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Kathmandu Valley Tour


The bowl like small mountain- sheltered Kathmandu Valley is the historical center of Nepal and the place where kingdoms rose and fell, places and temples were build and rebuild, and Nepalese art and culture were developed and refined is equally religious. Kathmandu Valley has been called on big museum  a vast store of Hindu and Buddhist art with more shrines and temples per square km than any where else has in the world. Nepalese culture has immense vitality and countless festivals are celebrated each year. An institution such as the “Living Goddess” forms a direct link between the past and the present.

 


Itinerary

POPULAR PLACES IN AROUND KATHMANDU

1. Swayambhunath

The self existent one Four kilometers to the west of the city of Kathmandu, is one of Buddhism’s holiest shrines. Amidst a sylvan surrounding, atop a hill is the ancient stupa, which had stood there 2,000 years. Just after the Buddha’s birth, the first foundations were laid. It was upon this spot, when the valley was still a lake that a lotus bloomed emitting the five-colored rays of the Swayambhu, the Self Existent One. Big and dignified this unique example of superb stupa architecture, a curvilinear large hemisphere of stucco brick work, surmounted by a bronze spire of tapering, receding rings and resting on an octagonal brick platform, is the representation of “Garbha” which means the womb. Capped by a wide umbrella of burnished gold, which in turn is crowned by the Chudamani a conical canopy of gilt rings, the square base of the spire is painted on all four sides with the compassionate and mystical eyes of the all. The stucco hemisphere is ringed by prayer wheels and images of the Buddha are placed in niches cut into the dome with latticed or grilled doorways projecting slightly outward. Clustered around the huge platform of the stupa are a medley of stupas, pagodas, figures and monastic establishments, including the pagoda of Harati, the Hindu Goddess of small pox and other epidemics. Which the stupas are dedicated exclusively to the Buddhist pantheon, the pagodas house both Hindu and Buddhist divinities. This is the rule rather than the exception both religion and the deities live side by side, and both receive universal homage. The juxtaposition is the central feature of Nepalese culture ever since the dawn of recorded history. Swayambhunath is the oldest Buddhist shrine in the Kathmandu valley, and a place of pilgrimage. On top of the hill is a Lamaist monastery, open to the public and a small museum containing stunning examples of Nepalese art. On the terrace, facing the valley and city is a colossal “Vajra”, or thunderbolt, covered with gold leaf. The emblem of sovereign power, thunderbolt is a Tantric symbol and is as important to Tantric Buddhist as it was to the Greek god Jupiter and together with the bell it is an essential instrument of Lamaist worship. The modest village, at the foot of the hill is a favorite with the younger tourist set who are involved in the constant search for peace of mind in this super materialistic age.

2. Bouddhnath

The all knowing Buddha The great white “Garbga” of Buddhism- Bouddhnath Lord of Wisdom, is the largest Buddhist “chaitya” in the world. The hemisphere on a four- stage plinth is built on an octagonal base. Its eighty small recesses each bear the image of the Lord. The base of the shrine is shaped like a mandala, a geometrical and astrological representation of the world the cubic construction represents the earth. A triple series of thirteen steps leads up to the white glistening dome, stark in the sunshine. While the base symbolises the earth, the white- washed mound symbolises another element, water. The central tower, fire, the crescent, the air, the flame on top, ether and the thirteen steps between the mound and the pinnacle represent the 13 stages one must go through, to attain perfect knowledge or Bodhi. The stem of the Chudamani that crowns it is composed of a pyramid from the square base on the hemisphere thirteen golden rings taper towards and support an umbrella of polished metal, while on its four sides are the all knowing, penetrating eyes of the Buddha, supreme in His Wisdom. The cold eyes penetrate the visitor holding him in fascination- Between the eyes is the third eye and below, the symbol. Like a question mark, is the number one in Devanagari script. This symbolises the oneness of Buddha- there are no lips or mouth- the Divine. Being speaks to no one but sees all and knows all. Around the shrine is a charming village of Tibetan refugees, just 7km from the center of the town. Tucked away in between the neat homes, and almost hidden away from view is the monastery of the Gelukpa sect, to which the Dalai Lama also belongs. Here, time stands still. The visitor travels back several centuries- here and there is peace and meditation is the rule. Even whilst gathered in prayer, sounding their songs, oboes or trumpets, the kindly monks allow visitors to watch and even tape the proceedings. Fluttering, almost insignificant against the glaring white and sparking gold are thousands of prayer flags hanging from strings attached from the top of the tower of the stupa to the outer wall. In the villages, groups of Tibetans in long black robes, belted with bright red wool, come constantly to pay their respect and worship at this, the center of Buddhist Lamalsm in Nepal. Some, with heavy baskets strapped to them, slowly circle, clockwise, the stupa, following the wall, flicking each prayer wheel into motion which repeats endlessly the mystic formula written on the enclosed roll of paper over and over, “Om mani padme hum”- Oh, the jewel in the lotus.

3. Pashupatinath-(The Master- Lord of the Earth)

Protector of cattle, friend of life and guide of all species in their development, besides the rest, Shiva is also the tutelary god of Nepal who is referred to at the end of all official speeches delivered by His Majesty the King. The holiest of Shiva shrines in Nepal, this two- iered, pagoda style temple with a golden roof and silver doors, is one of Hindudom’s holiest shrines and famous the world over for its supreme architecture. Standing on the banks of the Bagmati, 5km north-east of Kathmandu, it contains the lingam of pashupatinath installed there centuries ago by the king of Nepal. In the Lichhavi period of Nepal’s history, known as its “Golden Age”, the magic name of Pashupati was adopted in her standard and her coinage. A mosaic of other temples, and shrines, it is dominated by the huge gilted figure of Nandi (bull), Shiva’s mount, seated on a stone pedestal opposite the main gate, flanked by the golden trident. Only Hindus are permitted to enter the holy temple, outside which is a crematorium by the side of the wide, shallow river. Monkeys jump around on the terraces and on the hills above. From the terrace above is an excellent view of the courtyard with its enormous golden bull and which is thronged by visitors on the annual festival of Shivaratri which takes place between February and March, who travel miles to take a dip in the Bagmati, tributary of the Ganga. Later, they queue up to pay obeisance to the Lord. Succeeding generatuons of rulers have added to the temple housing the Lingam, which was installed centuries ago- and is in the fact ageless.

4. Guheshwari

Temple to the consort of the Lord In the middle of a paved courtyard, surrounded by rest houses and just a short distance from Pashuaptinath, is Guheshwari, temple to Parvati, consort of Shiva. Signifying the female principle of procreation, the whole temple is designed after the Tantric yantra, the geometric triangle. With the usual arched construction of tubular metal work, which covers the main building, towards the top, it transforms itself into four gilded snakes which support the crowning piece on the roof.

5. The Royal Capital itself

Picaresque streets lead to numerous squares filled with beautifully carved, wooden temples and houses, while on the streets friendly crowds mingle and mill along trying to avoid the ubiquitous bicycles and rickshaws. Here and there are small taverns, close to Basantpur, filled with the younger, foreign set, sometimes trying to ‘score some hash’, which was banned in 1973.

6. The Royal Temple of Taleju

Capital of the world’s only Hindu kingdom, the royal temple, built by the kings for their personal worship stands on a little hillock overlooking the Hanumam Dhoka Square, housing the ancient royal palace. Erected by one of the splendid Malla kings, Mahendra Malla in 1549, it is dedicated to the Goddess Taleju Bhavani, another name for Durga, patron goddess of royal kings. One of the largest and most beautiful temples, the triple roofed, pagoda-style temple stands on top of a multi-tier plinth and is projected in the form of the mystic yantra. Overlooking, also the surrounding market area and dominating the skyline of the city, its brass plated roof is crowned with a gold gilt finial. Adding to the magnificence and beauty are small bells with leaf tongues, lining the roof ends which flutter and tinkle at the gentlest touch of the breeze, and the gorgeous decorations of bronze and wood which glow in the sun, enhancing the mellow grandeur of the sanctity of Taleju Bhavani. Only His Majesty the King and the Royal Family worship in this temple, whose sheer magnificence in size is matched only by the Nyatapola of Bhadgaon. During the Durga festival it is open to the public.

7. The Hanuman Dhoka

Residence of Ancient Kings Watching over Hanuman Dhoka, is the huge statue of the monkey god Hanuman, under an umbrella, wrapped in a scarlet cloak squatting on a stone plinth. It is a complex of royal buildings and temples dating from medieval days, dominated by the beautiful royal places with its nine- storeyed pagoda. Also called the Darbar Square, it is a lovely medley of pagodas, each one of them standing on its own lofty terrace, high above the main market. Dedicated to the Lord Shiva and Narayan, these temples have wide and overhanging roofs supported by highly erotic carvings on the struts. The entablature on the top of the open collonnade is lined by elaborately carved latticed windows. Built by the Newar Tibet and China, thanks to the influence of architect Balbahu or Arniko they were commissioned by the splendid Mallas, who added to the beauty of the three capitals all based in the valley. One cannot walk round the center of these three cities for more than fifty feet without coming upon a pagoda, a temple, a shrine or a sacred water tank. The graceful pagodas are the most typical of the three types of religious architecture found here, viz pagodas, shikaras and stupas which are specifically Buddhist. The base shelters the image or deity, above is the body of the temple topped by several roofs- three to five- always turned upwards and ending with a bronze head of an angel or human face pointed downwards, to counterbalance the bird in flight at the upturned corner. The edges of the roofs are always hung with numerous bells with thin metal leaves that tinkle in the breeze. With a dragon guarding every temple door on either side, there are also two bells hanging from a metal of stone U-Shaped structure. Metal ribbons, made of rectangular plates hang down from the roofs symbolizing the path taken by a god if he were to choose to descend to the faithful. The ewers fastened to the doors symbolise the blessings of water to humanity. The shape of the gables varies according to gods that are worshipped there; three spires symbolise the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva for a Hindu temple, or Buddha, Dharma and Sangha (law and community respectively) in case of Buddhist shrine. While the most common pattern for the pillars and window frames are geometric, incorporating flowers leaves, human figures and animals, the joists and struts of the pagodas are carved to act as a support for a good or mythical beast such as a dragon, griffin or the “makara”, an animal with a short trunk, and which rest on a base where the artist has carved highly erotic love scenes- symbols of the eternal process of creation and the affirmation of life triumphant. There is always a space between the erotic carvings and the divinities carved above them on the struts supporting the roof- the space is brought out by a lotus blossom acting as the pedestal for the deity. “The lotus blossom in India, Nepal and Tibet signifies spiritual renewal. Under the lotus, life is represented crudely with all its excesses but with the innate capacity for redemption. The lotus appears as a symbol of purity and of life beyond”.

Though the Mallas made their appearance on the Nepalese scene in the eighth century, it was not until 1206 that they took over from the Lichhavis. They have gone down in history as not only territorial conquerors but as builders; who embellished the three capitals consecutively. The town of Kathmandu was founded, according to historians, by King Gunakama Deva in the year 723 A.D. and became the capital of the Valley. It was then called Kantipur. The beautifully carved bronze Hanuman Dhoka gate was built by Pratap Malla somewhere between 1639. 89 A.D. Next to it, the king had the huge statue of Hanuman, covered in red paint, erected on the left side, while on the walls of the palace the erudite monarch had inscribed in 15 languages; a hymn he himself composed in honour of the Goddess Kalika. Another inscription put up in 1654 lists the history of the Mallas and their conquests. In the palace itself, is the magnificent Durbar Hall where the foreign ambassadors, attached to the Royal Court used to present their credentials to the king. It was termed and still is, “Gaddi Baithak”. In the palace compound are a giant bell and an equally giant pair of drums to symbolise the Nepalese faith in religious calls. During the hours of worship, the reverberation of the bell and the sonorous beat of the drums resound through the square as they summon the faithful to prayer. To install fear in the hearts of the unbeliever and to act as a reminder to others, is the gigantic figure of Kal Bhairab- God of Terror. Representing Shiva in His most terrifying form: a malevolent god intent on universal destruction, including ignorance, the image of the deity in this aspect, is depicted as a huge showing prominent canine teeth, a collar of skulls round his neck and more of them on his crown. Made of black stone symbolising the destructive power, it is kept hidden from public view by a railing which is opened once a year during the Indra Jatra Festival in early September, when it is profusely decorated and the doors of the fence concealing it are opened. The same time a huge pole, symbolising the god in the aspect of the lingam, is erected at the Dhoka and sacrifices of goats and chickens are made as it is being set up. King Pratap Malla had four sons of whom he was inordinately fond of. To prepare them to take over the throne after his death, he temporarily abdicated in their favor- each was to reign one year. Unfortunately the eldest had died in boyhood, so the second, Chakraverendra was awarded the title Maharajadhiraj but died after ruling only four days, in 1666. In his memory the broken- hearted king dug the beautiful tank Ranipokhari, on the southern bank of which is a stone elephant, on which are seated the Queen and her deceased son. In the Hanuman Dhoka is a statue of the king himself, with his four sons, on the lotus capital of a tall stone monolith erected in front of the Deotalle Temple, which is just behind the Kal Bhairab. To perpetuate the memory of his wife, the king built a Krishna Temple in front of the Dhoka. Among the other temples worth visiting in the Square are the Deotalle Temple. Jagannath Temple and the Shiva temple in front of the Gaddi Baithak (Hall of Public Audience) erected in 1687 by the wife of Parhtibendra Malla Pratap Malla’s second son, after his death.

8. Basantpur Darbar

In the Hanuman Dhoka too, is the beautiful and majestic nine-storeyed Basantpur Durbar, or the Nautalle Dardar and a Numismatic Museum displaying ancient gold coins minted by the Lichhavis and Mallas, amongst others, dating back to the 7th century. It was during the Lichhavi period known as the “GoldenAge” that the magic name of Pashupati was adopted in the standard of the Nepal kings and the flying griffin as an emblem, was stamped on the new system of coinage. Pratap Malla was a wealthy king and performed Tuladan, when his weight in gold and precious stones was distributed to the Brahmins and the poor. Before he died, he got erected a golden statute of himself. The Basantpur Darbar, one of the most magnificent palaces and an architectural rarity was built by King Prithvi Narayan Shah after the completion of the conquest of the Valley in 1769 after a siege of twenty-five years. In it is an equally magnificent coronation platform where the mighty unifier of the kingdom was crowned.

9. Kasthamandap

Odyssey in Wood Built out of the timber of a single tree, in 1596 by Raja Lakshmi Narsingha Malla, it is a sprawling double- roofed pagoda temple housing the image of Gorakhnath in stone, a top- grade Siddha, or the perfect one, of the Nath Sect. Designed as a night shelter for the poor or its original shape. Close to it and the Hanuman Dhoka is roving mendicants, it has been repaired and restored to the Kumari Ghar.

10. Kumari Ghar- House of the Living Goddess

Jaya Parkash Malla was the last of the Malla kings before the Gorkha conquest. In 1760, nine years before he lost his throne, he built this imposing residential building, in the pagoda style and with the doors and windows elaborately carved. It was built for the kumari, a vestal virgin selected from the Sakya(priestly) community, to reign as the Living Goddess or Kanya Kumari whose incarnation she is. Always chosen from a Buddhist family of silver-goldsmiths from Patan, she must be five years old, her body without the slightest blemish, and with enough courage to be left alone in a dark room strewn with the bleeding heads of newly sacrificed buffaloes. She must not show any fear. Once she is recognized by the astrologer as being the Living Goddess she becomes a veritable prisoner to her own high position, and is forbidden to leave her palace alone, or with attendants. On very rare occasions she is carried through the town in a palanquin. Reigning as the Kumari, she commands homage even from the King on Indra Jatra Day. Himself the incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, he is consecrated by her- from a Buddhist family- when she puts a “tikka” on his forehead. This portrays the complete overlapping and unity of the two creeds. That day, dressed in robes of scarlet, and crowned and starts the procession through the old city. She comes out three times within the eight days. Her hair dressing underneath the tiara, is a simple topknot tied with by a piece of scarlet ribbon. Her entire brow is overlaid with 5vermilion pasts decorated with spangles- the eye shadow extends from the corner of the eye to the temples- a human being imbued with the ethereal grace and charm of the deity.

11. Temple in the Indra Chowk

A short distance away from the Durbar Square is the vast Indra Chowk, where is the main shopping center of the town. Here is the temple to Akash Bhairab or the sky-high Bhairab which is housed in the first floor of the edifice. The temple to the White Bhairab or the Shveta Bhairab was erected by Rana Bahadur Shah in 1796. In the form of a large brass head, the White Bhairab reflects the degree of achievement of the Nepalese in the field of brasswork. Along with the other two Bhairabs it is worshipped specially during the week-long Indra Jatra festival in September-October. Bhairab is also the symbol of the Nepalese Aviation Company (Royal Nepal Airlines) where he appears with two wings behind his head. Half-way down the picturesque chowk, hidden in a courtyard, is the temple of White Machhendranath, located at Machhendra Bahal. Dedicated to the deity which is the incarnation of the Avalokteshwar Padmapani Buddha, the gorgeous pagoda-style temple attracts musicians and singers who gather every evening to chant religious songs. One of the most popular in Kathmandu, the inner precincts of the temple are full of images, intricate carvings and paintings from the life of the Buddha. Among the artistic features of interest in the temple’s architecture are the carvings and mouldings in the shape of gods and goddesses from both the Hindu and Buddhist pantheon. The Padmapani Buddha is the Saviour, king of incarnations.

12. Machhendra Nath

The God of Rain and the God of Mercy As such the deity receives the homage of all groups. With a two- tier bronze roof, the beautiful temple, is set in the midst of a courtyard full of subordinate stupas and mounds, and ringed around by residential houses with busy shop fronts. Every year in the month of March, the statue is drawn in a tall chariot through the main streets of kathmandu by both Hindus and Buddhists- as a prime symbol of peace and devotion- between both communities. In between Durdar Square and the palatial Singha Durdar lies New Road (Juddha Road) and Tundikhel one of the most beautiful parade grounds of Asia. On Juddha Road are located curio shops and the Cottage Industries Emporium, which is a reliable and fair-price shop of Nepalese handicrafts, a show-room of indigenous talent.

13. The Mahankal Bhairab

On the border of the velvety Tundikhel parade ground the largest in the country, is the temple dedicated to yet another Bhairab. This fourth manifestation is the Mahankal Bhairab, the God of Death and Destruction, though considered, also as the protector of the Valley. This image, considered one of the most beautiful in the country, is made of shining black stone and is an outstanding example of Nepalese sculptor.

14. The Martyrs Memorial

On the way to the Singha Darbar, above the road through Tundikhel, a marble arch is dedicated to four martyrs who suffered death in their fight against the tyranny of the Ranas. Under the arch stands the black marble statues of King Tribhuvan who shook off the tyrannical rule in 1950 along with four martyrs, Shukra Raj Shastri, Dharma Bhakta, Darsharath Chand and Ganga Lal who were either shot dead or hanged in 1940 by the Ranas for demanding, peacefully, democratic rights for the people. 15. The Singha Durbar- Monument to Vainglory With over a thousand rooms the imposing stucco-palace built in the European neo-classic style, was once the official residence of the Rana Prime Ministers, who for a hundred years, rules Nepal with an iron hand. Till a few years ago, when a fire gutted the interior the palace was filled with priceless treasures acquired by the Ranas in their frequent trips abroad. The largest and, still the most impressive building in Kathmandu, located in a 75-acre estate and set in the midst of beautiful well-planned gardens, it now houses the Central Secretariat of His Majesty’s Government.

15. Sital Niwas

Nepal’s “Buckingham Palace” Bearing comparison with the Singha Durbar is Sital Niwas located at Maharajgunj, now the Royal Guest House. Donated to the Government by one of the Ranas, Krishna Shumshere, it was built by him to an exact replica of her Royal Britanic Majesty’s Palace in London.

16. Dharahara-Bhimsen Tower

There is a white minaret near the Tundikhel Parade Ground and close to the General Post Office, which is not part of any mosque and any similarity with Muslim architecture is purely for aesthetic reasons. It was built by the great soldier statesman Bhim Sen Thapa, the Prime Minister of King Rana Bahadur Shah, and who led Nepal to glory in his 34 year rules as Prime Minister, serving three generations. Erected in 1832, the tower besides acting as a lookout, was used to give a bugle call to the soldiers, when the army barracks did not exist in the core, he built the tower also called Bhimsen Stambh, when the beloved Queen Mother Tirpura Sundari died in 1832, as a memorial to her, along with another one called Sunderhara in another part of the country. Reaching a height of 50.5 meters (165 feet), from the top it offers a stupendous panoramic view of the whole vale of Kathmandu.

17. Narayanhity Durbar- The New Royal Palace

In close proximity with the temple of Narayan, whose incarnation the King of Nepal is supposed to be is the new Royal Palace, an enchanting melange of the old and the new. Mingling ancient beauty and dignity with the modern, it is a masterpiece of architecture. Just outside the western gate of the palace there is “Narayanhity”- an ancient and historic water bath. Special permission is required to enter the Palace grounds.

18. Gokarneshwar- Temple to Lord Shiva

There kilometers north-east of the Bouddhnath stupa Gokarna is on the way to Sundarijal. Here commanding a fine view of the river Bagmati, which at this place flows through a gorge, is the temple of Gokarneshwar, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This fine, ancient temple, built in the pagoda style and full of elaborate carvings, was renovated by King Jayasthiti Malla in 1422 A.D. The pious king made frequent offerings and endowments for daily worship and other special ceremonies.

19. Shekha Narayan- the Dwarf incarnation of Vishnu

In Dev-patan, near the temple of Pashupatinath and on a hillock situated midst lovely surroundings is the ancient temple of Shekha Narayan, constructed by King Haridatta Varma, in seventh century. A place of pilgrimage, the shrine houses the stone relief of Vamana, the dwarf incarnation of Vishnu taking one of the three steps with which he covered the world. One of the five immortal renderings of Vishnu sculpture, whose twin is in Lazimpat, and it was subjected to the cruel blows of the Turk invaders from Bengal and was flung out in the open along with the other to suffer the vagaries of sun and rain for hundreds of years. Yet strangely enough, they both retain to this day the glory and freshness of the first creation, eliciting wordless tribute to the anonymous master of the centuries past.

20. Buddhanilkantha- The Blue- Throated One

At the foot of the Shivpuri Hill is an image of Vishnu recumbent, in a square pool, on a bed of snakes. An excellent example and stately example of the art of stone, this fine work of art was sculpted in the sixth century and disclosed a strong and effective blending of the Gandhara and the Gupta Schools of Art. It is beautifully proportioned lifelike to the last detail and supremely realistic in expression and posture. At the same time, it discloses a fine understanding of human anatomy and a rare spirit of dedication. A place of pilgrimage, the holy place is surrounded by monasteries. A drive to Tokha Hill from here goes through beautiful pine trees. It lies nine kilometers north of Kathmandu.

21. Balaju Water Garden- A King’s creation

King Pratap Malla the erudite monarch who composed a hymn to Kalika was an intensely religious man and to him Nepal owes some of the most magnificent temples. He felt strongly that since the King of Nepal was himself an incarnation of Vishnu, the Maharajadhiraja should not visit Buddhanilakantha, the incarnation of Vishnu, “Naranamcha Naradhipam”, according to the Bhagavad Gita, so that the two Vishnus may not meet. He instructed the finest sculptors of the realm to make a replica of the 6th century image which would be installed out in the beautiful Royal Gardens of Balaju for the “King’s” visit. Beautifully laid out in the days of the Malla Kings, the garden support 22 crocodile- headed water spouts which were added in the mid-18th century. The image was installed in 1650 for the King’s visit. Adding to the grandeur of the place, 3 km west of the capital, in recent times, a new park named Balaju Uddhayan and a Olympic- sized swimming pool have been laid out. True to tradition, no Nepalese monarch has, since the days of Pratap Malla, visited the shrine of Buddhanilkantha for fear being struck down by casting a glance at a god whose incarnation he is.

22. The Nepal National Museumm

Close to the temple of Swayambhunath, 2,5 kilometers (1.5miles) from Kathmandu City, is the National Museum for those who are interested in Nepalese culture, ancient medieval and modern. Among the historical and archaeological items are war trophies, including the leather gun captured in the Tibetan War of 1888 and, from across the ocean, the sword of Nepoleon Bonaparte who himself never got across thus far east. Besides the arms of a bygone age, the like of which would not be found elsewhere, the museum contains an excellent collection of stone and bronze idols representing Buddhist and Hindu deities besides a large amount of costumes in vogue through the ages.

23. Chovar Gorge and Adinath

When the Kathmandu Valley was one vast lake and the holy Bagmati was a prisoner of the mountain chain, the God Manjushree cut a gorge at chovar, 6.4 km (4 miles) from Kathmandu, through which the lake was drained out. All the waters of the valley got their outlet from this picturesque narrow gorge through which the waters roar away. On top of the hill, presenting a magnificent view of the snow- clad peaks is the small pagoda temple built by the Lichhavian king, the powerful Amshuvarma. Starting as a soldier in the army of King Shiva Deva Verma of the Surya Dynasty, he married the King’s daughter and later, in the year 630 A.D. married his daughter off to the King of Tibet. It was she, who took Buddhism to Tibet. The king died in 640 A.D. but before he built the Temple of Adinath, dedicated to the Lokeshwar Buddha. It was with the Lichhavis that the pagoda style of architecture which centuries later spread to China, started. Chinese travelers came to Nepal in 643 A.D. and took back designs of the pagodas, both religious and secular, but it was in the 11th century that the powerful Kublai Khan sent for the famous Nepalese architect Balbahu, or Arniko as the Chinese called him. He left a lasting imprint and a grateful Khan bestowed on him the title: Min Hui, or Personification of Wisdom.


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