Kathmandu has thousands of attractions for tourists from
all over the world. Hundreds are not properly studied and
brought to international notice yet. If we develop those places
and include on tourist itinerary the stay of the tourists
in Kathmandu can be increased. Nowadays, most of the sight
seeing areas in and around Kathmandu valley is the ones that
were sold to the tourists market about three decades ago.
The culture of Kathmandu valley is a riverine culture. It
seems that the permanent living started in kathmandu because
of its rivers like the Bagmati, Vishnumati, Rudramati and
Ichhumati. Among these rivers Bagmati has the greatest significance
in the Nepalese culture. It is considered as the Ganges of
the Kathmandu valley. The Himavatkhanda of Skanda Purana describes
the importance and religious merits of Bagmati as even more
than that of the holy Ganges- “Gangatopiyabadhika.”
The importance of Bagmati was realized by the people from
the very beginning of civilization. Bagmati provided water
to drink, cultivate the land, and support the cattle. As such
Bagmati became something like the mother of Nepalese civilization.
Many inscriptions of ancient and medieval Nepal have praised
the holy river. Up to the middle of the eighteenth century
the main town of Kathmandu was from Thanhiti, the upper end
of the town and Konhiti, the lower end of the town. From Thanhiti
of north to the Konhiti of south the whole town planning was
designed in such a way that the people would reach to the
river either Bagmati or Vishnumati within a short walk.
The banks of the rivers on either side were paved and known
as Ghat. Not only did the people cremate their dead here but
they also wanted to die at the bank of the river. Many culture
sited have been developed at the banks of this river. During
our training for VNY 1998 we were encouraged to explore new
sites and I have rightly found a site where every visitor
may get the glimpse of Nepal art and culture.
A tour to Bagmati Ghat takes about 4 hours to complete, starting
from the famous Bagmati Bridge near Thapathali that links
Lalitpur to Kathmandu. Right at the beginning of the bridge
there is an inscription of Bhimsen Thapa, the prime- Minister
of Nepal during the first quarter of nineteenth century. The
inscription is a beautiful piece of literature which, in sixteen
verses praises the glory of river Bagmati. A little below
the Ghat are many Hindu monasteries like Sanyasi, Udasi and
Vairagi Akhada belonging to the various sects or schools of
Hinduism. These monitories have big open courtyards and buildings
on all three sides where pilgrims, both from Nepal and India,
come during their journey and stay.
After five such monasteries we reach to the famous Hiranya
Hem Narayan temple with buildings having well carved windows,
a big courtyard, and many miniature temples surrounding it.
Through the western gate of this temple one reached to an
open, paved square, where sadhus visiting Nepal in Shivaratri
gather and receive official farewell from Guthi Sansthan.
The Ichhumati River here mixes at Bagmati. A small walk from
lead the visitors to the eastern gate of Tripureswar Shiva
temple, which stands as a unique example of ancient and medieval
Hindu temple architecture. Four miniature temples around enshrine
the idols of Ganesh, Durga, Surya and Vishnu. The whole courtyard
has over twenty-four statues of Hindu Vedic and Puranic deities.
Descending down to Ghat from southern entrance we reach to
another Ghat again where we can see many Brahmanals, patis,
and statues of various gods and goddesses of both Hinduism
A little walk westward, several old buildings and Dharmasala,
which were built by Rana Prime Minister Juddha Sumsher. Spectacular
statues of Umamaheswar and Vishnu waits you ahead. Then comes
the famous Purohit Ghat built by pandit Shiva Raj Satyal.
Not only did he build the Ghat but also raised a beautiful
house with garden and a well for drinking water. This house
today is the personal property of the Satyal of Gairidhara
and Baneswar. A beautiful temple square known as Tin Dewal
and the many temples of different size and shape on way to
it are additional spices for visitors. The wooden struts of
the buildings around the temple are the most beautiful examples
of the nineteenth century Nepali wood works.
The next attraction of this tour is the Laxmikameswar Shiva
temple with very symbolic and erotic carvings all around.
It has the most beautiful windows. Although this temple is
falling apart the concerned authorities have shown no concern.
Thus this heritage risks collapse any time.
The Ghatas now have some nice statues of Hindu and Buddhist
Gods. The dancing Ganesha, the Harihara, Ganga and Jamuna
are the highlights of this place. A status of Ekadas Lokeswor
with thousands arms carved on sandstone is also found next
to the Hindu statues. On the way, a beautiful statue of surya
that may well represent the Lichhchavi period of Nepal’s
history is just lying ignored.
Next to it are a series of crematorium and finally leading
to the confluence of two rivers- Bagmati and Vishnumati- where
people come for ritual observance.
Finally, on the way to famous Pachali Bhairava, some beautiful
bricks temples of Krishna of early eighteenth centuries, coupled
with elegant carved windows depicting the Krishna Lila are
The Pachali Bhairava has a small shrine of Nasadeo, the master
of dance and music. Eastward, under a big tree, is a shrine
of Bhairava, reflecting a combination of nature and culture.
An ever-going fire is burning these full-of-story archaeological
facts and artwork.