Temples, Monasteries and Thamel!
Got one day to sightsee Kathmandu here's what you can do:
1) Boudhanath Stupa: Built around 17th century by the then Lama. It is a collection of Buddha’s remains and scared items. The stupa (pillar) has eyes (painting) on all four sides to signify that Buddha is seeing in all four directions and spreading peace.
2) Swayambhunath Stupa: It is similar to Boudhanath Stupa with remains of the Lord Buddha. It also has several small temples of Buddha. There are prayer wheels (small cylinder like metal structure) around the temple with inscriptions ‘Om Mane Padme Hum’. Devotees & tourists, push the prayer wheel around as one walks around the temple.
It sits on a hill top and has beautiful views of the Kathmandu valley. Soft winds blowing and peaceful chants in the background make it ideal place to switch off the brain and mediate for a while.
3) Pashupathi Natha Temple: It is an active temple (as in not in ruins) and so only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple. It was built by King Dipender in the 17th Century and huge Nandi (at the entrance) was added in 19th Century. Inside the temple, the Shiva idol is 4 faced which is very rare. There are 525 Lingas, which is also rare. Linga’s are Lord Shiva’s alternate form/structure, which is also worshipped. The temple is by the Baghmati River and there is cremation ground behind the temple used for Royal cremation. We did not go to explore the river side. Taking pictures inside the temple was not allowed, so I don't have any.
On our way from outside we saw Bhayashree Temple. It is considered to be a very special temple as it is opened only once every year for 5 days during the festival of Navarathri else it is closed all year round.
A typical temple built in the pagoda style.
4) Buddhaneelakanth Temple: It is a very small temple, where Lord Vishnu is in a sleeping position (state of slumber) over the Snake God – Naga surrounded by water. It is also an active temple (not in ruins). Our guide told us that, it is believed that when men were digging around this place, initially they found blood; later, on digging further this statue was discovered. Adding on he said that the Nepali Kings have never visited this site, as whenever, a king planned to visit, snakes would block his path (I don’t know how true the stories are but that's the interesting part of visiting any ancient sites, it comes with lots of stories!).
Buddhaneelakantha - Staute of Lord Vishnu
5) Darbur Square : It's a huge open market place, temples, alleys, palaces etc. It was around Dasshera (festival) time when we were visiting Kathmandu and so it was busy with lots of people, tourists, buyers, sellers, tourists & of course local guides. Our guide took us around and showed us a few temples, Indra Chowk, Hamuman Dhoka and Kumari Ghar.
Darbur Square - Temples, Idols and Market place
6) Thamel: It’s a market place and everything that a tourist can ask for was there - Buddha statues, mandals (buddhist paintings), clothes,books, posters, souvenirs and lots more. There many little café like places & resturants. We wandered around a little till we found a little chic looking place by the road but on a floor above. It had nice views of the streets, good food and was well done up place.