This verdant valley was once a huge lake, legend dictates that in the middle of the lake was a brilliant flame emanating from a Lotus flower. People would come from miles around to wonder and worship the flame. A Chinese disciple Bodhisattva Manjushree, wishing to worship the flame more closely sliced a portion of the hills with his sword draining its waters and thus the fertile Kathmandu valley was created. Chovar gorge where the valley waters drain today remains the focus of the legend. In the years since, the Kathmandu valley has seen many dynasties and empires come and go, each leaving their own mark on the valley’s mystique. The valley today incorporates three major settlements, all have their own distinctive character with outstanding temples, works of art and architecture and a varied calendar of feasts and festivals, their roots in being capital cities of the valleys three principality’s in times gone by. Between them they boast the highest density of World Heritage Sites to be found anywhere in the World, seven in total. There are many other fascinating settlements in the valley offering their own reasons for being there.
PATAN DURBAR SQUARE :
Patan’s Durbar Square is a concentrated mass of temples, the most stunning display of Newari architecture to be seen in Nepal. Listed as a World Heritage Site, the former Royal Palace complex is the center of Patan’s religious and social life, and houses a museum contain a array of bronze statues and religious objects. One remarkable monument here is a 17th century temple dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Krishna built entirely of stone.
BHAKTAPUR DURBAR SQUARE :
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is much larger and more spacious than Kathmandu’s and much less crowded with temples than Patan’s. The disasterous earthquake in 1934 destroyed many of the beautiful monuments in the square and it is now marked only by empty platforms where they once stood.
SWAYAMBHUNATH TEMPLE ( The Monkey Temple ) :
This Buddhist temple is proudly situated on the top of a hill in the middle of the Valley. The unique architecture of Swayambhunath is one of the most easily recognizable symbols of Nepal. From here one can enjoy a spectacular views of the Kathmandu City. Legend says that long long time ago the valley was a lake and it was known as the serpent’s lake. The Buddha Vipaswi came to the lake and threw a lotus plant saying, “when this plant brings forth a flower, then Swayambhu, the self existent one shall be revealed as a light.”
Boudhanath is the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and is one of the biggest in the world. It is the religious center for the Buddhist population of Nepal and for Tibetans. Surrounding this stupa are monasteries and many small Tibetan handicraft shops.
Pashupatinath is the most important Hindu temple of Nepal, standing on the banks of the holy Bagmati river. Various religious activities take place here almost everyday. Sadhus (holymen) from many different countries especially from India, visit the temple to pay homage to Lord Shiva, the caretaker of the Valley.