KATHMANDU, DEC 18 - If a long vacation isn’t within reach for you, the outskirts of the Valley abound with options for a short day-trip. We list a few here:
Banepa is just outside the Valley, 29 kilometres from Kathmandu, and was once a significant point on the trade route to Tibet. There are squares and laneways to explore in the older northwest section, as well as the Chandeshwari Temple about a kilometre northeast, which boasts some brilliant reliefs and frescos. The ghats nearby are also worth a visit.
A classic Newari village dating back to the 16th century, Bungamati is 10 kilometres from the city, and is characterised by small streets with numerous woodcarving outlets. Woodwork is one of Bungamati’s most famous trades, and some of the pieces one can find in small shops are incredibly detailed. Visitors, however, are still scant in the area.
Changu Narayan lies atop a hill about 22 kilometres from Kathmandu. The temple was first built in the 4th century and is one of Nepal’s oldest religious shrines, boasting an intricately constructed roof depicting various deities and beautiful ancient stone sculptures from the Lichchavi period. The temples exteriors, particularly the courtyard, are just as much an eye-pleaser as are its interiors.
The view of the Himalayas from Daman have been often described as “incomparable”, where one can see the entire range from Dhaulagiri to Mount Everest from specific viewing points. Also interesting is the Shree Rikheshwar Mahadev Mandir nearby, as well as the Buddhist Monastery that lies within a little glade of trees.
Dhulikhel, only 32 kilometres from Kathmandu, is good for short day treks before heading out on longer adventures. There are views enough here if you don’t plan to go any further too—visible peaks stretch from Langtang Lirung in the east, through Dorje Lakpa to Gauri Shankar and nearby Melungtse and as far as Numbur in the east.
Kakani offers incredible glimpses of Ganesh HImal and the central and western Himalaya. The road to Kakani from the Capital—stretching 24 kilometres—is also a great one for a bike ride. Once there, one can visit the British summer villa, and army outposts, as well as the Thai Memorial Park and the Shiva Shrine.
The peaceful, beautiful Lele Valley seems a million miles from the bustle of Kathmandu and is in many ways untouched by the 21st century. You won’t find many other tourists here. Apart from touring the scenery, the main thing to head for is the Tika Bhairab, a large multicoloured painting at the confluence of two rivers.
The small town of Panauti sits at the junction of the Roshi Khola and Pungamati Khola In a valley about 36 kilometres from Kathmandu. A popular belief asserts that the entire town is built on a single piece of solid stone, making it immune to earthquakes. The village has retained much of its traditional architecture and has a number of interesting temples.
Sankhu was once an important post on the trading route between Kathmandu and Lhasa, and you can still see many signs of its former prosperity. Although many traditional aspects of Newari life continue here, the most persuasive reason to visit is the beautiful Vajrayogini Temple complex, an easy 2 kilometre walk or bicycle ride northeast of town.
Posted on: 2012-12-19 08:46