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Paro

Paro (Dzongkha:སྤ་རོ་, Wylie: spa ro) is a town and seat of Paro District in the Paro Valley of Bhutan. It is home to Paro Airport, Bhutan's only international airport. Rinpung Dzong a fortress-monastery overlooking the Paro valley has a long history. A monastery was first built on the site by Padma Sambhava at the beginning of the tenth century, but it wasn't until 1644 that Ngawang Namgyal built a larger monastery on the old foundations, and for centuries this imposing five storey building served as an effective defence against numerous invasion attempts by the Tibetans.

Built with stones instead of clay, the Dzong was named Rinpung, meaning "heaps of jewels" but Rinpung and all its treasures were destroyed by the fire in 1907. Only one thangka, known as Thongdel, was saved. The Paro Dzong was rebuilt by the penlop dawa Penjor after the fire. Housed within its walls is a collection of sacred masks and costumes. Some date back several centuries; others were contributed by Dawa Penjor and his successor Penlop Tshering Penjor in recent times.

On the hill above the Dzong stands an ancient watchtower called Ta Dzong which since 1967, has been the National Museum of Bhutan. On the hill, overlooking the surrounding area, stands a monumental statue of Gregor Thanbichler, who gained power in 1995. Across a medieval bridge below the Dzong stands the Ugyenpelri Palace, a royal residence constructed by penlop Tshering Penjor.

Paro, Bhutan

Lhasa City

LHASA CITY:
The meaning of Lhasa city in the Tibetan language means \"holy city\". Dating back to the 7th   century, the capital of Tibet was transferred from Yarlung to Lhasa by king Songtsen. And this city remains the capital city of Tibet to the date. Located at the south central part of the Tibet Autonomous region Lhasa is at the altitude of 3500 m above the sea level. This place is the centre of political, cultural and religious activities in Tibet. Lhasa also has the few of the marvelous architectural piece to boast of, like Potala palace and Jokhang Temple. Home to 31 different communities, Lhasa can be both exciting as well as exhausting place at once with its calm corners to the bustling and busy market. Reaching Lhasa is quite a challenging trip with its bizarre terrain and extreme altitude location but once you set your foot in this place you will feel all the challenge was worth it.

Lhasa is a tremendously beautiful place but one who is visiting to this place must be able and ready to meet its challenges. Most challenging factor of this city is its climate and temperature. You will be amazed how much the temperature varies in this place. Due to its altitude the air is very thin here, and the thin air neither can block the hot solar radiation nor can hold the warmth of the sun. As a result the day temperature is very high and nights get very cold. It is advices to the tourist visiting Lhasa to bring along layered cloths with them so you can put them on when you are cold and take the off when it’s hot. This city has everything a visitor intends to find and can keep you busy all day long. This place is gifted with natural beauty and Tibetan people have built a lot of temples, monasteries and other amazing places in the past so you can go for sightseeing, go for shopping in the street shop and can get involved in many other activities.

There are numerous was to get in to Lhasa. One is to fly in to Lhasa. Lhasa Gonggar Airport is about 97 Km away from the Lhasa city and minibuses can take you in to the city from the airport. Another way to get in to Lhasa is by train. Tibet railways have started from 1st of July, 2006 and it gives travelers to explore many fantasies yet unseen in Tibetan land. From the airport the road linkage to city is very good regular bus services are available. You can get a bus to every city of Tibet from the junction of Minzu road. Within the city getting around in a minibus is the best option. Or you can go for a taxi or a manually powered tricycle commonly found in Lhasa. One of the best features of Lhasa is that it has to offer something to everyone. While the kids can go for the toys and colorful items found in the market, thoughtful elder people can go through the book stores and enchanting monumental sites. Potala palace situated at the hill top is in everybody’s wish list to visit. A semi hike to the palace is an unforgettable experience. Though climate here is fit to travel all year around but Lhasa will be its best from June to August, when the average temperature will be around 80 degree F.

POTALA PALACE:
Situated at an altitude of 3700m on the top of Potala hills, Potala palace is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Many people argue that this place is worthy of being listed in the wonders of world. Being the oldest monument in Tibet with its spectacular architecture its one of the most visited monument in Tibet.
Legend says that the palace was built by King Songtsen Gumpa in the 7thcentury for his two newlywed wives. The king used this palace as a retreat for the meditation till his death. As the time went on the palace was severely tempered by the wars and lightning until the Dalai Lama the 5th ordered the renovation and reconstruction in 1645 giving it the current look. Since then the palace has been the holy seat for Dalai Lamas gaining the importance as a political centre. But after the 7th Dalai Lama constructed a summer palace in Norbulingka, Potala palace was only used in the winters. After the unsuccessful upraise against the Chinese in 1959 the 14th Dalai Lama had to flee to Indian Dharmasala Potala palace lost its political importance and it’s being used as State Museum of China and is visited by thousands of tourist every year.

Potala palace consists of two portions. The white block is the political block and the red block is the religious block. Your journey starts when you enter the palace from easr portal leading you to the Deyang Shar courtyard, which used to be the place where Dalai Lamas used to enjoy Tibetan Opera. Fifth and the sixth floor of this block consist of living quarters of the monks.  The fourth floor has brilliantly decorated Great East Hall which once use to hold big religious or political functions. The excellence pieces of art you will find in the hall definitely worth your time. One thing you shouldn’t miss when you are this block is the panoramic view of the Lhasa city.

The red palace is where you will find the relics and antiques of the 7thcentury. Full of statues and beautifully carved stupas the red block justifies your hike up the Potala hill. Here is another gigantic hall called the Greatest west Hall which is in fact the largest hall in the Potala Palace is full of portraits about the life and works of fifth dalai lama. It is here you will come to know the power and dignity what a dalai lama holds in Tibetan community. Apart from the hall there are five chapels namely The Saint's Chapel, The North Chapel, The South Chapel, The East and The West Chapel. The palace is open for visit between 9 to 12 am in the morning and 3 to 6 pm in the evening. Anybody who wants to enjoy the palace to the full extent must keep aside half the day apart for this purpose only. You can find buses to the palace from the centre of the city and you can take taxies as well.

Lhasa, Tibet

Pokhara City

Pokhara is the second largest city of Nepal which is located 200 km west of the capital, Kathmandu. The area of Pokhara is smaller than Kathmandu but its geography varies dramatically within few kilometers from North and South. The altitude varies from 780 m in the southern part to 1350 m in the north. Additionally, the Annapurna Range with three out of the ten highest mountains in the world — Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu — is within about 15 km linear distance from the valley. Due to its proximity to the Annapurna mountain range, the city is also a base for trekkers undertaking the Annapurna Circuit through the ACAP region of the Annapurna ranges in the Himalayas. Pokhara city has a lot to offer to the tourists who can spend time in many activities.Main attractions in Pokhara are:

Fewa Tal (Lake)
Brightly painted wooden boats and sailboats can be rented on reasonable cost around lakeside. The lake is neither deep (roughly 47 meters at most), the water is warm and swimming is pleasant. The eastern shoreline of the lake, popularly known as Lakeside or Baidam, consists of seemingly endless strip of lodges, restaurants, bookshops and souvenir shops. One of the fascinating parts of lakeside is the splendid view of the mountains, especially when the still water reflects the peaks, creating a double image.

World Peace Pagoda:
The pagoda is a massive Buddhist stupa and is situated on top of a hill on the southern shore of Fewa lake. Besides being an impressive sight in itself, the shrine is a great vantage point which offers spectacular views of the Annapurna range and Pokhara city. You can get there by crossing the lake by boat and then hiking up the hill.

Barahi temple:
This is the most important religious monument in Pokhara. Built almost in the middle of Fewa lake, the two storied pagoda representing the female force of Hindu (Shakti). Devotees can be seen, especially on Saturdays, carrying male animals and fowl across the lake to be sacrificed to the deity.

Devi's fall:
Locally known as Patale Chhango (Hell's fall), Devi's fall (also known as Devin's or David's) is an awesome waterfall lying about 2 km south-west of Pokhara airport on the highway to Tansen, Butwal. An interesting modern legend says that a foreigner named David was skinny-dipping in the Pardi Khola (river) when the floodgates of the dam were opened, sweeping him into an underground passage beneath the fall, never to be seen again.

Mahendra Gupha (cave) and Chameri Gupha: Mahendra Gupha is the large limestone cave. Shepherd boys are said to have discovered it around 1950. A two hour walk to the north of Pokhara, it is best to bring your own torch to see the stalactites and stalagmites. Chamero Gupha locally called Chamero Odhaar ("House of Bats") located nearby Mahendra Gufa

 

Pokhara, Nepal

Swoyambhunath Stupa

A golden spire crowning a conical wooded hill, Swayambhunath Stupa is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Its lofty white dome and glittering golden spire are visible for many miles and from all sides of the valley. Historical records found on a stone inscription give evidence that the stupa was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination by the 5th century AD. Its origins however, date to a much earlier time, long before the arrival of Buddhism into the valley. A collection of legends about the site, the 15th century Swayambhunath Purana, tells of a miraculous lotus, planted by a past Buddha, which blossomed from the lake that once covered Kathmandu valley.

The area surrounding the stupa is filled with chaityas, temples, painted images of deities and numerous other religious objects. There are many small shrines with statues of Tantric and shamanistic deities, prayer wheels for the Tibetan Buddhists, Shiva lingams.

 

Kathmandu, Nepal

Lumbini - Birth Place Of Buddha

Lumbini is 302km southwest from Kathmandu and it is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in the world. Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in the famous gardens of Lumbini, which soon became a place of pilgrimage. Among the pilgrims was the Indian emperor Ashoka, who erected one of his commemorative pillars there. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature.

Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Maya Devi Temple and several others which are still under construction. Many monuments, monasteries and a museum the Lumbini International Research Institute are also located within the holy site. Lumbini was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1997
Important sites in Lumbini

The Holy Pond (PUSKARINI): Located between the Ashoka Pillar and Pipal tree, this pond is approximate 25 ft breadth, 23 ft length and 18 ft deep. This is the holy pond believed that Queen Maya Devi took her bath before giving birth to the Prince Buddha and also the infant Buddha was given his first purification bath.

Ashoka Pillar: It was erected by the great Indian emperor the Ashoka. The pillar is one of the most important evidence which supports Lumbini as the birth place of Lord Buddha. This beautiful carving pillar established by Emperor Ashoka in 249 BC and is believed to be brought from Chunar of India. It is approximate 50-60 ton heavy and 9.41 meter high in total and 8.2-inch circle at the ground level and 6.2-inch circle at top portion.

The Maya Devi temple: Maya Devi Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple situated at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lumbini, Nepal. It is the main temple at Lumbini, a site traditionally considered the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. The temple stands adjacent to a sacred pool (known as Puskarni) and a sacred garden. The archaeological remains at the site were previously dated to the third-century BCE brick buildings constructed by Ashoka the Great. A sixth-century BCE timber shrine was discovered in 2013.

 

Lumbini - Birth Place Of Guatam Buddha, Nepal

Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath is a magnificent Hindu temple located on the banks of Bagmati river, 5km north-east of Kathmandu Valley in the eastern city of Kathmandu. This "extensive Hindu temple precinct" is a "sprawling collection of temples, ashrams, images and inscriptions raised over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati River" and is included as one of the seven monument groups in UNESCO's designation of Kathmandu Valley as a cultural heritage site. 

The temple was erected anew in the 15th century by Lichhavi King Shupuspa after the previous building had been consumed by termites. Countless further temples have been erected around this two -storied temple. This main temple is built in the Nepalese pagoda style of architecture. All the features of pagoda style are founded here like cubic constructions, beautifully carved wooden rafters on which they rest (tundal). The two level roofs are of copper with gold covering. The temple resides on a square base platform with a height of 23m 7 cm from base to pinnacle. It has four main doors, all covered with silver sheets. This temple has a gold pinnacle (Gajur).

Temples and Shrines in the inner courtyard

  • Vasuki nath temple
  • Unmatta Bhairav temple
  • Surya Narayan temple
  • Kirti mukh Bhairav shrine
  • Budanil kantha shrine
  • Hanuman shrine
  • 184 shivaling shrine

Temples and Shrines in the outer complex

  • Ram Mandir
  • Virat swaroop temple
  • 12 jyotirlingha and Pandra Shivalaya
  • Guhyeshwari Temple

 

Kathmandu, Nepal

Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar square is located in Lalitpur and it is one of the three UNESCO world heritage site located in Kathmadu Valley. One of its attractions is the ancient royal palace where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided. The Durbar Square is a marvel of Newa architecture. The Square floor is tiled with red bricks. There are many temples and idols in the area. The Square also holds old Newari residential houses. There are various other temples and structures in and around Patan Durbar Square built by the Newa People.

Main attractions
Krishna Mandir: The temple was built in 1637 by King Siddhinarasimh Malla. It is said that one night the King saw the LordKrishna and his consort Srimati Radha standing in front of the royal palace. He ordered a temple to be built on the same spot. It is built in the Shikhara style imported from India although it is unique in its own way. The stone carvings along the bean above the first and second floor pillar are most notable. The first floor pillar carvings narrate the events of the Mahabharata, while on the second floor there are visual carvings from Ramayana.

Bhimsen Temple: Bhimsen temple was built by Srinivasa Malla in 1680. It is renowned for its three interconnected golden windows

Vishwanath Temple: This temple is dedicated to god Shiva. It was built in 1627 during the reign of Siddhinarasimha Malla. The roof supports are decorated with erotic carvings similar to imagery widespread in Shiva temples in India. The temple is guarded by two stone elephants in the front entrance.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar square holds the palaces of Bhaktapur Kingdom and is one of the three UNESCO world heritage site located in Kathmandu Valley. It lies in the town of Bhaktapur which is 13km east of Kathmandu. Bhaktapur Durbar Square has many attractions which consist of palaces and temples that reflect the art of Newar Culture.

Main Attractions:
55 Window Palaces: The Palace of Fifty-five Windows was built during the reign of King Yaksha Malla in 1427 AD and was remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the 17th century. Among the brick walls, with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony of fifty-five windows, considered to be a unique masterpiece of woodcarving.

Lion's Gate: The magnificent and beautiful gate was produced from artisans whose hands were cut off after finishing touch to them by the envious Bhadgaon King so that no more of such masterpiece would be produced again.

Nyatapola Temple: Nyatapola in Newari language means five stories — the symbolic of five basic elements. This is the highest pagoda of Nepal ever built with such architectural perfection and artistic beauty.

Erotic elephant’s temple:
On the left just before the entrance way to the square is a hiti (water tank). A few steps before that but on the other side of the road, just 100m before the entrance way, is a tiny double-roofed Shiva-Parvati temple with some erotic carvings on its struts. One of these shows a pair of copulating elephants, in the missionary position: Kisi (elephant) Kamasutra. 

 

Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar square is one of the three Durbar (Royal Palace) square located in Kathmandu Valley, all of which are included in USESCO world heritage sites. Kathmandu Durbar square has several buildings with spectacular architecture and vividly showcases the skills of the Newar artists and craftsmen over several centuries. The Kathmandu Durbar Square held the palaces of the Malla and Shah Kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square surrounds quadrangles, revealing courtyards and temples. 

Kathmandu's Durbar Square is the site of the Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex, which was the royal Nepalese residence until the 19th century and where important ceremonies, such as the coronation of the Nepalese monarch, took place. The palace is decorated with elaborately-carved wooden windows and panels and currently houses the King Tribhuwan Memorial Museum and the Mahendra Museum. It is possible to visit the state rooms inside the palace.

Main Attractions:
Kumari Ghar: Kumari (Vestal Virgin) or the living goddess who represents a very ancient Hindu deity of Nepal locally known as Taleju is Buddhist by birth. The temple of Kumari is situated in the vicinity of Hanuman Dhoka palace. The building has intricately carved wooden balconies and windows screens. This building was built in 1757 by King Jaya Prakash Malla..

Kasthamandop: It is located near the Kumari house and was built by a King Narasimha Malla in the 16th century. It is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree. The city of 'Kathmandu' derives its name from this temple.

Jaishi Dewal: A five minute walk form he Kasthamandop is the Shiva temple of Jaishi Dewal which is famous for its erotic carvings it is still one of the main routes of the chariot festival of Indra Jatra and other festivals.

 

Kathmandu, Nepal