The rich tapestry of cultural heritage that is Kathmandu Valley has a number of priceless heritage sites that are rightfully protected as UNESCO monuments. The Valley comprises of the three ancient cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, together they have seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Kathmandu is often said to be a living museum of Nepali civilization and culture. With hundreds of exquisite monuments, sculptures, artistic temples and magnificent art serving as reminders of the golden era in Nepal’s architecture, it’s hardly a wonder why. Ready to travel back to a golden time?
Arrive at Kathmandu, meet and greet with the representative. Check in to the hotel, and relax for the day.
The exploration of the ancient cities starts with Kathmandu and Patan. Kathmandu, being the largest city and the capital of Nepal, is on a flurry of development. but the people are still as friendly and happy as ever.
The tour of the day starts with vegetable & spice market in Ason to see the many courtyards and bustling bazaars. From here, take the local rickshaw (tricycle) ride to Thamel, a happening tourist hub of Kathmandu. The first UNESCO site to visit is Swayambhunath Stupa, also called the Monkey Temple. Resting on a hillock, it is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist shrines of Nepal.
Swayambu means self-creating. The legend is that when Kathmandu Valley was a lake 2000 years ago, a single lotus flower grew at the center of the lake. Saint Manjushree, the Bodhisatva drained the lake with a single slash of his sword, the lotus settled on top of a hill and magically turned into a stupa. Thus, Swayambhunath, the Self-Created Stupa was formed.
This stupa is the most ancient and perhaps the most enigmatic of all holy shrines in Kathmandu. The area surrounding the stupa is filled with smaller chaityas, temples, painted images of deities and numerous other religious objects.
After this glorious Stupa, it's time now for Patan, the city of architectural splendor. Also known as Lalitpur, this city of artisans is a paradise of fine arts and is famous for its rich cultural heritage. The valley’s finest craftsmen have lived, preserved and shared the ancient techniques like the repoussé and lost wax process used to produce exquisite sculptures. The city retains much of its old charm with its narrow streets, brick houses and a multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (vihars) and monuments.
Though the entire city is wonderful, the Patan Durbar Square, an area filled with ancient palaces, pagoda temples, stone baths, Hindu and Buddhist statues, engravings and bronze cravings is the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Check out the Patan Museum, that used to be called the Malla palace. Here you can find bronze statues and religious objects, dating back to the 11th century.
After the Kathmandu Valley and Patan, it's time for the third ancient city - Bhaktapur.
Start the day at the magnificent temple of Pashupatinath. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an architectural beauty situated in the midst of a lush green natural setting on the bank of the sacred River Bagmati. The temple has pagoda-style gilded roof and richly carved silver doors. It is dedicated to the Hindu God of Destruction, Lord Shiva, this temple is regarded as one of the most sacred.
Next stop is the threshold to understanding the Buddhist way of life. And that is achieved by visiting the Boudhanath Stupa, a center of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. Built on a massive three level mandala, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the largest in the world. The Stupa is situated on the ancient trade route from Tibet that enters the Kathmandu Valley. This has been a place where Tibetan merchants have rested and offered prayers for many centuries. Along with souvenirs and handicrafts, a variety of exclusive Tibetan specialties and delicacies can also be found here.
How to Pray here:
Thousands of pilgrims circle the stupa in a clockwise direction each day spinning the prayer wheels. It is said that each spin of a prayer wheel is the equivalent of reciting the mantra.
After lunch, head to Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon means the ‘City of Devotees’. Situated on the Arniko Highway that connects Kathmandu to the Chinese border. Bhaktapur is still untouched by urbanization and has managed to retain its brick paved roads, charming red brick houses and a way of life that goes back to medieval times. This ancient city is also famous for pottery and woodcarving, displayed on the squares and windows everywhere.
The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the UNESCO World Heritage Site and its monuments reflect the glory days of the Malla Dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three ancient cities of the valley. Start at the Nyatapola Temple, the unique Temple that literally means ‘five storied’ and naturally rises above the city’s landscape. Next stop is the Bhairavnath Temple, dedicated to Bhairav, the God of Terror. This is a three-storied temple, but has artistic grandeur. Next, stop at the Golden Gate, the entrance to the 15th century Palace of 55 Carved Windows. The golden gate itself is a masterpiece in repousse art.
Last stop is at Taumadhi Tole, a short street lined with tourist shops, where you can go souvenir shopping.
After this spiritually enriching experience into the past, it's time to get back home!
- All necessary arrival/departure transfers.
- 3 nights’ hotel accommodation in a twin sharing room on bed and breakfast basis.
- All the sightseeing tours with English speaking guide, entrance fees and transfers as per above.
- All the entrance and monuments fees as indicated in the program.
- Nepal visa fee.
- International airfare and airport tax.
- Insurance and rescue of any form.
- Cost arising out of flight cancellation/road blockades/landslides/riots and events beyond our control.
- Expenses of personal nature such as bar bills, communication charges, laundry, tips etc. And any other expenses not mentioned in the above cost.
- Meals and any other services not mentioned in the itinerary.