There is a lot to do in Nepal, especially adrenaline-pumping activities such as mountain climbing, paragliding, bungee jumping and much more. But if you’re interested in history and religion, a very important factor to help you understand Nepalese society is a visit to Kathmandu.
Various important Hindu and Buddhist temples are spread around Kathmandu. These photos of people were taken in the Kathmandu Valley, both during ordinary days and religious festivals:
There were many places or pilgrimage sites that captured my attention in the Kathmandu Valley, and among them I would single out the following:
The Durbar Squares: they stand as a reminder of the kingdoms that once made up Nepal. Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square (my personal favorite) are the major ones. A Durbar Square typically surrounds the old royal palaces, and is made up of several buildings, statues and temples.
Pashupatinath Temple: it is considered to be the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. It is also one of the major Shiva temples in the world. Only Hindus are allowed to enter the holy temple, but all other visitors are welcome to roam around the temple area that is divided by the Bagmati River. Traditional open-air cremations take place on the river side and people bathe in the same waters during other religious festivals.
Swayambhunath: it is an elaborate ancient Buddhist site. It is also part of the Newari (the indigenous people of Kathmandu) heritage. It is also called “the Monkey Temple” as a lot of monkeys live around it and are fed by both Hindus (who thus pay homage to the Hindu deity Hanuman) and Buddhists.
Boudhanath: it is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu. The stupa (a monument containing Buddhist relics) is among the largest in the world. It is said that Tibetan merchants used to rest and pray at this pilgrimage site. Even today, a lot of Tibetan refugees live around the stupa.