Katmandu - exotic valley has a history going back 2,000 years
Katmandu is on Vagmathi (now Bagmathi) river. Actually, it's name was Kashta Mandapam meaning wooden structure. It was established in 724 AD. Nepalis say there are 2700 temples here.
Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu is a very beautiful city. It is at a height of 4500 feet above sea level. Thsi city which is 2 miles long and as broad, though a mountain city in the middle of the Himalayas, shines like a modern city in the plains. One who walks through the streets of Kathmandu forgets the truth that he or she is walking through the middle of the Himalaya. Three miles east of this charming city of Kathmandu, adorned with many signs of modern civilization, is the holy river Vagmati on whose Southern banks is the famous Pashupatinath temple.
The Kathmandu Valley is believed to have been created out of a primordial lake by the Buddhist saint Manjushree who drained out the waters by slashing a passage in the surrounding hills and made it inhabiltable. The valley's mythological past blends into history with the founding of the Gopals dynasty. There is scant reference in history books to the Gopals or the Kirats but a kirati king is mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharat. Buddism was brought from India to Nepal during the Kirati dynasty. The Kiratis were superseded by the Lichhavis around 300 AD. The Lichhavis introduced the Hindu caste hierarchy.
One of the earliest records (fifth century) found in the Kathmandu valley shows that religious faith linked to Pashipati, the Lord of Animals, also known as Shiva. Today Shiva is the dominant deity. The common representation of Pashupati can be seen in the form of the Linga, the symbol of the masculine principle, strength and fertile power. The symbol is mainly represented together with a disc, which stands for the yoni, the female principle. Yoni can be observed as Parvathi at the Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Pashupathinath on the banks of the Vagmati river is one of the holiest temples for Hindus. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Pashupathinath is one of the Ashta Moorthi, called Yajamana. Temple is of architectural beauty and about 2000 years old. There is a huge Nandi at a height of 20 feet. The main Lingam is only 3 feet high but having four faces. One face is pointing to the sky. There are several other idols in the temple. The temple of Pashupathinath is a concrete proof of the deep devotion of the Nepali kings as well as of their opulence. In the construction of the temple they have used gold and silver as profusely as wood and stone. It is very easy to pass the day by circumambulating the Pashupathinath temple with the darshan of all Gods in the vicinity and hearing the holy hymns and scriptures.
Swayambunath Temple: This is Hindu-Buddhist Temple situated on a mound. It is also called Monkey Temple. One has to climb 400 steps to reach this temple. On a 20 feet stupa like structure, a huge Shiva linga, which is another 45 feet high is found. The lingam has four faces, on four directions, each face having three eyes.
Swayambhu stupa whose famed eyes constantly watch over the Kathmandu valley from the top of a hillock, is the area's most ancient shrine. This sacred Buddhist site is said to date back to the fifth century. Legend has it that a sacred lotus blossomed in the lake which emitted a brilliant light. The local people worshipped the miracle as "Swayambhu" , or "self-created".
We stayed couple of days before and after the yatra at Hyatt Regency hotel in Kathmandu. We had a very comfortable stay there. We enjoyed the delicious food, quiet atmosphere and the nice walking path around the hotel complex.
Following are some pictures from Hyatt Regency, Pashupathinath Temple, Swayambhu stupa and Buddha Neelakanta Temple.
Ha!Ha! I went near and had the darshan of the five-faced Pashupatinath with horripilation all over my body and with my eyes flooding with tears. That Parameshvara who staying in everyone's heart controls everything - is He anyone else other than me - Ah! Wonderful! The truth is very wonderful indeed! - Sri Swami Tapovanam
Prostrations to Shri Vishwanath, the Lord of Kailas!
Pranams to Shri Himagiri, the very essence of godliness!
Namaskarams to Shri bagheerathy who is the purifier of sinners