throughout the trip.

(Please note  that our multi-day trek itineraries include a visit to Bhaktapur so this particular site is left off of the itinerary.  For our non-trekking guests this can be included for a small additional cost)

 

Itinerary

Durbar Square, Kathmandu

It is the historic seat of royalty. Durbar Square, with its old temples and palaces, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people. It is here that the kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations take place.

Historic places of some interest include the Taleju Temple, the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of King Pratap Malla and the Jagannath Temple.

You may also be interested to visit the Tribhuvan Museum inside the Hanumandhoka Palace building, although photography is prohibited inside this museums. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and government holidays.

This is the one of the UNESCO cultural heritage sites of Nepal.

Swayambhunath Stupa (a.k.a Monkey Temple)

Kathmandu Valley history, according to the legends, begins with Swayambhu, or “the self-existent”. Apparently Bodhisattva Manjusri alighted on a beautiful lake whilst travelling. He saw a lotus blossom that emitted brilliant light at the lake’s center, so he cut a gorge in a southern hill and drained the waters to worship the lotus. Men settled on the bed of the lake and called it the Kathmandu Valley. Behind the hilltop is a temple dedicated to Manjusri of Saraswati – the goddess of learning. Swayambhu is the best place to observe the religious harmony in Nepal. The stupa is amongst the most ancient in this part of the world. The largest image of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal is in a monastery next to the stupa. Other monasteries here have huge prayer wheels and fine Buddhist paintings.

Bouddhanath Stupa

Bouddhanath is amongst the largest stupas in South Asia, and is the focal point of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. The white mound looms thirty-six meters overhead. The stupa is built upon the ancient trade route to Tibet where Tibetan merchants have rested over many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the 1950s, many of them decided to live around Bouddhanath. This is still the best place in the valley to observe Tibetan lifestyle.

Pashupatinath Temple

The temple of Pashupatinath is Nepal’s most sacred Hindu shrine and is a sprawling collection of temples, ashrams, ../images and inscriptions raised over the centuries along the banks of the holy Bagmati River.

The ornate pagoda, houses the sacred lingam or phallic symbol of Lord Shiva.
Chronicles suggest the temple’s existence before 400 A.D, but a shrine may have stood here nearly 1000 years before that.

The temple complex has been renovated and improved over the centuries. Entrance to the shrine is restricted to Hindus. However, one can still get a good view of the sacred temple from vantage points across the Bagmati.