Kathmandu City Sightseeing
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Kathmandu (Nepali: काठमाडौं [kɑʈʰmɑɳɖu]; Nepal Bhasa: येँ देय् "Ye Deya" also called "Nepal Khalto", "Kastamandup") 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. It also includes the recently recognized urban areas of Shankhapur, Karyabinayak, and Champapur. Banepa, Dhulikhel, and Panauti are satellite urban areas of Kathmandu located just outside the Kathmandu valley. Kathmandu is also known informally as "KTM" or the "tri-city". According to a census conducted in 2011, Kathmandu metropolis alone has 2.5 million inhabitants, and the agglomerate has a population of more than 3 million inhabitants. The metropolitan city area is 50.67 square kilometres (19.56 sq mi) and has a population density of 3000per km² and 17000 per km2 in city.
The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,350 metres (4,429 ft) in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. It is surrounded by four major mountains: Shivapuri, Phulchoki, Nagarjun, and Chandragiri. View of Ganesh Himal from Kathmandu is breathtaking. Kathmandu Valley is part of three districts (Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur), has the highest population density in the country, and is home to about a twelfth of Nepal's population. The climate and weather of Kathmandu is favoulous for living and also very rich in flora and funna.
Historically, the Kathmandu Valley and adjoining areas were known as Nepal Mandala. Until the 15th century, Bhaktapur was its capital when two other capitals, Kathmandu and Lalitpur, were established. During the Rana and Shah eras, British historians called the valley itself "Nepal Proper". Today, Kathmandu is not only the capital of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, but also the headquarters of the Central Development Region of Nepal. The Central Region comprises three zones: Bagmati, Narayani, and Janakpur. Kathmandu is located in the Bagmati Zone.
Kathmandu is the gateway to tourism in Nepal. It is also the nerve center of the country's economy. It has the most advanced infrastructure of any urban area in Nepal, and its economy is focused on tourism, which accounted for 3.8% of Nepal's GDP in 1995–96. Tourism in Kathmandu declined thereafter during a period of political unrest, but since then has improved. In 2013, Kathmandu was ranked third among the top 10 travel destinations on the rise in the world by TripAdvisor, and ranked first in Asia. There are lots of historical and touristic places in Kathmandu where people can spend a day without notice of time spent. Some very tourist destination of Kathmandu are Pashupatinath Temple, Soyambhunath(Monkey temple), Bouddhanath Stupa, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Rani Pokhari, Dharahara, Ghantaghar, Thamel, Royal Palace Musium, The National Musium of Nepal, many more ancient temples scattered around the city. Besides that the city is also famous for butterfly watchers as more than 360 species of butterflies (with some endengered species) are found in Kathmandu and its surrounding hills. Hence this city is also famous in the world as "butterfly paradise"
The city has a rich history, ancient architecture, art, sculpture, carpenting spanning nearly 2000 years, as inferred from inscriptions found in the valley. This city is also known as the "City of Temples". A century earlier, it was said that "There is more temples around Kathmandu city then the residental houses." 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. Ancient local people of Kathmandu Valley are Newars and so there are lots of Newar's festivals "Jatras" are celebrated throughout Kathmandu Valley like Indra jatra, Gai Jatra, Ghode jatra etc. There are people of other religious beliefs as well, giving Kathmandu a cosmopolitan culture. Nepali is the most commonly spoken language in the city. English is understood by Kathmandu's educated residents.
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"
Pashupatinath Temple (Nepali: पशुपतिनाथ मन्दिर) is one of the most significant Hindu temples of Shiva in the world, located on the banks of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The temple serves as the seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath. The temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
The temple is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams (Holy Abodes of Shiva) on the continent. Over the past times, only born Hindus were allowed to enter the temple. Others could look at it from other side of the river. However, the norms have been relaxed due to many incidents. If the individual is destined, he/she takes and completes the journey to reach these footsteps without any resistance or obstructions along the way, is believed to be under loving grace of Rudra. It is final stage of harsh penance. Thus, the slave (pasu - the human condition) becomes the master (pati - the divine condition).
Kotirudra Samhita, Chapter 11 on the Shivalingas of the North, in Shiva Purana mentions this Shivalinga as the bestower of all wishes. One of the major Festivals of the temple is Maha Shivaratri on which day over 700,000 devotees visit here.
Kathmandu Durbar Square:
Kathmandu Durbar Square or Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square is the plaza in front of the old royal palace of the then Kathmandu Kingdom. It is one of three Durbar (royal palace) Squares in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Durbar Square is surrounded with spectacular architecture and vividly showcases the skills of the Newar artists and craftsmen over several centuries. The royal palace was originally at Dattaraya square and was later moved to the Durbar square location.
The Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square surrounds quadrangles revealing courtyards and temples. It is known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, a name derived from a statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, at the entrance of the palace.
The preference for the construction of royal palaces at this site dates back to as early as the Licchavi period in the third century. Even though the present palaces and temples have undergone repeated and extensive renovations and nothing physical remains from that period, names like Gunapo and Gupo, which are the names referred to the palaces in the square in early scriptures, imply that the palaces were built by Gunakamadev, a king ruling late in the tenth century. When Kathmandu City became independent under the rule of King Ratna Malla (1484–1520) the palaces in the square became the royal palaces for its Malla kings. When Prithvi Narayan Shah invaded the Kathmandu Valley in 1769, he favored the Kathmandu Durbar Square for his palace. Other subsequent Shah kings continued to rule from the square until 1896 when they moved to the Narayan Hiti Palace.
The square is still the center of important royal events like the coronation of King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah in 1975 and King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah in 2001.
Though there are no written archives stating the history of Kathmandu Durbar Square, construction of the palace in the square is credited to Sankharadev (1069–1083). As the first king of the independent Kathmandu City, Ratna Malla is said to have built the Taleju temple in the Northern side of the palace in 1501. For this to be true then the temple would have had to have been built in the vihara style as part of the palace premise surrounding the Mul Chok courtyard for no evidence of a separate structure that would match this temple can be found within the square.
Construction of the Karnel Chok is not clearly stated in any historical inscriptions; although, it is probably the oldest among all the courtyards in the square. The Bhagavati Temple, originally known as a Narayan Temple, rises above the mansions surrounding it and was added during the time of Jagajaya Malla in the early eighteenth century. The Narayan idol within the temple was stolen so Prithvi Narayan Shah replaced it with an image of Bhagavati, completely transforming the name of the temple.
The oldest temples in the square are those built by Mahendra Malla (1560–1574). They are the temples of Jagannath, Kotilingeswara Mahadev, Mahendreswara, and the Taleju Temple. This three-roofed Taleju Temple was established in 1564, in a typical Newari architectural style and is elevated on platforms that form a pyramid-like structure. It is said that Mahendra Malla, when he was residing in Bhaktapur, was highly devoted to the Taleju Temple there; the Goddess being pleased with his devotion gave him a vision asking him to build a temple for her in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. With a help of a hermit, he designed the temple to give it its present form and the Goddess entered the temple in the form of a bee.
His successors Sadasiva (1575–1581), his son, Shiva Simha (1578–1619), and his grandson, Laxmi Narsingha (1619–1641), do not seem to have made any major additions to the square. During this period of three generations the only constructions to have occurred were the establishment of Degutale Temple dedicated to Goddess Mother Taleju by Shiva Simha and some enhancement in the royal palace by Laksminar Simha.
Bauddhanath Stupa, largest in dimension and size, found in Nepal represents as the best example of the Nepalese Stupa architectural design. This massive stupa stands over a 3 tired crossed rectangles designed in a tantric mandala from. This unique and exquisite design of it also has made it a rare and exclusive piece of the traditional Nepalese Stupa architectural work. This type of stupa architectural design is not common either in Nepal or elsewhere. Apart from its exclusive design and style, its massive size and dimension also has made it a distinct piece. The stupa covers an area of 82.36x82.03m and its total height is 36m. Moreover, unlike the other existing stupas in Nepal, this is lacking the idols of five Dhyani Buddhas being installed on its cardinal directions. Instead, it has only one image of Dhyani Buddha, the Akchhobhya, which has been installed on its northern side dome’s base. The stupa is made out of construction materials like mud, bricks, lime stone, metal and wood. It is having an enclosure wall all around it and has a total of 735 metal prayer wheels fixed into its 147 cabinet like chambers. Each prayer wheel contains the popular Buddhist Mantra “Om Mani Padme Humn” embossed on them in the Newari Script popularly in uses in the medieval times.
The base of the stupa dome is rested up on its three successive tired platforms which are also used as circumbulatory passages. A little above the base of the dome there is a series of recessed niches encircling the entire periphery of dome where a total number of 108 beautifully done stone sculptures of different Buddhist deities have been installed. The stupa has its main entrance on the northern side, from where the devotees can approach to the base of the stupa for a holy circumbulation passing again through the fights of stairs given to the each successive tries which can also be used as a separate circumbulatory passages. These successive tires again have 6 miniature stupas built over them; four to the north and two to its south. To the top of the stupa dome, a square harmika has been erected facing all cardinal directions. Each side has the sketches of the pairs of eyes along with the question marks which are dome very artistically. It is said that with these ever cautious eyes the lord beholds every happening constantly with a very keen attention and so nothing is secret to him. Over this, a thirteen layered wooden rings have been erected, which are according to the Buddhist religious belief, represent the different mental stages of human beings which have to be crossed before attending final salvation, the nirvana by one who wants to be freed from the worldly bondages. Above this, over a gilded Amalika, in the form of an inverted lotus patel, a vessel has been placed, which according to the traditions, filled with the water of knowledge. On the top, a gild metal parasol along with a pinnacle is given which is also of a gilded metal.
To its northern side’s main entrance, a separate temple dedicated to the goddess Hariti has been build in a rectangular plan with a metallic roof over it. The temple houses a silver mould sculpture of the goddess Hariti executed in a semi terrific appearance with a small figure of a baby on her bosom. The tradition of worshipping goddess Hariti has a very long antiquity in Nepal.
Buddhanath Stupa has been a very sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site for most of the Buddhists of the world. It also has been a centre of Buddhist learning and religious activities since very long. This place, especially for the devoted coming from Tibet, has greater religious significance. Even today hundreds and thousands of devotees from come here every year to pay their homage to the lord. This place is also an important centre for the followers of the Lamaistic Buddhism. The number of pilgrims increases pouring here especially on various festive occasions as Lhosar, Buddha Purnima etc. Loshar is a big festival celebrated with a great joy and enthusiasm by Tibetans and some Nepalese communities as well. On this occasion, the entire Stupa along with its surroundings are decorated and lit. This is a new year’s day festival for Tibetans and some Nepalese as well and falls between the second half of January and the first half of February every year. The youngsters are blessed by the elders during this festival.
Another important festive event occurs here is the twelve year’s festival which falls once in every twelve year’s interval. It is believed that it took twelve long years to complete building this stupa and this festival is organized to commemorate that special event. It is also said that this festival is celebrated to mark the repetition of the names of the months which reoccurs after every twelve years. Each Tibetan mounts is dedicated and named after an animal. The next same festival is going to occur in 2016/2017 A.D. Similarly another festival falls on the full month day of the month Magh (January- February). During this festival, a chariot ceremony of Mhyazima is performed. On this occasion, a grand religious procession takes a round of the locality along with the chariot. In the same way, another chariot festival is organized and celebrated here on the full moon day of the month of Baisakh (May-June) to mark the auspicious birth day of lord Buddha. In this occasion, the chariot with the idols of Buddha is taken to the various places within the locality accompanied by a grand religious procession with it. The day to day worship of the stupa is also carried out along with its aforesaid special worships and such worships are regularly performed by the traditional lama priests, the forefathers of the present day monk the Chiniya Lama of the adjoining Baudhha Ghyang, a monastery. Here, thousands of pilgrims come everyday to light the immortal lamp burning since time immemorial. It is also believed that it never extinguished in the past. If there is a chance, ever extinguishes that can be lit again with the help of another lamp brought either from the Swayambhunath stupa or from the Vajrayogini temple Sankhu.
In 1972 the UNESCO’s seventh convention under the U.N.O. passed a resolution to protect the important natural and manmade monuments found all around the world. it was only in 1978 that Nepal signed the agreement and got the membership. After on year, Nepal requested UNESCO to include seven historical and monumental sites of the Kathmandu valley which have historical, cultural, religious and architectural importance. UNESCO’s world heritage committee convened in Cairo in 1979 accepted and approved the proposal of Nepal and enlisted Budhanath Stupa in the world now. This has enhanced the importance of this place.
Swayambhunath is one of the holiest pilgrimage centres in the Kathmandu valley equally venerable for the Buddhists as well as the Hindus. It is a great centre of reverence not only to the people of Nepal, India, Bhutan, China but also to all the peace loving people of the world.
The Swayambhu hill is called as “Padmagiri” and "Vajrakuta" in ancient epigraphic sources. It also called “Gopucchha” and ”Gosringa” hill because it looks like a tail or horn of a cow when one observes it from the Chobhar hill. Beautiful view of this Swayambhu hill can be observed from almost all parts of Kathmandu valley and the entire Kathmandu valley can be seen from the eastern side of the Swayambhu hilltop. Therefore, tourists love to observe the Kathmandu valley from this vantage point. The cultural as well as the natural heritages of this hill are very important and valuable. It is situated in the west of Kathmandu city.
The site is most graceful. The greenery of age old botanical species which grow on this hill and it has been the habitat of the monkeys through the ages.
The story of Swayambhu is closely associated with the origin of Kathmandu valley. According to the Swayambhu purana, the valley in the beginning was a big and beautiful lake known as “Kalidaha”. The legend further explains that the Vipaswi Buddha came here and sowed a lotus seed in this beautiful lake which grew up and bloomed with thousand petals. On that very flower a dark-blue flame emanated and it is known as Swayambhu Jyoti which can be translated as self-originated flame. Having heard about this strange incident, pilgrims began to visit this lake to pay homage to this auspicious flame. Among the pilgrims Mahamanju shree from Mahachina came with his two spouses Varada and Mokshada. After paying homage to the Swayambhu Jyoti, he planned to drain the water out from the lake. Finally by cutting out the narrow slit in the hill at Chobhar with the help of his spouses Varada and Mokshada, he drained the water of the lake and dried out lake was converted into a valley suitable for human settlement. Accordingly, a stupa was erected in the place where the Swayambhu Jyoti had emerged. That very stupa has been known as the Swayambhu Mahachaitya.
There is a lack of proper historical and archaeological evidence to prove the legend based statement mentioned above. Although, the historical city of the origin of Swayambhunath is not supported by proper evidences but the lacustrine origin of the valley is confirmed by the geological studies.
It is difficult to determine that when exactly the lake was dried up and human settlement in the valley began. Even so, on the basis of the stories highlighted by the puranas and local chronicles, it can be assumed that human occupation in the valley might have started during the first millennium B.C. According to the legend related to the Swayambhunath stupa, its history can be linked with the history of human settlement in the valley. However, authentic evidences as to the historical city of the stupa have been found only from the Licchavi period of Nepali history. The Licchavi, stone sculptures and stone monoliths of miniature stupa are the earliest historical and archaeological evidences scattered around. On the basic of such evidences most of the scholars of Nepalese history believe that the earliest phase of the construction of the Swayambhunath stupa had occurred around the beginning of the 5th century and the credit of this noble work goes to the Licchavi king Vrisadeva.
The holy area of the Swayambhu hill is almost fenced with the newly constructed wall cum prayer wheels or the “Mani wall” around the foot of the hill. Stone paved stair-ways from east and west side of the hill lead to the top platform where the majestic Swayambhu stupa stands. The stair-way of eastern side is the traditional pilgrimage route to the stupa.
A metallic road leads up to the car park situated on the western side of the hill. A stone paved stairway from this park leads to the Vasubhandhu stupa from where it branches off towards northern and southern top of the hill.
It is not clear that who and when had laid the foundation stone of this stupa. But it is regard as one of the oldest monuments in the Kathmandu valley and believed that at the beginning it was in the form of simple mud mound like the so called Ashokan stupas of patan in the valley
The Gopal Raj Vamsavali, a well known Nepalese chronicle mentions that king Vrisadeva, the great grand father of Licchavi king Manaeva 1st, of 5th century had “constructed the chaityabhattaraka in Sinagum Vihara (Swayambhu)”. With this reference most of the scholars haved credited to king Vrisadeva as the founder of this stupa. Though, some scholars believe that monk Shantarakshita of 8th century, was the founder of this stupa but later Buddhist literary works credited to monk Shantikaracharya for the construction of the stupa in this present shape and size. According to the story, King Pracahnde Deva of Gauda (At present in west Bengal) converted himself as a monk and became famous with his new name Shantikaracharya. He is not only founded the great Swayambhunath stupa but also erected five shrines for its protection which are popularly known as Agnipura, Nagapura, Vayupur, Vasupura and Shantipura and used Shantipura as his abode.
Thus, it is difficult to say exactly who and when had founded this stupa but certain repairs and perhaps enlargements of this Swayambhunath Stupa must had been carried out in Licchavi time. The first authentic historical evidence of such restoration occurred in 1129 A.D. recorded in an inscription adjacent to the Stupa. This stupa with many natural calamities and human vandalism in course of its long history. One of the severe acts of vandalism was Muslim invasion in the valley in 1349 A.D. during this invasion the army of Sultan Sams-ud-din has looted, destroyed and burnt innumerable monuments of the Kathmandu valley including this Swayambhunath Mahachaitya. After twenty-three years of this incident a nobleman Rajharsh Bhallok of Kathmandu city renovated this Stupa in 1372 A.D. during the time of King Jyaysthiti Malla and his son Jotir Malla, the stupa was renovated again. The most frequent repairs in this Stupa are either the replacement of the central wooden shaft called the Yasti or the repair of the finial. During the time of King Laxminarasimha Malla the central wooden shaft was replaced by Shyamarpa Lama of Tibet. In 1751 A.D., another notable renovation work was carried out in this Stupa. King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha had also contributed donation, which is mentioned in an inscription found in this area.
There is no mention about the damages caused by the earthquake of 1834 A.D. in this stupa. The severe earthquake of 1934 could not damage this Swayambhu Stupa but some other monuments of this site were affected. In 1961, severe renovation works were carried out in the area. In 1977, severe landslide in the eastern side occurred in this hill which now has been stabilized.
The outstanding cultural and architectural value of this Swayambhu Stupa and surrounding monuments has been recognized by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO and inscribed it in the world Heritage List in 1979. Therefore, this stupa now has become a pride of mankind of the World and the Government of Nepal is paying its special attention in conserving the monuments and in protecting the historical and cultural environment of this site. For the proper and systematic conversation, this site has been declared a Protected Monument Zone and a master plan has been envisaged and is being executed by the Department of Archaeology.
Thus, the age-old cultural traditions and monumental remains of Swayambhu Nath hill are not only the achievement of any individual or group of people of any particular time but a collection of contributions made by several scholars, kings, devotees and donors in different times since more than two thousand years.
The main Stupa
The Swayambhu Chaitya, as believed by the scholars, was a simple mud mound until its repair and enlargement in the Licchavi period. However, nothing is known about the shape and size of that time. At the beginning of early medieval period of Nepali history, the Vajrayana under the Mahayana Budhism was in culmination of its development and very popular in Nepal and Tibet. Vajrayana philosophy was materialized in different art and architectural forms. The present physical form of this Stupa was also designed during that time under the strong influence of Vajrayanism. One can observe heavy influences not only in the art and architectural forms but also in the rich cultural traditions found in Swayambhu Nath area. Therefore, scholars use to mention this site as a “Cradle of Vajrayana Buddhism”.
According to Vajrayana Buddhism, Swayambhu is a symbol of Void (Sunya) represented the creator of this universe and by Adibuddha from whom all the Panchdhyani Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, emerged out. This philosophical concept of the Vajrayana Buddhism is materialized in the form of a stupa. The present form of this Swayambhu Stupa represents all these aspects of Vajrayana philosophy.
The Garbhagriha or hemispherical dome is erected right from the level of circumbular passage and encircled by five dhyani Buddhas and their consorts each enshrined in a gilded niche spaced around the stupa. They along with their Bodhisattava and family, represent the five elements as mentioned in the Vajrayana principle.
The central part of the dome is represented by the Dhanibuddha Vairochana his consort Vajradhateswari also known as Vairochani.
Moreover, in most unusual that Vairochana is supposed to occupy its place inside the centre of the stupa but enjoys a shrine adjacent to Akshobhya on the eastern side.
The eastern part of this dome is represented by the Dhyanibuddha Aksyobhya his consort Saptalchani, bodhisattva Vajrapani, element sky and Abhiratibhuvana.
The southern part of this dome is represented by the Dhyanibuddha Ratnasambhava, his consort Mamki, bodhisattava Ratnapani, element the earth and Ratnavatibhuvana.
The western side of the dome represented by the Dhyaniboddha Amitabha, his consort Pandara bodhisattva Padmanpani, element fire and Sukhavatibhuvana.
The northern part of the dome is presented by the Dhyanibuddha Amoghasiddhi, his consort Tara, Bodhisattava Viswapani, element Air and Amoghavatibhuvana.
The cubic form of construction immediately above the dome is called Harmika. It is believed that eyes painted on it belong to the Dhyanibuddha Vairochana and is extending the sight of knowledge peace and compassion to all four directions. They are also called “Vajradristi” and “Sunyadristi”. The conch sell like sign in between the eyes is called "Urna". It is believed that the “Unra” is one among the thirty two auspicious signs found on the body of Lord Buddha.
The gold plated bronze rings above the Harmika are called Trayodashabhuvana. They represent thirteen stages of disciplinary world to reach Nirvana.
The Usnisha or usnishachudamanu is resting on the top of central wooden shaft or the “’yasti”. Above the Usnisha the golden parasol is surmounted. It is also called ”Chudamanichhatra” or “Dharmachhatra”.
When one arrives at the top of the hill, through the eastern stair way, a gold gilded big Vajra and Mandala of bronze is encountered. It is one of the holiest objects kept in this area. The Vajra is rested on a bronze Mandala around which twelve different animals, representing twelve months of Tibetan calendar are depicted.
It is also believed that the Vajradhatumandala is the symbolic representation of Dhyanibuddha Akshyobhya. The vajra was installed by King Pratap Malla in the middle of 17th century AD.
King Pratap Malla had carried out many construction works in this Swayambhu hill, the construction of Pratapapura and Anantapura temples are important among them. The Pratapapura was constructed by Pratap Malla on his own name and dedicated to lord Swayambhu. This temple got fired and crumbled down in August 2003. now it has been reconstructed.
The Vjrayanists believe that the Earth or the Vasundhara is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. The temple dedicated to the Goddess Vasundhara is also known as Vasupura. Originally it was constructed by monk Shantikaracharya but the present form is a renovated one.
It was also constructed by monk Shantikaracharya. Among the five elements, it is related to the air or the Vayutattwa.
The Devadharma Mahavihara:
It was founded in 1780 AD. The ground floor of this Vihara is used as public resting place and the first floor is used for the monastery. This monastery is run by the Bhutanese Lamas. This is also called “Bhutani Gumba” or the Bhutanese Monastery. After a firing incident it was renovated in Rana period.
The Jyotikirti Mahavihara:
It was founded in 1393 AD. This vihara is almost defunct as a religious institution now. The recent renovation retains only the shape of the temple of the guardian deity and the court to some extent. The Torana that once crowned over the main entrance with the five Dhyanibuddhas in their Tantric form is now displayed in the Museum.
The Harati temple:
The traditional Nepali multi-roofed style temple belongs to the Goddess Haratimata. She is also called “Ajima” and “Sitalamai”. Different stories are found regarding her in “Swayambhu purana” and “Harati Avadana”. The devotees offer their worship to this Goddess to protect their children from diseases. Saturday and Tuesday are special and auspicious days for the worship called “Chhahayekegu”. This is the second important among the monuments of the Swayambhu hill. The struts of the temple are carved with the figures of different deities. The figures of Chaturnaharajas i.e. Dhritarastra, Virudhaka, Virupakshya and Kuvera are the important ones.
The Samhegun Vihara:
The Samhegun vihara, is belongs to the family of the priests of the Swayambhu Chaitya. The main shrine is on the ground floor and in the courtyard a stupa of Licchavi period is located. This vihara has been renovated by the Department of Archaeology.
The Agnipura is related to the fire god. It is one of the five temples constructed by the monk Shantikaracharya.
The Shantipur is also known as Akashpur. This dedicated to the sky or space and is named after its founder Shantikaracharya, who is said to have taken Samadhi inside. There is no any image in the sanctum and is accessible only for the Buddhist priests who have learnt tantric practices. Worship is offered in the sanctum twice a month. The wall paintings are another important heritage existed in this temple. Themes of the paintings are based on the stoires found in Swayambhupurana. The paintings of early human Buddhas like Vipaswi, Shikhi, Viswobhu, Kasyapa, Kanakamuni, Krakuchhanda and Dipankar are depicted.
The pit shrine is called Nagapura. It is dedicated to the Nags or serpants, the original aquatic lords of the lake. This is one among the five puras constructed by the monk Shantikaracharya.
The Karmaraj Mahavihara:
The Karmaraj Mahavihara is belongs to the Kargyutpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It was constructed in 1954 AD and a large image of Budhha was installed here.
The Shikara style Anantapura temple is situated on the south-east of the Swayambhu Chaitya which was built by King Pratap Malla and was named after his queen Anantapriya.
Different images and cultural objects collected from Swayambhu area are displayed in this site Museum.
The Vasubhandhu Chaitya:
It was named after its founder Vasubhandhu Acharya. An old stone Vajra is placed on the eastern side of the Chaitya.
The Old Swayambhu:
Among the stupas situated around the Manjushree Chaitya, the old Swayambhu is an important one. In local language, it is called “Pulan Syangu” which means the old Swayambhu. Different images belonging to Vajrayana Buddhism are placed all around the stupa.
Manjushree Chaitya Area:
The Manjushree area is another important cultural area located in the western hums of the Swayambhu hill. Manjushree in Buddhism is regarded as the god of knowledge and learning as the Goddess Saraswati in Hinduism. Therefore, in the day of Vasantapanchami or Saraswati puja a big fest is observed in this shrine too. Manjushree is credited for draining the water of Nagadaha out and converted it into a valley suitable for human occupation. This shrine is taken as another important monument of this area.
The relic of lord Buddha brought from Srilanka is preserved in the Garbhagriha of the stupa of Anandkuti Mahavihara. People pay homage to the relic on the birth day of Lord Buddha or Buddha Jayanti. The premises of Anandakuti School, campus and office of the Swayambhu Management and Conservation Federation are located adjacent to Vihara.
Natural history Museum:
The Natural History Museum under constituted Tribhuvan University is another attraction for the visitors. Fossils of early animals and taxidermies of recent animals and birds and other several objects related to natural history are preserved and exhibited here.
Bhuikhel area is the spot of Samyaka worship:
The Bhuikhel area of Swayambhu is another important place where the Samyaka festival every twelve years is performed. During the time of Samyaka puja His Majesty the King is worshiped in the form of Bodhisattva.
Note: The following itinerary of the Kathmandu city tour is done as a part of other trekking itinerary.
06:00 Wake up
06:15 Break fast
07:00 Drive to Pashupatinath Temple with city guide and observe pashupatinath
10:00 Walk/Drive to Boudhanath Stupa
12:30 Drive to Soyambhunath Temple(Monkey Temple) (1 hr. drive) and observe Soyambhunath and Kathmandu from there.
15:00 Drive to Kathmandu Durbar Square and obsever it.
17:30 Drive back to Hotel