Pictures of Kathmandu   Nepal OLD KATHMANDU
Pictures of time-worn temples and stupas in Kathmandu
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Picture of Swayambhunath stupa, Kathmandu
Nepal is a country of stark geographical and cultural diversity, and the birthplace of Buddha.  The historic center of Nepal lies in the Kathmandu Valley where two of the world's great religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, intermingle in extraordinary old temples and shrines.

 

Photo of a Sadhu in Kathmandu
Buddhist stupas

A stupa is a sacred shrine built to a stylized structure that symbolizes Buddhist beliefs.  From the top of the monument, colorful prayer flags cast their mantras into the breeze while the all-seeing eyes of Buddha look out in four directions.   Pilgrims perform a ritual clockwise walk around the stupa while spinning the prayer wheels that are set at its base. 

Two major, centuries-old stupas in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal are those at Boudhanath and Swayambhunath.  These dramatic and colorful structures with their attendant devotees have an undeniable spiritual energy.  Together with its surrounding monasteries, Boudhanath is a spiritual center for Nepal's population of Tibetan Buddhists.

Photo of Boudhanath (Bodhnath) Stupa, Kathmandu
The white dome and shimmering gold spire of Boudhanath Stupa near Kathmandu.
Photo of Swayambhunath Stupa, Kathmandu
Buddha's eyes appear to watch a monkey at the hilltop Swayambhunath Stupa in the Kathmandu Valley.  This ancient stupa, sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus, is appropriately known as the 'Monkey Temple'.
Picture of Boudhanath (Bodhnath) Stupa, Kathmandu
Boudhanath Stupa near Kathmandu is one of the largest in the world and is a confusion of color and spiritual activity.
  A religious melting pot

Nepal is a very spiritual country where Hinduism and Buddhism have become fused in a way that is often impossible for the visitor to understand. 

Although a multitude of ageing shrines and temples in the Kathmandu Valley towns are dedicated to a plethora of Hindu gods and goddesses, temple architecture sometimes reveals a wonderful synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist iconography and beliefs.

Many of the finest temples in the Kathmandu Valley were constructed by builders and artists of the Newar culture.  Their golden age of religious architecture lasted for five hundred years after the Malla Kings came to power in the thirteenth century.

Kala Bhairab
Image of Kala Bhairab in Kathmandu - The Hindu deity Shiva at his most fearsome.
Photo of a Sadhu in Kathmandu Sadhus at Pashupatinath: Searching for salvation
The temple complex of Pashupatinath stands on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River just outside Kathmandu.  Dedicated to Shiva, the destroyer and creator of the Hindu pantheon, it is the most important Hindu site in Nepal and is always alive with activity.  Pashupatinath attracts many sadhus - wandering Hindu holy men who seek religious salvation.
Temples in Bhaktapur
The time-worn temples and shrines of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, like these in Bhaktapur, are infused with detail and symbolic meaning.  These historic buildings are still busy working shrines which are used by many people who worship as part of their everyday lives.
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