Situated at an elevation of 6,500 feet above sea level and 25 kilometres away from Kathmandu City is hilly Kakani, surrounded by innumerable terraced fields. Short treks are possible to and from this town. This picturesque holiday resort provides the visitor with enchanting views of the Himalayan peaks especially those of the Ganesh Himal massif.
There are various places around the edge of Kathmandu Valley that offer great mountain views. Nagarkot is one of them. Situated at an altitude of 2175m and just 32 km east of Kathmandu, it offers panoramic views of the Himalayas. On a clear day, most of the major peaks of the eastern Himalayas, including the one and only Everest, can be seen from there. Mountain watchers make their way up to the village, stay overnight in one of lodges or hotels and then awake at the crack of dawn to take in the magnificence of the sunrise over the Himalayas.
En route to Dakshinkali, situated 9 km southwest of Kathmandu, this place is famous for its gorge, said to have been cut by the god Manjushree to drain the water from the Kathmandu Valley which was at that time a lake. There is a small but picturesque temple of Adinath on the top of a hill. From this point one has a superb view of snowclad mountain peaks.
Godavari lies 10 km southeast of Patan. It boasts the only Botanical Gardens in Nepal and is rich in natural beauty. It also has a fish hatchery and a marble quarry. Godavarikunda, Nau Dhara and a Buddhist Monastery are some of the additional attractions there. A special festival, Godavri Kunda, is celebrated once every twelve years in this quaint hill town.
Pharping and Dakshinkali
Both these places are well known Hindu pilgrimage sites situated in the lovely countryside approximately 25 km south-west of Kathmandu. The Dashinkali Temple, situated admidst green pinewood, houses the mighty mother Hindu goddess, Kali. Animal sacrifies are made to the deity every Tuesday and Saturday to appease her. The site is an hour's scenic drive from Kathmandu City. Magnificent views of the surrounding landscape can be had from there.
This lovely game sanctuary also known as Gokarna Safari Park, lies about 10 km northeast of Kathmandu. It is situated on the bank of the river Bagmati. Wild animals such as spotted deer and black buck can be seen in the sanctuary. An entrance fee is charged. On the northern side of Gokarna, on the way to Sundarijal, is the pagoda-style temple of Gokarnashwor Mahadev which stands on the edge of one of the Bagmati's numerous gorges.
This holy site is located at base of Shiva Parvati Hill, about 8 km north of Kathmandu. It houses a colossal stone carving of Lord Vishnu reclining on a bed of snakes, set in the middle of a small pond. The cleverly sculpted edifice gives the impression of the deity floating on the water.
Kirtipur is a small town surmounting a hill, 8 km southwest of Kathmandu. This historic site has many attractions like old shrines, temples and quaint old houses. Some of the folk, dressed in traditional garb, can be observed working on their looms. Sankhu This is a typical Newari town with many fine old buildings and temples. Beyond the village, up a long flight of stone steps, is Bajrayogini, a historic temple with a beautiful view of the local surroundings.
This ancient town is situated 32 km east of Kathmandu on the side of the Arniko Rajmarga (Kathmandu-Kodari Highway). It is a township noted for its scenic beauty. The views that can be had from it range from snowy mountains like Karyolung in the east to Himchuli in the west. Between Kathmandu and Dhulikhel there is another medieval township called Banepa. Dhulikhel is connected to Kathmandu by public transportation such as buses and taxis. Buses bound for this resort town depart from the Old Bus Park in Kathmandu regularly.
Nestled in a peaceful valley roughly 6 kilometers south of Banepa is the small, beautiful town of Panauti. This rural hamlet is relatively untouched by the hand of modern development. Many festivals of the indigenous Newars are held here in the precious, ages-old tradition. The town has a number of interesting temples, one of which is perhaps the oldest in Nepal. Furthermore, it is famous for the magnificent woodcarvings that can be found there.
Situated on a hill just above Panauti is an authentic Buddhist shrine which the Newars call ‘Namra Bhagawan’. The stupa is highly revered by both Nepalese and Tibetan Buddhists. The serene surrounding woods prove to be an ideal spot for spiritual meditation. The forest is believed to be the exact location where the late King Mahastawa (one of the many reincarnations of Buddha) sacrificed his own flesh for the sake of a dying tigress and her hungry cubs.