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Facts of the trip

Trip Code: BHT 05
Trip Duration: 7 days
Max. Altitude: 2150m at Nagarkot
Grade: Easy
Program Type: sightseeing tour
Trek Start Point: Kathmandu
Trek End Point: Kathmandu
Accommodation: Teahouse / Camping
Meals: Breakfast, lunch , Dinner with tea/coffee
Mode of Travel: by Car
Transportation: Car / Bus / Flight
Minimum Pax: 2+
Best season: March - June / September-November

The Kathmandu Valley civilization is around 3000 year old. It has been claimed that the valley was a large pound in the early geological period and it was only when the pond was drained that the valley was ready for human settlement .there is also legend which reinforces the story a certain Bodhisattva called Manjushree come to Kathmandu valley and cut the gorge in chobar with his flaming sword and drained the water out of the valley making it ready for human settlement. The fertile land supported large settlement, and over the centuries different dynasties that rules the valley patronized an urban civilization with its rich cultural heritage .politically the present days Nepal was the Gopalas ,Mahispalas and kiratas dynasties who were followed by LICCHAVI( 185-750 A.D.)The Licchavi periods is known as the classical periods of Nepalese history because it was during this period that art and they built magnificent temple, palaces and monuments.
But it was only under the later Malla periods and the early Shah period from 14th to the 18th centuries the valley ‘s fabulous cities with their Equisetic pagoda ,shikhara and stupa architecture , ornate palaces and artistic temple come to take shape in the form that we see it today.

However the present day neo-classical building were built only during the second half of the 19th century (Rana Regime) with Nepal‘s first contact with the western countries. Sculptures, wood craft and stone works were the medium and mean on which the expert hand and imagination of the artists on with impressive originality and ingenuity.

The histories monument of the world heritage sites of Kathmandu valley are marked by the presence of three prominent architectural  style namely the Pagoda , shikhara and the stupa style . the pagodas are multi-tiered monument  tapering towards the top with intricate wood historical structure are supplemented  by bronze works and stone sculptures together forming the squares and palaces with profuse representation  of image of gods, goddesses, demons, beasts, mythical figures , king and the ordinary human beings engaged in their day- to – day activities.

 


Day 01Kathmandu durbar square
Kathmandu durbar square lies in the heart of the Kathmandu city. The locals know this area by its old name hanuman Dhoka- an ancient seat of the Nepalese royalty. The royal palace during medieval times were not merely for royal activities but also used as the center of administrative cultural activities and festivals. The historical building and temple in the area were erected form the time of king Ratna Malla (1484-1520) to Prithvi Bir Bikram shah (1875-1911 A.D)covering the Malla , Shah  and Rana period of Nepalese history . the entire palace complex here is name after a monkey God  called hanuman .one can see a huge stone statue of hanuman painted all red next to the main entrance ( the Golden gate ) of the palace. Hanuman here is regarded as a powerful protector of the entire Durbar Square.
PROMINENT MONUMENT:
TALEJU TEMPLE:   the temple built by king Mahendra  Malla in 1562 A.D .was  dedicated to the royal deity of the Malla King . resting on a 12 stage plinth , the temple is 36.6 meters high .the temple is opened  to the  public just once in a year during Dashain festival ( sept- oct).
KRISHNA TEMPLE:  this octagonal temple dedicated to lord Krishna was built in 1649 A.D by Pratap Malla in memory of his two dead queens. There is a mention in the epigraph that the temple contains the statue of the king and his queens representing as lord Krishna and his consorts.
JAGANNATH TEMPLE:  the image of Jagannath was installed in 1563 A.D. during the reign of Mahendra Malla and the temple is famous for erotic carvings.
STONE COLUMN:  the stone column represents the statue of King Pratap Malla in praying gesture to Goddess Taleju- the Royal family deity.
DEGUTALLE TEMPLE:   A tantric goddess representing the family deity of the MALLA king is enriched in the temple and access is restricted to visitor, the temple lies opposite the stone column and was built in 1617 A.D. by king Shiva singh and later renovated by kind Pratap  Malla.
HANUMAN STATUE:  Kneeling hanuman, the monkey god, seated on a stone pedestal and Flanked by a pair of lions symbolizes strength and protection against all possible threats. The hanuman pedestal was erected by King Pratap  Malla in 1672 A.D. SHIVA- PARVATI TEMPLE:  the divine couple Shiva and consort Parvati look out from the central window of the first floor. The temple was built during the reign of king Rana Bahadur Shah. BIG BELL:  the bell erected in 1797 A.D. by king Rana Bahadur Shah is rung only when worship is being offered in Degutalle temple situated nearby.
KAL BHAIRAV: Shiva in his ferocious form is known as Bhairav . This is one of the large image of Bhariva and was enected by king Pratap Malla
MAJU DEWAL:   this temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the late 17th century by queen mother Riddhi laxmi and rests on a nine plinth base dominating the square and commanding a good view of the area.
TRIOKYA MOHAN NARAYAN:   this Vishnu temple of late 17th century near the Kumari Ghar, was built on a five stage plinth by king Prathibendra in memory of his deceased brother. There is a kneeling image of Garuda – the vehicel of Vishnu, near the temple. During Indrajatra (chariot festival) large crowd gather here to see the ten incarnations of Vishnu enacted on the pedestal.
KUMARI GHAR :   kumara ghar built in 1757 A.D.by king Jaya Prakash  Malla is the house of the living Goddess ‘kumari ‘ who is believed to be the blessing from the window to the visitors.
GADDI BAITHAK:  this neoclassical building was built by Chandra Shumsher in 1908 A.D during the reign of king Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah. Such kind of building was constructed because of Nepalese contact with the west in the second half of the 18thcentury.
KASTHAMANDAP: this 12th century wooden building is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree hence. Kathmandu obtain its name from this historical building, Kasthamandap . The building was used for public gathering during those days. The central image in the building consists of Gorakhnath and there are miniature temples of four Ganeshas.
ASHOK VINAYAK:  this temple dedicated to the elephant god Ganesha is revered both by the hindus and Buddhists alike and is one of the most important shrine in the valley.
DHANSA: this temple was built in 1673 A.D.by Pratap Malla to start a new masked dance of Narasimha , an incarnation of Vishnu.
Day 02 Patan Durbar Square
Patan is known as lalitpur which mean the city of arts. It is located across the river Bagmati which is 5 km  south of central Kathmandu. This city founded in 3rd century A.D. by king Veera Dev has a distinction of being the home of the finest crafts and is considered oldest of all three cities of Kathmandu valley.most of the monument in this square date back to the Medevial  Malla  from 16th to 18th century and the monument in the area are mostly credited to king Siddhi nar Singh Malla ,Shri Niwas  Malla and Yog Narendra Malla.
MAIN CHOWKS (COURTYARDS) Patan durber square consists of three main courtyards- Mul Chowk , Sundari Chowk and Mani Keshab Narayan Chowk which houses the Patan Museum. The sundari Chowk  built by king Siddhi Narshing Malla in 1647 A.D. contain the master piece of stone sculpture known as the Royal Both and was used for permeating ritual bathing. BHIMSEN TEMPLE: the three – stored temple of Bhimsen located on the extreme north of the square with the magnificent golden balcony overlooking the square outside is very popular amongst the merchant and trader communities. There are curio shops around the temple.
Vishwa nath temple: this three—storied temple dedicated to Shiva located near the Bhimsen temple is built in Pagoda style and house a large phallic of Shiva and the temple is two elephant.
KRISHNA MANDIR:  the temple of lord Krishna built in the 17th century by king Siddhi Narshingh Malla is the first specimen of Shikhara style temple entirely made of stone. It is only temple in Nepal with 21 golden pinnacles and contains engraved scenes from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
STONE COLUMN: the stone column of kingYog Narendra malla in a praying posture to goddess Taleju is protected by a snake. Legend says that the king would be remembered and remain immortal as long as the bird does not fly from tree .it is because of this believe that a window of the nearby palaces is kept open for the spirit of king to come and rest in the palaces. A stones pillar located nearby with the Garuda atop facing the Krishna temple is another typical example of Nepali stone workmanship.
JAGANATH TEMPLE: also known as the Char Narayan temple and one of the oldest, this temple is temple is located south of the Krishna temple. The temple is guarded by two lions and half human from sculpted in stone.
HARISHANKAR TEMPLE: this three – tier temple built in 1704 A.D. is dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. This temple was built by the wives of king yoga Narendra Malla after his death in the memory because of which this temple is also known as Sati temple
TALEJU TEMPLE : there are prominent templelike the three stories  octagonal temple of Taleju bhawani and Digu  Taleju – the five storied temple of the protective deities built by king  Siddhi Narsingha Malla in 17th century. These temples are unique example of craftsmanship in wood.
GOLDEN TEMPLE: the three storied golden pagoda was built by king Bhaskar Verma in the 12th century and contains image of Amoghpash  Lokeshwor , large prayer wheel and paintings of Buddha. The temple is located at a walking distance north from the main square.
KUMBHESHWOR: this five storied temple dedicated to Shivawas built during the reign of king Jayastithi malla in the late 14thcentury. It is a few minutes walk north from the main square. A religious fair I held during janai poornima (august). There is a famous Banglamukhi temple rby.
MAHABOUDHA:  thousand image of Buddha are found in the temple made of fine quality bricks. The temple was constructed in the 15th century by an architech named Avaya Rai and is located eastward within walking distance from the main square.  There are many other shrines, sculptures, stupas scattered in and around the square and provide a unique experience to visitors and art love.
Day 03 BHAKTAPUR DURBAR SQUARE
Bhaktapur meaning the city of devotees was founded by king Ananda dev in 1197A.D. According to the Gopal Raj vamsabali even though the existence of the city could be traced back to the Licchavi period [185-750A.D].There are many monuments including pagodas ,palaces ,shikhara style monuments ,courtyards and Buddhists shrines and monasteries . The dubar square was the seat of the malla king and the present structures were erected from the 12th to the 18th century A.D. BHAKTAPUR is located at around 12 kilometers away from Kathmandu city. The lion gate : the two lions symbolize the elements of    power and protection and was installed on  its  either sides during the reign  of king bhupatinder  malla in 1696A.D. this gate has beautiful stones statues of Bhairav –the  fierce from of Shiva and Durga – manifestation of Shakti –the female  power .
GOLDEN GATE: the golden gate was built by King Ranajit Malla in 1754 A.D. which serves as an entrance to the Taleju complex.
FOUR PLGRIMAGE SITES: you can also observe the four dhams (pilgrimage sites) of Jagannath, Kedarnath, rameshwor and badrinath just at the entrance. It is a replication of holy sites revered in India.
STONE COLUMN: King Bhupatindra Malla seated atop on a stone attitude of prayer to Taleju Bhawani. He was a great builder, a scholar and an artist
55 WINDOW PALACE: this is the supreme wooden architectural structure dominating the entire durbar square. This magnificent edifice was originally built by yakshya malla in 1427A.D. and embellished later by bhupatindra Malla in 17thcentury
VASTALATEMPLE: It was built on shikhara  style completely of stones by Jaya Rangit Malla in the 17th  century A.D. The temple is dedicated to a mother goddess Durga .On the lower flank of the temple ,there is a small bell known as’ barking bell’ because dogs bark and whine at the sound of the bell .In those days the bell was used as an alarm to alert the people during emergency.
YAKCHESWOR MAHADEV: -This temple is replication of pashupatinath temple of Kathmandu. It was built by king Yakshya malla in 1480A.D. it shows the importance of pashupatinath temple in the spiritual life of the people of Bhaktapur and it was built so that people from bhaktapur may avoid the difficulty of going to main pashupati in Kathmandu for offering prayers Folklore mentions that the king who was a great devotee of lord pashupati dreamt the lord who told him to build the temple for him so that he could move into it. He obeyed the divine command and thus the temple was built
Day 04 Taumadi Square
NYATAPOLA: the temple was founded by king bhupatindra malla in 1702A.D.Nyatapola in newari means five tiered temple symbolizing the five basic elements of Nature. The temple is dedicated to Goddess siddhi laxmi- a Tantric deity representing the most powerful forces. Legend goes that the temple was built by king on the advice of the astrologer to pacify god Bhairav and maintain A harmonious balance of male and female principle. Nyatapola and bhairav temple signify the co-existence of male and female energy pervading the earth.   The temple stands above the five plinth and rises above 30m above top plinth. Pairs of animals and robust men flanked the stair way. It is believed that every pair of guardian is ten times more powerful than the pair immediately below. This is the most famous pagoda of Nepal.
BHAIRAV NATH TEMPLE: This temple of bhairav –the ferocious from of the shiva was originally built by jagat jtoti malla as a one strayed temple and later king bhupatindra  Malla added two more stories to it In 1718 A.D. According to a legend Vishwanath, a manifestation of Shiva once visit BHAKTAPUR to observe bisket jatra .   When the locals recognize him they beheaded    him in order to retain him permanently in the temple .It  is because of this reason the central image of Bhairav temple has the head of Bhairav without the body and is taken on a chariot once during the Bisket jatra which is the biggest festival of the town held in April .
TEEL MAHADEV NARAYAN TEMPLE: South from nyatopola lies this temple dedicated to lord Vishnu build in the 12thcentury A.D.   A disc, lotus, conch –shell and a mace – four emblems of lord Vishnu are placed on pillars to the sides of the entrance.
Day 05 DATTATREY SQUARE
DATTATREY TEMPLE : Dattatreya  temple ,   originally built by  Yakshya Malla in 1427 A.D. & renovated  by his son Vishwa malla in 1458 A.D ., is the only temple in NEPAL that is dedicated to lord Dattatreya – the combined in carnation of the three supreme gods – Brahma Vishnu & Shiva . The entrance of the temple is guarded by two robust men & in a stone pillar is placed a conch and a disc like weapon dedicated to Vishnu. A bronze statue of Garuda the messenger of Vishnu is also erected on a stone column.
BHIMSEN TEMPLE:- TO the west of the Dattatreya temple is the Bhimsen temple  built in 1605 A.D lord Bhimsen is the second oldest of the five Pandavas of the Mahabharat epic. In the olden days poples had to walk to Tibet or India   for trade and pilgrimages, so one had to be naturally strong to embark on an ardrous journey. In order to gin strength people prayed to lord Bhimsen and the tradition continues till today. The area also has two bronze and wood carving muster piece of Nepali wood work.
PUJARI MATH: The pujari math literally translated as the priest’s house now house the wood carving museum. The math built by King Yakshya Malla in the 15th century was used for storing donation and contributions. The world famous peacock window of the 15th century is suitable on the eastern face of this house. One can observe intricately craved image of gods and goddesses on the struts of this monument.
Day 06 PASHPATINATH & BOUDANATH
Situated 5km east of Kathmandu city center, pashupati literally mean “lord of Animals” and is considered to be the patron deity of Nepal. Pashupatinath is regarded as one of the holiest sites for hindu all over the world. Pashupatinath temple is a pagoda style two –tried golden roof with exquisitely carved four silver doors containing in its sanctum a phallic idol with four faces facing each direction and the other fifth one is looking up towards the zenith. A temple dedicated to Shiva was constructed at the present sites big Licchavi king supushpa  Verma according to an ancient  chronicle. However the present temple is claimed to have been built by king bhupalendra Malla in 1697 A.D. legend has it that a cow would frequently escape from its herds and offer milk. On a Jyotirling (phallic symbol of Shiva) which denotes the point where the temple stands today. It is said that certain cowherd much to his surprise found the self-generated Jyotiringa (Phallic symbol of Shiva) when he dug the spot where the cow would give milk. The spot immediately become the center of worship that has been continued till today. A considerable part of the temple vicinity is converted to rest and prayer areas. Behind the temple on the bank of the Bagmati is a crematorium for Hindus> It is the wish of every Hindu to be cremated on the bank of the bagmati river near the temple. In October 1979 Pashupati area was declared as the wold Heritage site by UNESSCO and the temple is being managed by pashupati area Development Trust. The temple activities can be observed from the back of the temple.
BOUDANATH: The biggest stupa of Nepal, is located 5km east of central Kathamandu  the stupa stand on a three – tiered platform raised over the crossed rectangle in order to bring out the yatra form .The claims made in various religious and literary texts the regarding the erection of the stupa is varied and conflicting. However, the stupa is believed to have been built in the 5th century A.D. during the reign of the Licchavi King. As in other stupa architecture, this stupa also has Vairochana at the center followed by Aksobhya  ,Ratna Sambhave, Amitabha and amogha, Siddhi in east , south , west and north directions respectively . Similarly, there are once hundred and eight small niches around the stupa accommodating the icons of Buddhas, Bodhistaves and other female deities along with conjoint figures in erotic poses .Likewise, at the bottom level; it is surrounded with the praying wheels embossed with the famous mantra OM MANI PADME HUM fixed in more than hundred and forty niches. According to a very popularly legend, in ancient   time there was a poor girl in a magnet village of Nepal. She was called Jyajima and was very pious and charitable by nature .she had a deep desire to spread the faith of the Master and approached the King for a peace of land where she could build a Stupa. Hence she built the Stupa with the help of her four sons as it stands today According to another very popular legend, in the ancient days Kathmandu valley was under severe drought and this causes the King Dharma Dev much concern and anxiety.  Finally, the king was advised by an astrologer that only the sacrifice of an ideal man with 32 virtues infront of the dry royal water could bring rainfall in the country. There was hardly anybody with such a great virtue except the king himself. So the following night he commanded his sons to go to the dry water spout near the royal palace at mid night and behead the person clad in white robe without looking at him. The prince (mandev – the Licchavi king) obeyed his father and to his great horror found that it was none other than his own father that he beheaded. In order atone for the heinous sin, he prayed to goddesses. Vajrayogini who ordered him to erect a stupa and practice rigorous penance. He practiced great penance   in gunmvihar where vagrayogini rests and it was due to his great devotion there sprang out the present stupa of Boudhnath.
Day 07 SWAYAMBHUNATH
Located on the lovely little hillock, swayambunath Stupa lies about4 Km west of central Kathmandu. There are 360 Steps leading all the way to the top commanding a magnificent view of Kathmandu valley and the breath-taking panorama of the snow-clad Himalayan range. The tradition in the Stupa follows the Vajrayana form of Buddhism which is a tantric variation of the Mahayana Buddhism  (the great Vehicle).The stupa seem to have been constructed during the licchavi period .religious and literally sources give numerous account of the establishment and the patronage of the Swayambhunath premises .it is also interesting to note that the stupa went a series of renovation during the Malla period in the medieval times with donations made by merchants, pilgrimsand Buddhists followers . As the ancient legend goes Kathmandu valley was a lake long time ago .Right in the center of this lake atop. When Maha Manjushri a saint from China to the valley. He cut through the southern  hill of the valley with his divine sword.The cleft made by the sword immediately drained the entire lake water making the valley floor ready for habitation . Hundreds of votive shrines and other historical monuments built in and around this stupa speak a iot about the significance and antiquity of this famed Stupa . The stupa of Swyambhunath stands on a typically stylized lotus mandala base. The hemispherical part of the chaitya is made of brick and stone and on top of the hemispherical part lies the hermika which carries the eyes of vairochana watching in all the directions and believed to have been painted in the Malla period. The stupa is also laden with the 13 gold plated spires which symbolizes the 13 stages to salvation .The spire is crowed by a golden umbrella supported by a pole frome within the center. Devotees pour lime down the chaitya to cure illness of family members.
HARATI TEMPLE: It is two – tiered pagoda temple dedicated to the primal mother –Ajima who is also known as the protective deity of children. Special prayers are offered on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
ANANTAPURA AND PRATAPAURA: These two temples dedicated to Vajrayana deities were built by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century. Anantapura temple was name after his consort and both these temple represents the Shikhara style of Architecture. BAJRA DHATU MANDALA: the Mandala depicts 12 animals representing the twelve month of the Tibetan year. The gilt Bajra installed by King Pratap Malla in the middle of the 17th century represents the sword Chandahasa of Manjushree.
FORMS OF BUDDHAS AND THEIR CONSORTS: the ten niches around the stupa represent the different forms of Buddha and their consorts. Clockwise representation are Aksobhya, Vairochana, Vajradhatvesvari , Mamaki Tara, Ratnasambhava, Pandara, Amitabha, tara, Amogha Siddhi and Saptalochini. The Vairochana is represented by the eyes painted on the hermika. Amitabha is tha main deity of the chaitya.
FIVE ELEMENTS OF LIFE: temples and sacred sites representing the five fundamental elements of nature are said to have been founded by Shantikar Acharya. The five elements of life represented in the premise of the stupa are Vasupura (earth), nagapura (serpents, the lords of water), Shantipura or Akashpura (space or sky), Vayupura (air) and Agnipura(fire).
Important days to visit this holy site:  Buddha purnima, the birthday of Lord Buddha which falls on the full moon day of Baishakh (April- may) Gunla, the holy Buddhist month according to Newari calendar (august _September early morning). Kojagrath Purnima( September –October) , Samyak day of magh (January-February) (once in every twelve years) or in the Tibetan new year  Lhosar

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