The Durbar Square,UNESCO World Heritage site, is considered the heart of the old town. It has been in active use since 1000 AD.
Here people continue to live in the "old ways," women still spending hours staying in line to get water from the water well.
The streets are lined up with shops selling Kashmir shawl, silk, hand made paper and many other things.
The ruins, palaces and temples, are monumental.
People who live there and and the visitors from around the world mingle among the ruins as a matter of fact, making this ancient place part of the present life, keeping the past alive.
Another water well. While women stand in line, they often chant or socialize.
Manufacturers of Durbar Square are master wood-craftsmen, transmitting their craft from generation to generation. They carve the wood so skilfully that it looks like lattice or lace.
Powerful mythical animals, like this lion, are placed as guardians at the entrances of the temples and palaces.
Another impressive site is The Great Stupa of Boudhanath, one of the largest stupas in the world. The Boudhanath neighborhood is home to many Tibetan and Sherpas refugees who have built homes, shops and restaurants around it giving it a Himalayan feel. This is the most frequented site for all Buddhists living in Nepal. There are scores of pilgrims circumambulating (walking around the stupa in a clockwise fashion) and chanting.
On each side of the stupa is painted a face with eyes looking in the four directions. They symbolize the eyes of the Buddha looking at the world and seeing it for what it really is. There is the third eye, in the middle of the forehead, symbolizing the divine power of God. In the middle of the face is a symbol that could be interpreted as the nose but it is also the Nepali symbol for number "one," which for Buddhists represents the one and only way out of suffering in life--following the Buddhist path.
Another important site is Swayambhu. It is believed that the history of the Kathmandu Valley begins with Swayambhu, a sacred spiritual site dating from the fifth century AD. It is believed that the site was chosen by the Bodhisattva Manjusri who marveled at the beauty of a lotus flower he saw growing in the lake that used to be here. The stupa and the temples around it have been built, neglected, rebuilt, destroyed in 1349 by a Muslim invasion and built again over the centuries.
Here is a panoramic view of the sacred mountain.
There are also many stands selling trinkets.
A beautiful Buddha statue dating few centuries ago. Right next to it, a contemporary painter selling his work.
The site is also the home of many wild monkeys who lived here for centuries. They are very playful with each other but don't appreciate the interference of tourists. For our safety, we followed a well known tourist rule: admire but don't touch.
I hope seeing these pictures rekindles your spirit of adventure and places Kathmandu on your map of interesting places to see, smell, taste--be there and experience it.