Kathmandu Valley, being rich in cultural, historic, and artistic inscriptions, holds the glory of seven monumental zones as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Through heritage walks, one can explore and discover the everyday sights, sounds and sensations of inner-city Kathmandu through an artistic and aesthetic perspective for a deeper understanding. Exploring both tangible & intangible resources, art, sculptures, stories, people's way of life, their beliefs & history is a unique experience that heritage walk envelops in Kathmandu and Patan.
Besides few usual tourist spots, the Kathmandu Heritage Walk takes you to sites from Durbar Square, to Thamel, Centuries old temples with exquisite carvings, statues, courtyards (bahals), forgetten alleys, eateries and bazaars all within the vicinity.
Key Heritages Spots of Kathmandu Heritage Walk
1. Kumari Ghar: Kathmandu Heritage walk starts from Kumari Ghar. One can start a walk with Kumari darshan at the Kumari Ghar.
2. Jana Bahal & Pottery Market: The Temple is dedicated to Seto Machhindranath who is worshipped by both Hindu & Buddhist, something that is very indicative of the original and diversified culture of Kathmandu Valley. Machhindranath comes from the Sanskrit world for 'fish' and also known as God of Rain. There's is an interesting hidden pottery market behind the Temple.
3. Itum Bahal: The Itum Bahal is one of the largest Buddhist Bahal in Kathmandu and one of the oldest still in the world today. The First courtyard worth exploring is Saraswati Nani dedicated to the goddess Saraswati. The second courtyard is the Green Tara Nani.
4. Kathesimbu Stupa: Is a smaller replica of the great stupa of Swayambhunath, built for people who were unable to visit Swayambhu. The domed chaitya is rumored to be from the 5th & 6th centuries. The stone chaitya around this courtyard are 20th century additions. Harati , the goddess of health has a temple in the corner & the Tibetan Dragon Jangchup Choeling Monastery is here too.
5. Chhusya Bahal: Is one of the most well-preserved bahals of Kathmandu. The roof struts over the main entrance depict four celestial Buddhas, while to the right are protective goddesses and to the left musicians and dancers. Historians query why these roof struts are characteristics of 13th century woodwork yet the temple dates a few centuries after this in 1960.
Patan is one of the most well-maintained heritage in Kathmandu Valley. Besides Patan Durbar Square and the Patan Museum one can explore the inner alleys of Patan walking the road.
Key Heritages Spots of Patan Heritage Walk
1. Patan Durbar Square: Patan heritage walk can be started from Patan Durbar Square
2. Hiranya Varna Mahavihar – Golden Temple: The Hiranya Varna Mahavir, also known as the golden temple, was founded in the 12th century, and it has existed in its current from since 1409. The Temple gets its name from the gilded metal plates that cover most of its frontage. It is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking temples in Patan because of its heritage and architecture.
3. Aila Galli – The Aila Galli is an interesting alley where local raksi (alcohol) and "tho" is distilled. It’s a line houses where the women make the local raksi and sell it to "bhattis" (small pubs) in the area. It's refreshing to have a freshly brewed glass of local wine.
4. Mahabouddha Temple – This temple is an architectural masterpiece of 14th century. The temple is called " the temple of the thousand Buddhas" with Buddha’s image engraved on every brick of Temple.
5. Rudra Varna Mahavihar – This is a historic Buddhist monastery said to be used for coronation ceremonies. Many statues and treasures adorn the walls and altars. It's thought to be the oldest monastery in PATA which dates back to the 13th century.