Kathmandu is the capital and largest urban agglomerate of Nepal. The agglomerate consists of Kathmandu Metropolitan City at its core and its sister cities Patan, Kirtipur, Thimi, and Bhaktapur. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) surrounded by four major mountains: Shivapuri, Phulchoki, Nagarjun, and Chandragiri. Kathmandu Valley is part of three districts (Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur). Archaeological excavations in parts of Kathmandu have found evidence of ancient civilizations. The oldest of these findings is a statue, found in Maligaon that was dated at 185 AD.
The city has a rich history, spanning nearly 2000 years, as inferred from inscriptions found in the valley. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Most of Kathmandu’s people follow Hinduism and many others follow Buddhism. There are people of other religious beliefs as well, giving Kathmandu a cosmopolitan culture. Kathmandu’s sister cities (Lalitpur Patan) and Bhaktapur are integral to Kathmandu’s cultural heritage, tourism industry, and economy; therefore UNESCO’s World Heritage Site lists all three cities’ monuments and attractions together under one heading, “Kathmandu Valley-UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the Kathmandu valley, you can find many temples and the Kathmandu valley is also known as the city of temples. Some the major temples in the valley are:
The Pashupatinath Temple is a famous 5th century Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (Pashupatinath) and is located on the banks of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of Kathmandu, Pashupatinath Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. A significant part of the Pashupatinath temple was destroyed by Mughal invaders in the 14th century and nothing much remains of the original 5th-century temple exterior. The temple as it stands today was rebuilt in the 19th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mainly, only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple premises, but non-Hindu visitors are allowed to view the temple only from the across the Bagmati River.
The temple is built in the pagoda style of architecture, with cubic constructions, carved wooden rafters (tundal) on which they rest, and two-level roofs made of copper and gold.
Swayambhunath [The Monkey Temple]:
Swayambhunath) is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmanducity. It is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are monkeys living in premises of the Temple. The Swayambhunath complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period.
Swayambhunath, is among the oldest religious sites in Nepal. Swayambhunath is believed to be built by King Vṛsadeva the great-grandfather of King Manadev (464-505 CE), , about the beginning of the 5th century CE. However, Emperor Ashoka is said to have visited the site in the third century BC. Although the site is considered Buddhist, the place is revered by both Buddhists and Hindus. Numerous Hindu monarch followers are known to have paid their homage to the temple, including Pratap Malla, the powerful king of Kathmandu, who is responsible for the construction of the eastern stairway in the 17th century. Swayambhunath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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