As seen in the photos, the Buddha eyes are look down from the top of the stupas with a contemplating look. Swayambhunath is the most popular Buddhist temple in Nepal and is also known as the Monkey Temple, WATCH OUT! Be careful with them, they are little thieves. There are also lovely views of the Kathmandu Valley.
It was damaged in the 2015 earthquake but with support from the Buddhist community it has been fully restored in under 2 years. On story claims the stupa was founded by a widow. When she asked the king for permission she was told it could not be bigger than the size of a single ox skin.
However the cunning widow cut the ox skin into thin strips. The result is the 6,756 square meter site which was listed by UNESCO in 1979. Take some time to wander around, watching today's widows turning the prayer wheels, looking around the shops selling singing and medicinal bowls or painted mandalas or getting a bird's eye view from a rooftop restaurant whilst enjoying a 'buff' momo.
The Kathmandu Durbar Square is the main square in Nepal. This is the true epicenter of this chaotic, but charming city. It is also the perfect spot to see some great sites. The square is full of ancient buildings, which are very characteristic of Nepalese architecture. Among them, the palace dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman. When we were there, the statue of Hanuman's face was painted red. In Kathmandu Durbar Square you can also see the Taleju Temple, Jagannath Temple, the super scary Kal Bhairav, the King Pratap Malla statue, the Kasthamandap, the Kumari Ghar Nautale and many more. But what I found interesting was the atmosphere this place had. It was definitely Asia at its best. In the morning it's a place where a ton of cultural charm can be found and in the afternoon it's a veritable market.
Patan is one of the oldest Buddhist cities in the world. Also known as Lalitpur, this little gem in the Kathmandu Valley was founded in the III century BC. One of the most interesting place to visit is its beautiful Patan Durbar Square (or Royal Plaza). In 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its beautiful old buildings. I especially remember the fabulous Krishna Mandir or the Hiranya Varna Mahavir (best known as the Golden Temple of Patan). However, the best of Nepal is its people, their smiles and beautiful colors. A beautiful place to spend an afternoon visiting craft stores or eating in one of the terraces.
Bhaktapur is the third jewel that can be found in the Kathmandu Valley, along with Kathmandu and Patan. As it does have this reputation, this ancient royal city also has its famous "Durbar Square", palaces, the Golden Gate, and Hindu and Buddhist temples. The city isn't that far away from Kathmandu, but due to the road conditions, it took 40 minutes (by car) to travel 20 kilometers. I notice that there is no way to avoid paying the barrier to prevent the entry.
Smells, colors, people, all form a part of Thamel, after climbing to the highest mountain you may just want to get lost in the urban world, where time slips by, floating on the aromas of incense mixed with the colors of the dyes in the marketplace.
Several hours by uncomfortable roads bring you close to the Royal Chitwan jungle, in the midst of Nepal. It is a UNESCO protected site because of the number of species of flora and fauna. As well as thousands of birds that birders can spend hours looking at through binoculars there is also a wide variety of plants. But what is most striking is an elephant ride to see the rhinos bathing in the pond. The elephant shouts with his trunk and the rhinos back off. When we go the rhinos return to their pond. With a little luck you can see even tigers.
Pashupatinah is undoubtedly one of the most impressive places in Kathmandu. The city's mortuary is located along the Bagmati, a river that's as sacred for the Napelese people as the Ganges is for Indians. Pashupatinah is located on the outskirts of Kathmandu, but you can walk there, especially if you're staying in Bodhnath. The big ceremonial Hindu city is made up of several buildings and temples. The main one is for Shiva, and non-Hindus aren't allowed to enter. However that pales in comparison to the adventure of walking aimlessly through the mystical city dotted with temples and sculptures minors, and packed with sadhus, or holy men. The ghats of the Bagmati offer a unique and strong: The cremations witnessed closely. Life and death, wealth and extreme poverty, are part of a ritual emotional, intimate and chilling.
In early September, the Indra Jarta festival takes place in Nepal to celebrate Lord Indra, the God of Rain and also the King of Heaven. Thousands of people gather in Kathmandu's Dubar Square to see the Kumari, a child who is revered as a living goddess. The Kumari is selected by tantric ritual from among thirty-two girls between four and seven years of age. They consider the voice, the color of the eyes, the shape of the teeth, etc., during the selection. Then the girls must endure a ritual involving a goddess with the head of a buffalo howling in a darkened room. Only a girl who is able to remain quiet and calm in this frightening environment can become the Living Goddess. She and her family can then move to live in the house prepared for them at Durbar Square until she reaches puberty when new Kumari is chosen.
Mythic, suggestive, and remote, the Kathmandu Valley is a fertile strip of land that has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to the amount of ancient towns and fabulous temples scattered through it. Kathmandu and some surrounding cities (like Patan and Bodhnath) are in the valley, but you can also see far older settlements, including the spectacular, medieval city of Bhaktapur. This makes the perfect base for exploring the region, whether on foot, on mountain bike, or by bus. The valley is stunning and lush, with fields that look like colourful tapestries, and worked by Newari women dressed in red. The valley is crossed by a single road, but it's better to get off the beaten track in search of adventure. You will always find a humble farmhouse, or an ancient temple surrounded by rice or wheat, with smiling people everywhere you go.
The Lake of Pokhara is where all walks in the small country of Nepal begin. The temperature during the summer is perfect to go by boat to lake Pokhara, overlooking the world's highest peaks. It is a paradise and grandiose mixture on a piece of Tibet. It´s a great place to visit and it´s also incredibly exciting.
Crossing this long suspension bridge in the Nepalese city of Pokhara is an incredible experience. It's a beautiful location and even bit hidden...in fact, we arrived there almost by accident. We were able to chat with the locals on their way home.
In a recent post, I said I would put up pictures of Everest because so different from the other mountains. I also added a mountain range that follows. While flying over the Himalayas I got some beautiful photos of the other side of the Himalayas, the kthamdú valley, covered by a sea of clouds. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. For those of you who have never seen an aerial photo of the Himalayas, I can tell you that any hotel features airlines for this flight, but I recommend this one because it only cost €130 and I heard from other friends in the hotel that they were charging for much more. Plus there was great service on the flight where they point out each peak and especially Mount Everest. Also, everyone who wants to can go into the cockpit where the pilot will tell you the name of the peak over which you are flying at that moment. They hand out a brochure with a map of the Himalayas with the name and height all 20 peaks that you are going to fly over.
I recently turned a corner and I said I would put the pictures of Everest so you can distinguish the other peaks better. I also attach a photo of the mountain range that continues from here. In the corner of the Himalayas Overflight I took some beautiful photos across the Himalayan valley of kathamdú covered by a sea of clouds ..I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. For those who don't see this view over the Himalayas I would tell you that every hotel in the area provides the option to make this flight. It only costs € 130 and from other friends in the hotel we heard they were asking much more. The service on the flight is great, pointing out each peak, where it is and especially when you see Mount Everest. If you want to go to the cockpit you can, where the pilot will tell you which peak is what. They give you a brochure with a plan of the mountain range, with the name and height of each peak up to number 20, where the tour turns back around to go back to the start.
Viewing Beatriz´s comment encouraged me to write about Pokhara. It is true that there will be changes. When you arrive you find a lovely place, full of places to visit, hiking routes, sleeping options for little money, restaurants to spend hours at, and above all, a place to start your life. When you go around the lake with your own boat, rowing in the rain you know you've arrived at the beginning of the world. Sarangkot is a great place to explore and discover, to look back and look forward to return because the return path is the vital way. Staying in a hostel will depend on your desire to stay put. If you do your exploration with a guide it is not worth it, but if you go and it's your choice, you are taking charge of your own destiny.
Nearby is Patan Kathmandu, with its numerous temples. I was struck especially by Krishna Temple (the 8th incarnation of Vishnu) situated in the central square. At the entrance is rope hanging from the doorway. When asked they said they were ox intestines that were sacrificed sometimes inside the temple. There, among several statues and relics you can see the place where sacrifices are made.
Kathesimbhu Stupa: a few metres from Tahiti Tole, on the right. This Buddhist temple is a highly revered major pilgrimage centre, dating from 1650. It's guarded by two bronze lions and has brightly painted statues.
The peace pagodas were built in different parts of the world and, according to Buddhist doctrine, are meant to be places of unity between people of all races and creeds. The main pagoda is in Lumbini in the temple complex that surrounds Buddha's birthplace. The World Peace Pagoda is a bright white but still quite sober in comparison with the multi-color lotus flowers found in the nearby lakes.
Pashupatinath is situated on the banks of the Bagmati River, 6 kilometers from Katmandu. It is the most important Hindu center of Nepal and one of the seven most important holy cities for Hindus. Pashupatinah houses a vast complex dedicated to the worship of Pashupati, God of animals, the benevolent Shiva and Parvati, lady of the mountains. Pashupatinah and the Bagmati River are what Varanasi and the River Ganges are to India, sacred places where the dead are cremated. The dead are cremated along the banks of the Bagmati and the ashes and remains are thrown into the river afterwards. In the sacred complex of Pashupatinah many temples can be found as well as theatrical fake sadhus (holy men), cremation ghats (Arya Ghats) as well as a lot of monkeys. I'll never forget the smell of burning flesh.