Around Kathmandu Valley
Also known as the "Monkey Temple" is said to be two thousand years old, making it one of the world's oldest and most glorious Buddhist Chaityas. The Chaitya (stupa) which forms the main structure, is composed of a solid hemisphere of brick and earth supporting a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. Painted on the four-sided base of the spire are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. The temple is situated three kilometres west of Kathmandu city, and stands on the Valley. This hill is a mosaic of small Chaityas and pagoda temples.
This colossal stupa, one of the biggest in the world, is situated eight kilometres east of the capital. Like Swayambhu, the stupa is inset on four sides with the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha gazing in each direction. Built on a huge octagonal base, the stupa is also inset with prayer wheels. It is common to see dozens of worshippers constantly perambulating the stupa while taking care to spin each of the sacred prayer wheels. Around the stupa are various smaller shrines and the houses of important Lamas (Buddhist priests). The stupa takes an added importance at all the Buddhist festivals when Buddhists come from all over the country to take part in the sacred rituals.
This is the holiest of all the Shiva shrines in Nepal and is the abode of Lord Pashupatinath, the guardian God of Nepal. The temple of Pashupatinath is a large double-roofed pagoda of gold-gilt and brass; the gateways are plated with silver. It stands on the western bank of the Bagrnati, about five kilometres north-east of Kathmandu and contains the sacred lingam of Pashupatinath. The whole place is a mosaic of other temples and shrines dominated by the big gilted figure of Nandi, the mount of Shiva; this is seated on a stone pedestal opposite the main gate, flanked by a golden trident. There is a crematorium outside the temple by the side of the wide but shallow river. On the occasion of the annual festival of Shivaratri (February/March), the temple is thronged by thousands of devotees, including a large number of pilgrims from India. The temple is also the site of a number of other different festivals and rituals taking place throughout the year.
Durbar Square (Kathmandu / Bhaktapur / Patan)
Kathmandu - Listed as one of the eight Cultural World Heritage sites by UNESCO, Kathmandu Durbar Square is a cluster of ancient temples, palaces, courtyards and streets that date back to the 12th and 18th centuries. The square is known to be the social, religious and urban focal point of the Capital City.
The Palace Complex was the royal Nepalese residence until the 19th century and is the site of important ceremonies, such as the coronation of the Nepalese monarch. The palace is decorated with elaborately-carved wooden windows and panels. It houses the King Tribhuwan Memorial Museum and the Mahendra Museum.
Bhaktapur - An earthquake in 1934 reduced many of the temples to empty bricks with lion guarded stairways leading to nowhere. It is still worth a visit if you have the time for extra sightseeing.
Patan Durbar Square - This is the Palace Square of Patan. Approaching the square from the south end you have the palace on your right and a series of temples on your left.
Nargakot - Set on a ridge northeast of Bhaktapur, NAGARKOT (1950m) is no quaint hilltop village. The series of hotels is here for one reason only: the classic panorama of the Himalayas. While the view isn't as expansive as from Daman, and the area not half as interesting as Dhulikhel, it's easy to get to from Kathmandu and you will get a fantastic view from your window. Numerous guesthouses have sprouted along some two kilometres of ridge. Taking in the sunrise view, either from your hotel or the view tower further back along the ridge, is the standard activity up here. Many take the chance to just chill out, but there's a wealth of hiking and biking opportunities too. Since Nagarkot is located at a high point and easily reached on a good road, many people opt for driving up there and then hike or bike back down.
Dhulikhel - This is justly famous as a well-preserved Newari town, mountain viewpoint, and hiking and biking hub. Located 5km east of Banepa, just beyond the Kathmandu Valley rim, it sits in a saddle at the relatively low elevation of 1550m, making it warmer than Nagarkot. A number of hotels are positioned along the highway to catch the mountain views, but there are more pleasant places to stay in the forest above town, on the way to a small summit from which the full Himalayan vista can be seen.