Kathmandu(The Kantipur)

Once upon a time according to the legend there was a primordial lake surrounded by lush green forested mountains.  In this untouched lake lived enormous serpents until one fine day, Manjushree raised a mighty sword and in one fell swoop, cut open the side of a mountain at a place now known as Chovar. The roomy waters of the lake gushed out leaving behind a fertile valley which we know today as Kathmandu valley.

Kathmandu, the largest city of Nepal, once known as ‘Kantipur’, is now the political as well as cultural Capital. Nestled within a large valley, it enjoys a pleasant climate second to none and is a relatively safe place to live. Like any big city, Kathmandu has seen rapid expansion in the last decade and the hustle and bustle is typical, yet the people remain as refreshingly friendly as ever. The old, fabulous palaces, the superbly crafted pagodas and the monumental Stupas are reminders of the Golden age of architecture in Nepal. They stand testimony to the artistic genius of the Newar craftsmen, the original inhabitants of the valley, whose skills were championed by the Malla king. The Durbar Square, Swoyambhunath, Boudhanath and Pashupatinath have been enlisted as UNESCO’s World Heritage Monuments.

Retaining ancient traditions, Kathmandu is blessed not only by a Living Goddess but also by Tantrik priests and reincarnated Lamas who are revered for their spiritual prowess. The city is enriched by such living traditions and the spectacular religious processions that take to the streets every now and then with throngs of devotees seeking blessings. Major tourist attractions, these religious festivals are steeped in legend and are quite a spectacle with chariot processions, masked dancers often possessed by the spirits of deities and the inevitable ceremony of sacrifice.
 
Important Places around Kathmandu:

Asan: 
- Used to be the center of old Kathmandu, has six roads radiating in all directions.
- The three storied pagoda style Annapurna temple and the two storied shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesh.
- Is still an important shopping center and one of the busiest markets place.
Thamel:
- Known as the tourist district of Kathmandu, bustles with activity late into the night.
- It is a mere10-minute’s walk from the center of Kathmandu, yet completely different from the rest of the city.
- Caters entirely to tourists with its scores of hotels, rows of restaurants and bars, book shops, inviting souvenir shops, cyber cafes and travel agencies. All that a tourist needs can be found here, even friends and traveling companions. 
Dharahara:
- The soaring landmark of Kathmandu.
-  Is 50.5 m high and was built by the then Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa in 1832.
-  Once closed to the public, it was recently opened and anyone can go up after paying the entrance fee.
- The 360 deg. astounding view of the Kathmandu Valley is well worth the long climb up the spiraling staircase.
Budhanilkantha:
- The largest of Vishnu’s stone statues.
- Also known as ‘the Reclining Vishnu’, located 8 km north of Kathmandu.
- The large impressive statue of lord Vishnu reclines on a bed of snakes known as ‘Nags’, allocated in the center of a small pond.
 - The 5th Century shrine attracts Hindu pilgrims and large crowds gather during the festivals of Haribodhini Ekadasi and Kartik Poornima (Fullmoon Day of October).