Best Places To Visit In Kathmandu

  • Sarba -In mountain's embrace , my soul finds its grace
  • Last Updated on Aug 21, 2023

The Kathmandu Valley is a treasure trove of history, culture, and spirituality. Its three major cities, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan, offer a glimpse into Nepal's rich heritage through their architectural marvels, ancient traditions, and vibrant festivals. This region, nestled amidst scenic hills, invites travelers to immerse themselves in the beauty and cultural tapestry of Nepal.
The Kathmandu Valley's natural surroundings add to its allure. The surrounding hills provide opportunities for hiking and panoramic views of the valley and the snow-capped Himalayan peaks in the distance. The valley's temperate climate makes it pleasant to explore throughout the year.

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Heritage Sites of Kathmandu Valley

The Kathmandu Valley is a captivating region located in central Nepal, encompassing three major cities: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan (also known as Lalitpur). With its rich history, cultural heritage, and stunning architecture, the valley offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors.
Kathmandu, the bustling capital city of Nepal, serves as the political, economic, and cultural hub of the country. It is a vibrant metropolis where ancient traditions seamlessly blend with modern developments. The city is renowned for its lively markets, bustling streets, and a fascinating mix of traditional and contemporary architecture. Exploring the vibrant neighborhoods of Thamel, Durbar Square, and Boudhanath Stupa is a must-do for any visitor.

Bhaktapur, situated about 13 kilometers east of Kathmandu, is a city steeped in medieval charm. Often referred to as the "City of Devotees," it is famous for its well-preserved architecture and rich cultural heritage. Walking through the narrow alleys of Bhaktapur's old town feels like stepping back in time. The intricately carved wooden temples, traditional pottery, and the ancient Bhaktapur Durbar Square are major attractions that showcase the city's unique beauty.

Patan, located just south of Kathmandu, is another ancient city within the Kathmandu Valley. It is known for its remarkable Newari architecture, arts, and crafts. Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts magnificent palaces, temples, and statues that reflect the city's rich history and cultural significance. Exploring the city's vibrant Durbar Square and witnessing the skillful metalwork, woodwork, and stone carvings is a feast for the senses.

The Kathmandu Valley is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath Stupa (also known as the Monkey Temple), and Boudhanath Stupa. These sites are not only architectural marvels but also hold immense religious and historical significance. They offer visitors a glimpse into the valley's rich cultural heritage and serve as important pilgrimage sites for both Hindus and Buddhists.

The valley's cultural tapestry is dominated by the Newar community, who have played a pivotal role in shaping the region's art, architecture, festivals, and cuisine. Exploring the Newari heritage, experiencing their unique festivals such as Bisket Jatra and Indra Jatra, and savoring Newari cuisine are immersive experiences that allow visitors to deeply connect with the local culture.

Throughout the year, the Kathmandu Valley comes alive with vibrant cultural festivals. Dashain, Tihar, Holi, and Bisket Jatra are some of the major festivals celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. These festivals offer a glimpse into the valley's lively traditions, religious rituals, and communal spirit, creating a memorable and immersive cultural experience for visitors.

In conclusion, the Kathmandu Valley is a treasure trove of history, art, and spirituality. Its ancient cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, rich cultural traditions, and warm hospitality make it a destination of immense beauty and cultural significance. Exploring the Kathmandu Valley is an opportunity to delve into the heart and soul of Nepal, immersing oneself in its vibrant culture, captivating architecture, and the warm embrace of its people.

Kathmandu Durbar, Rani Pokhari, and Swayambhunath

To summarize, Kathmandu Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases the palaces of the Malla and Shah Kings. It is surrounded by magnificent architecture and temples, highlighting the craftsmanship of the Newar artists. The square includes the Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex, which was the royal residence and the site of important ceremonies.

Kumari Ghar, located in the center of Kathmandu, is a palace where the Royal Kumari, believed to be the incarnation of the goddess Taleju Bhawani, resides. The square suffered damage during the 2015 Nepal earthquake but is undergoing reconstruction.

Swayambhu, situated on a hillock, is an ancient Buddhist stupa and a revered religious site. It is also significant to Hindus. The complex contains the stupa, shrines, and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. The stupa's architectural design, including the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha and the pentagonal Torans, adds to its grandeur. The site holds religious and historical artifacts.

Swayambhu is cherished by Buddhists as a pilgrimage site and by Hindus as the abode of Avalokiteshvara. Visitors can climb the steep staircase, circumambulate the stupa, and enjoy the panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley.

Rani Pokhari, an artificial pond in the heart of Kathmandu, was constructed by King Pratap Malla. It features a stone statue of an elephant representing the king and his sons. Rani Pokhari is closed to the public throughout the year, except during the Bhai Tika and Chhath festivals. The Chhath festival, dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, is celebrated on a grand scale at Rani Pokhari, attracting numerous visitors. Rani Pokhari holds cultural and historical significance and serves as a peaceful retreat from the city, offering a glimpse into Kathmandu's heritage.

Pashupatinath and Boudhanath Temple

The Pashupatinath Temple, located on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, is a renowned 5th-century Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is the oldest Hindu temple in the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple features pagoda-style architecture with wooden rafters, copper and gold roofs, and silver-covered doors. The complex includes various temples, ashrams, and shrines of both Vaishnava and Saiva traditions. The temple is famous for its celebration of Shivaratri, attracting thousands of devotees and sadhus. It houses a large bronze statue of the Nandi bull and has a gold pinnacle with two Garbhagrihas.

Boudhanath, located about 11 kilometers from central Kathmandu, is one of Nepal's most sacred Buddhist sites and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its main attraction is the grand stupa, which is one of the largest spherical stupas in the country. The stupa features intricate carvings and is surrounded by a brick wall with prayer wheels engraved with the mantra "om mani padme hum." Devotees and visitors engage in clockwise circumambulation while spinning the prayer wheels for blessings and positive energy.

Boudhanath attracts Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims who perform prostrations, chant mantras and offer prayers. The site is known for its serene and meditative atmosphere, created by the rhythmic sound of prayers and the devotion of the visitors. Colorful prayer flags adorn the stupa, symbolizing the spreading of positive intentions and blessings. According to local beliefs, the stupa is said to contain the remains of the Kassapa Buddha.

Beyond its spiritual significance, Boudhanath serves as a cultural and religious center, housing monasteries, temples, and shops selling religious artifacts and handicrafts. The site offers a unique blend of Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhist traditions, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere and observe religious practices.

Overall, Boudhanath is a symbol of Buddhist devotion and spirituality. Its impressive stupa, prayer wheels, prayer flags, and serene ambiance make it a must-visit destination for those interested in exploring Nepal's rich religious and cultural heritage.


Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon, is a captivating city located in the eastern corner of the Kathmandu Valley, approximately 8 miles away from the capital city of Kathmandu. The name Bhaktapur translates to "the place of devotees" and reflects the city's deep religious and cultural heritage.
In its heyday, Bhaktapur was the largest among the three Newar kingdoms in the Kathmandu Valley and served as the capital of Nepal during the renowned "Malla Kingdom" until the latter half of the 15th century. Today, Bhaktapur stands as a testament to its glorious past, boasting the best-preserved palace courtyards and old city center in Nepal. Its cultural significance and architectural beauty led to its inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city's rich heritage is reflected in its exquisite temples, wood, metal, and stone artworks. The craftsmanship displayed in the intricate carvings and designs is truly remarkable. Bhaktapur is a haven for art enthusiasts, offering a glimpse into traditional Newar art and architecture.
One of the unique culinary delights of Bhaktapur is the famous "Ju Ju Dhau" or "King Curd." Local curd makers claim that the taste of this curd, prepared in Bhaktapur, is unparalleled and cannot be replicated anywhere else in Nepal. It has become a must-try delicacy for visitors.
Bhaktapur is also known for its thriving pottery and weaving industries. The city's artisans create exquisite pottery and beautifully woven textiles, showcasing their exceptional skills and craftsmanship.
The city's historical monuments, magnificent windows, beautiful ponds, and rich local customs and traditions make Bhaktapur a captivating destination. The city comes alive during religious festivals when the streets resonate with vibrant colors, music, and mystical celebrations.
Bhaktapur has a significant historical and strategic location, as it has long served as a trade route between Tibet and India. This advantageous position contributed to the city's prosperity and wealth during medieval times.
For tourists, Bhaktapur is an enchanting place to explore, offering a glimpse into an untouched and preserved ancient city. Its unique blend of art, architecture, culture, and traditions provides a truly immersive experience for visitors seeking to delve into Nepal's rich heritage.

Glimpses of Bhaktapur Durbar Square

The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a magnificent complex in Bhaktapur, Nepal, showcasing a blend of pagoda and shikhara-style architecture. It comprises several distinct squares, each with its unique charm. The main square, Durbar Square, features a palace with intricate wood carvings, courtyards, and temples. Taumadhi Square is known for its towering Nyatapola Temple, a marvel of engineering. Dattatreya Square boasts ancient shrines and stone monoliths, while Pottery Square showcases traditional pottery-making crafts.

The Palace of Fifty-five Windows, also known as Pachpanna Jhyale Durbar, is a remarkable architectural gem within the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Built in the 15th century and renovated in the 17th century, it features a balcony adorned with fifty-five intricately carved windows, showcasing exceptional woodcarving artistry. It served as a royal residence and center of governance during the Malla dynasty.

The Batsala Temple, dedicated to the goddess Batsala Devi, was a magnificent stone temple with intricate carvings. It housed a renowned bronze bell known as the "bell of barking dogs." Unfortunately, the temple was demolished in the 2015 earthquake, but efforts for its restoration may be underway.

The Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla is a splendid statue positioned on a column facing the palace. It depicts the revered ruler of the Malla dynasty, showcasing his devotion to religion and his contributions to the kingdom. The statue serves as a testament to its historical and cultural significance.

The Bhairav Nath Temple is a sacred place dedicated to Bhairav, the fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva. It symbolizes protection and attracts devotees from various religious backgrounds who seek blessings and solace. The temple serves as a spiritual center for prayers, rituals, and offerings.

The Golden Gate, also known as Lu Dhowka, is an exquisite and intricately designed entrance to the main courtyard of the palace. It is adorned with depictions of monsters and mythical creatures, showcasing the fusion of Hindu and Buddhist influences. Commissioned by King Ranjit Malla, it represents the region's artistic heritage and historical legacy.

The Lion's Gate is a remarkable gate with a tragic history. Legend has it that the king ordered the hands of the artisans who built it to be severed out of jealousy, forever silencing their exceptional skills. It stands as a somber tribute to their sacrifice.

Nyatapola Temple, commissioned by King Bhupatindra Malla, is a 5-story pagoda dedicated to Siddha Laxmi. It showcases exquisite sculptures and intricate detailing, reflecting Nepal's craftsmanship. As one of the tallest pagodas in the country, it represents Nepal's architectural prowess and cultural significance.

Overall, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a captivating place where history, art, and spirituality converge, showcasing Nepal's rich heritage and architectural splendor. Each structure within the complex tells a unique story and stands as a testament to the country's cultural and historical legacy.

The Dattatreya Temple

The Dattatreya Temple, an ancient and revered religious site, stands in close proximity to the Palace of Fifty-five Windows. This three-story pagoda-style temple, constructed during the reign of King Yaksha Malla, is adorned with statues representing the Hindu trinity: Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer. It is believed that the temple was completed around 1486 A.D., shortly after the demise of King Yaksha Malla, and was opened to the public at that time.
One remarkable aspect of the Dattatreya Temple is its construction from a single piece of wood derived from a single tree, as per popular belief. This showcases the architectural ingenuity and craftsmanship of the time. The temple is surrounded by intricately carved wood panels, some of which feature erotic decorations, adding to its uniqueness and artistic appeal.
Adjacent to the temple, you will find a monastery, known as a Math, which features exquisitely carved peacock windows. These windows are a testament to the artistic prowess of the craftsmen during the reign of King Vishwa Malla. The monastery itself boasts intricate facades adorned with latticed windows and engraved columns, showcasing the intricate details and architectural beauty of the era.
The Dattatreya Temple and its accompanying monastery are not only significant religious sites but also serve as captivating examples of the rich artistic heritage of Nepal. Their presence offers visitors a glimpse into the past, where devotion and artistic expression converged to create enduring works of beauty and spirituality.

The Changu Narayan

Changu Narayan Temple, one of the oldest Hindu temples in the Kathmandu Valley, holds a rich historical and cultural significance. It is believed to have been originally constructed in the 4th century and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is known as Changu Narayan. This temple has witnessed the passage of centuries and bears a testament to Nepal's ancient architectural heritage.

A remarkable discovery near the temple is a stone slab dating back to the 5th century, making it the oldest stone inscription found in Nepal. This inscription provides valuable insights into the region's history and serves as an important archaeological artifact. Additionally, the temple houses numerous stone sculptures that date back to the Licchavi period, further emphasizing its historical importance.

Changu Narayan Temple has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, highlighting its outstanding universal value and significance. The temple itself is a double-roofed structure, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship. At its core, the temple houses the idol of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayana, revered by devotees.

The intricately built temple features roof struts adorned with depictions of multi-armed Tantric deities, adding to its architectural splendor. These artistic details demonstrate the fusion of religious and artistic traditions prevalent during the period of its construction. Changu Narayan Temple stands as a living testament to Nepal's rich cultural and architectural heritage. Its ancient origins, archaeological artifacts, and stunning craftsmanship make it a site of immense historical and religious significance, drawing visitors from around the world to witness its beauty and to pay homage to Lord Vishnu in his revered form of Changu Narayan.


Patan, also known as Lalitpur, is the third largest city in Nepal, situated in the south-central part of the Kathmandu Valley. The city is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, particularly its tradition of arts and crafts, earning it the nickname "the city of festivals and feasts." Lalitpur has a fascinating historical background, believed to have been founded in the third century BC by the Kirat dynasty and later expanded by the Licchavis in the sixth century. During the medieval period, the Mallas further expanded the city. Interestingly, in 1768, Patan was annexed to the Gorkha Kingdom by Prithvi Narayan Shah without any battle.
One of the remarkable features of Patan is its initial design, shaped like the Buddhist Dharma-Chakra, or the Wheel of Righteousness. The city is home to over 1,200 Buddhist monuments of various shapes and sizes, making it one of the oldest known Buddhist cities. Patan also serves as a significant center for both Hinduism and Buddhism, boasting 136 bahals (courtyards) and 55 major temples.
Lalitpur was meticulously planned, with an emphasis on Vihars (monasteries) and Bahils (courtyards with water conduits). Out of the 295 Vihars and Bahils in the Kathmandu Valley, a staggering 56% of them can be found in Patan. The city is adorned with numerous cultural treasures, including water conduits, stone spouts, Jaladroni (water tanks), artistic gateways, Hindu temples, and Buddhist Vihars. These architectural marvels contribute to the city's beauty, with the royal palace featuring intricately carved doors and windows, and the courtyards adorned with exquisite icons. Various art pieces crafted from stone, metal, terracotta, ivory, and other materials showcase the artistic excellence of the craftsmen, creating an open museum-like ambiance throughout the city. Many of these structures are located in the vicinity of Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These are just a few highlights of Patan, Lalitpur, illustrating its cultural significance and architectural splendor.

Patan Durbar and the Mahabauddha Temple 

The Patan Durbar Square is a magnificent example of Newar architecture and is a major attraction in Patan, Lalitpur. The square features square floors adorned with red bricks and is home to numerous temples and idols. The Malla Kings of Lalitpur are credited with establishing the royal square. It is believed that the site has served as an ancient crossroad.
Within the Durbar Square, there are several important structures. The Krishna Mandir, Bhimsen Temple, Vishwanath Temple, and the temple of Taleju Bhawani are notable among them. The Krishna temple holds particular significance in Patan Durbar Square. Constructed in the Shikhara style, this temple is renowned for its intricate stone carvings along the beam above the first and second-floor pillars. The carvings on the first floor depict events from the epic Mahabharata, while the second-floor carvings portray scenes from the Ramayana.
The main layout of Durbar Square consists of three primary courtyards within the palace complex: the Mul Chok, Sundari Chok, and Keshav Narayan Chok. These courtyards are beautifully designed and add to the grandeur of the square.
However, it is important to note that Patan Durbar Square suffered significant damage during the earthquake that occurred on April 25, 2015. The earthquake had a profound impact on the square and its structures. Efforts have been made to restore and preserve this cultural heritage site since then.
In addition to Durbar Square, another notable attraction in Patan is the Mahabauddha temple. This temple is known for its unique architecture and intricate terra cotta ornamentation. The temple is adorned with countless small clay images of Buddha, giving it its distinctive appearance. The Mahabauddha temple is an important religious and cultural site in Patan, attracting both locals and tourists alike.
Both the Patan Durbar Square and the Mahabauddha temple are significant landmarks that showcase the rich cultural heritage and architectural excellence of Patan, Lalitpur.

Sarba -In mountain's embrace , my soul finds its grace

Sarba -In mountain's embrace , my soul finds its grace

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