NEPAL. Kathmandu: Even though Nepal is a tiny country, it has 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites. And 7 of the 10 World Heritage site of Nepal is just in and around Kathmandu within a 20 KM radius. This makes Kathmandu a city with the highest number of World Heritage Sites.
Normally, you can go around all these sites in one day but letting yourself absorbed in the Himalayan Kingdom’s atmosphere is recommended. So you can give 3-4 days in your itinerary when you visit Nepal.
Kathmandu can be easily approached as flights from all over the world flow in. And the city has various accommodations available suiting your budget from hostels for backpackers to super luxury hotels. Food choices are plentiful and you get all kinds of food – European, American, Indian, Nepalese, etc.
The seven World Heritage sites in Kathmandu are:
- Pashupatinath, the holy and sacred Hindu temple
- Kathmandu Durbar Square
- Bhaktapur Durbar Square
- Patan Durbar Square
- Changunarayan Temple
- Swyambunath, “The Monkey Temple”, and
- Boudha Stupa
Besides the heritage sites, there are many other attractions that are of tourist importance. And they are Thamel and Nagarkot.
Also Read: To The Abode Of Lord Shiva
The Pashupatinath Temple, situated 3 KM from the Tribhuvan International airport in Kathmandu, is a famous and sacred Hindu temple complex on the banks of the Bagmati River. It in fact is a sprawling collection of temples, ashrams, images, and inscriptions encompassing 264 hectares of land, including 518 temples and monuments. There’s also a crematorium on the banks of the river.
It’s always a good practice to hire a local guide or a local priest here. The priest knows the temple complex very well and can show you around, take you to interesting points, help you in performing the puja, and also tell you the history of the temple and interesting mythological stories about lord Shiva. It certainly is a rich experience learning more about Hinduism, Buddhism, and Tibetan cultures that are associated with this temple from a locals’ viewpoint.
Although non-Hindus are not allowed inside the main Pashupatinath Temple, they can move on the opposite side of this river to have a glimpse of this temple complex, climb up well laid out steps in the complex to visit various small temples in the complex. Also, the colourful street full of shops selling puja material, floral garlands, etc. makes a good photo opportunity and is worth a visit. And in the evening they can also enjoy the Aarti on the river banks.
Two aartis are performed daily in the evening at the temple, one at the main sanctum and the other at the banks of the river Bagmati (Known as the Napalese Ganga).
The Temple’s existence dates back to 400 B.C. A richly ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga or phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. Nepalese pagoda style is used for the architecture of the main building, the roofs are made of copper with a gold covering and the 4 main doors are covered by silver sheets.