Pashupatinath Located on the banks of the Bagmati River on the immediate eastern outskirts of Kathmandu, this temple is one of the most revered of Hindu temples in the world and Hindu pilgrims (especially from neighboring India ) throng the temple complex literally throughout the year. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is one of the three major Hindu deities and is considered the 'Creator', 'Transformer', 'Preserver' and 'Destroyer'. It is situated on the western banks of the Bagmati and the main temple complex is a golden, pagoda style spire and one striking feature of the temple when one enters it is the golden Nandi or Shiva's bull.
Though only Hindus are permitted entrance into the main temple complex, the temple is amply visible from the eastern banks of the river. The eastern side also has single story stone constructions that are dedicated to Lord Shiva and hold the iconic symbol of Lord Shiva – the Shiva 'Lingam' or the erect phallus.
Just as Pashupatinath Temple draws thousands of Hindu pilgrims, Boudhanath has been the ultimate pilgrimage and prayer site for Buddhists (of course Hindus also revere this site). Located only 11 km from central Kathmandu, the stupa dates back to the 14th Century and is supposed to have taken seven years to complete. It is the largest single chorten ( stupa ) in the world and the largest spherical stupa in Nepal. Apart from the soil, bricks and stone used for the construction of this massive dome-like structure with the gilded spire on the top, many kilograms of gold were used for its decoration. Known as 'Khasti' in Nepali and 'Jyarung' in Tibetan, it has been incorporated in the World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1979. The remains of Kassapa Buddha are said to be entombed in the stupa.
Bhaktapur The city dates back to the 12th century during the reign of King Ananda Malla and was the capital of the Greater Malla Kingdom until the 15th century. The majorities of the inhabitants here are from the Newar community and occupy themselves in professions directly and indirectly related to agriculture and tourism. 92 % of the populations are Hindus and 7 % comprise of the Buddhists. Thus, besides the various primarily Hindu temples, there are 19 Buddhist monasteries (vihars) in this city. Most of the monuments here are terra-cotta with carved wood columns; the palaces and temples have intricate and ornate carvings, gilded roofs, open courtyards. Bhaktapur is dotted with pagodas and religious shrines.
The Indra Varna Madavihar built in 1671 is located between Durbar Square and Dattaraya Square has two lion statues, Patingi Hiti (water spout), Tantric wood carvings and prayer wheels.
Another prominent and interesting feature of Bhaktapur is the 55 Window Palace (having 55 windows!!) which was the seat of royalty prior to 1769. It also houses the National Art Gallery that displays scroll paintings, palm leaf manuscripts and numerous stone carvings.
Outside the Palace entrance to the Taleju Complex is the Golden Gate (built 1756) and is a fine example of metal craftsmanship at its best. The Royal Bath with its golden faucet also reflects the glorious spoils of the then monarchy.
Another very visible and prominent feature is the Big Bell built by the last Malla King of Bhaktapur – Ranajit Malla in the 18th century. It is rung twice a day and is also affectionately referred to as the 'Barking Bell' as dogs start barking when the bell is rung.
Nagarkot 20 km northeast of Kathmandu and easily accessible from Bhaktapur is the second highest point in the Kathmandu Valley rim (2,175 meters). Nagarkot commands spectacular views of the valley and the Himalayas and mighty Everest. Sunrise and sunset are breathtaking experiences from this vantage point.
Besides such views, the hiking trails situated here takes you through typically rustic Tamang villages ( Tamangs are one of the many indigenous people of Nepal ).
Changu Narayan is the oldest temple in the valley and dates back to 464 AD. It is situated 6 km north of Bhaktapur. There are excellent hiking trails from here to Bhaktapur that passes through quaint villages.