A day in Kathmandu, Swayambhunath, Durbar Square and big stupa at Bodhnath

Kathmandu Travel Blog

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In the hotel garden
We met our Kathmandu guide and  the minibus at the hotel and set out to see first the 2500 year-old shrine at Swayambhunath Stupa (aka as Monkey Temple, because of the monkeys who lived there). It is located on the west side of Kathmandu, on a hill with great view of Kathmandu. There were lots of prayer flags fluttering in the wind, the scenery was very beautiful. We took the (supposedly 365) steps up the side of the hill to the top, where the tallest stupa was located. This place is a sacred site for both the Hindi and Buddhists (the majority of  Nepalese are Hindis, maybe about 10% are buddhists, and a small percent of others). A small temple here was just for the Hindi, and tourists of other religion were not allowed to enter.
hotel garden
Prayer wheels surround the tall golden stupa, and Tibetan buddhists walk the circuit around it just like in Tibet.

Next we went to Durbar Square, perhaps the heart of Kathmandu, and a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage site. We parked a few blocks away, and walked there. The streets were narrow, and full of motorcycles, porters carrying loads, and vendors. Durbur Square was the location of several palaces of kings who ruled Kathmandu, supposedly as early as the 3rd century, palaces had been built at this location, although none from that time had survived. There were temples, palaces, quadrangles here. It was much larger than I had imagined. We visited the residence of the living goddess, kumari, she was supposed to be a young girl chosen to be the living goddess of Kathmandu, until she reaches puberty.
pond in the hotel garden
A new kumari will then be chosen, and the previous one retired to be a normal person. Supposedly it is not lucky for man to marry ex-kumaris. She did not grace us with a presence from her window in the courtyard.

We visited the Ashok Binayak Shrine which was dedicated to lord Ganesha, a stone statue of him was in this shrine, covered with the red pigment Hindis used to put on statues they worship.

We then wandered around the Durbar Square, looking at temples, tantric images on pillars supporting roofs, worshiping natives, carmera-toting tourists, saw holy men, monks, lots of pigeons, be careful to not walk on dog poops, and took some photos.

Next stop was the Big stupa of Bodhnath, the largest stupa in Nepal. It was situated in a neighborhood with lots of Tibetans, shops around the stupa played loud Tibetan mantra CD's and there were lots of Tibetan pilgrims. We had lunch at a rooftop restaurant around the stupa, with a great view of not only the stupa itself, but of Kathmandu and the mountains around it. I highly recommend people find one of these rooftop restaurants (there are many) so they can enjoy the view too. People can walk around the platforms of the stupa, on at least 3 levels.
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In the hotel garden
In the hotel garden
hotel garden
hotel garden
pond in the hotel garden
pond in the hotel garden
prayer flags near the monkey temp…
prayer flags near the "monkey tem…
entrance to the monkey temple Sw…
entrance to the "monkey temple" S…
monkeys at Swayambhunath Stupa
monkeys at Swayambhunath Stupa
more monkeys at Swayambhunath Stupa
more monkeys at Swayambhunath Stupa
somewhere around Swayambhunath Stu…
somewhere around Swayambhunath St…
Swayambhunath Stupa top
Swayambhunath Stupa top
prayer wheels around the top stupa…
prayer wheels around the top stup…
at Swayambhunath Stupa
at Swayambhunath Stupa
top of a shrine at Swayambhunath S…
top of a shrine at Swayambhunath …
walking the circuit around the stu…
walking the circuit around the st…
View of Kathmandu from Swayambhuna…
View of Kathmandu from Swayambhun…
Approaching the stupa at Swayambhu…
Approaching the stupa at Swayambh…
more views of Swayambhunath Stupa
more views of Swayambhunath Stupa
Swayambhunath Stupa
Swayambhunath Stupa
a field of lots of stupas at Swaya…
a field of lots of stupas at Sway…
praying at Swayambhunath Stupa
praying at Swayambhunath Stupa
colorful stuff for sale on the sid…
colorful stuff for sale on the si…
Kathmandu street scene, porter car…
Kathmandu street scene, porter ca…
This is what it was like walking o…
This is what it was like walking …
More porters and street traffic
More porters and street traffic
near Durbar Square
near Durbar Square
at Durbar Square
at Durbar Square
Inside the shrine for the load Gan…
Inside the shrine for the load Ga…
Ganesha statue,
Ashok Binayak Shr…
Ganesha statue, Ashok Binayak Sh…
Dont know what these were for, fo…
Don't know what these were for, f…
a temple at Durbar Square
a temple at Durbar Square
People reading newspapers at Durba…
People reading newspapers at Durb…
The residence of the living goddes…
The residence of the living godde…
Living goddess residence detail, a…
Living goddess residence detail, …
Another view of the living goddess…
Another view of the living goddes…
A door in the courtyard of living …
A door in the courtyard of living…
The living goddess residence at Du…
The living goddess residence at D…
The interesting netting in front o…
The interesting netting in front …
Durbar square pigeons
Durbar square pigeons
More buildings at Durbar Square
More buildings at Durbar Square
At Durbar Square
At Durbar Square
Women at Bhaktapur
Women at Bhaktapur
Men on the other side of the same …
Men on the other side of the same…
a statue covered in the red pigmen…
a statue covered in the red pigme…
What is the tourist police? this w…
What is the tourist police? this …
as we walked away from Durbar squa…
as we walked away from Durbar squ…
On the street in Kathmandu, school…
On the street in Kathmandu, schoo…
shop near Boudhanath Stupa
shop near Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa panorama. This wa…
Boudhanath Stupa panorama. This w…
Kevin, me and Puhdon, our Tibetan …
Kevin, me and Puhdon, our Tibetan…
Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa
The great Boudhanath Stupa, a huge…
The great Boudhanath Stupa, a hug…
Kathmandu Hotels & Accommodations review
This is probably the best hotel in Kathmandu, we stayed at the Shangri-La club rooms which definitely brought us back to civilization. We checked in a… read entire review
Kathmandu
photo by: sharonburgher