Nepal has seen many rulers and ruling dynasties. The earliest rulers were the Kirantis who ruled from 9th century B.C. to 1st century A.D. Legends and chronicles mention that the Indian Emperor Ashoka had come to Nepal and visited Lumbini, the place where the Buddha was born, and where he erected a huge stone pillar to commemorate his visit to that spot.
The Kirants were replaced by Licchavis who, according to the earliest evidences in inscriptions of the 5th century A.D. found in the courtyard of Changunarayan temple which is about 15 km north east of Kathmandu, ruled this country from 1st century to 9th century A.D. This period is noted for the many temples and fine sculptures built around the Kathmandu valley.
The Licchavis were followed by the Thakuris, then came the Malla dynasty. The Mallas ruled focusing mainly on the Kathmandu Valley which has been the residence for most Nepali rulers from time immemorial. No other part of Nepal is as rich in cultural heritage as Kathmandu. Thanks to the exceptionally talented crafts-men, who dedicated themselves to construct the many temples and statues, we have seven world heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley itself.
In the 14th century A.D. King Jayasthiti Malla established a rigid social order. His grandson tried in every way to protect his country from suspected enemy states. Unfortunately, all his efforts were fruitless, everything went beyond his control and the country eventually divided up into 50 small feudal states including the three major ones in the valley.
Then came the Shah dynasty. King Prithvi Narayan Shah who annexed small principalities including three states in the Kathmandy Valley and unified Nepal in a single kingdom. Recognizing the threat of the British Raj in India, he dismissed European missionaries from the country and for more than a century, Nepal remained in isolation. During the mid-19th century Jung Bahadur Rana became Nepal's first prime minister to wield absolute power. The Ranas were overthrown in a democracy movement of the early 1950s.
Nepal covers a span of 147,181 sq. kilometers ranging from altitude of 70 meters to 8,848 meters. Mountains, mid hills, valleys and plains dominate the geography of landlocked Nepal that extends from the Himalayan range in the north to the Indo-Gangetic lowlands in south. Mt. Everest, the highest point of the Himalayas is in Nepal.
Physical features also include green paddy terraces, wind-swept deserts, dense forests and marshy grasslands. The country is well endowed with perennial rivers, lakes and glacial lakes that originate in the Himalayas. Twenty percent of the land in the country is used for agriculture, where 0.49 percent is used for permanent crops, mainly rice.
Climatic conditions of Nepal vary from one place to another in accordance with the geographical features. In the north summers are cool and winters severe, while in south summers are sub tropical and winters mild.
The variety in Nepal's topography provides home to wildlife like tigers, rhinos, monkeys, bears, yaks, leopards and different species of insects and birds. Nepal is a home to almost 10 percent of the world's bird species among which 500 species are found in the Kathmandu Valley.
The country has managed to preserve some endangered species of Asia in its extensive parks and protected natural habitats. The most abundant natural resource in Nepal is water. Other resources found here are quartz, timber, lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore and scenic beauty.
Eco Trek International
Eco Trek has been organizing trekking and adventure holidays since 1992. We trek all the traditional routes when requested but specialize in catering for the more adventurous travelers who prefer to move off the beaten path. We have all ready provided thousands of high quality trips to clients from all over the world. Our goal is to present you with wonderful traveling opportunities and culturally enriching adventures with minimum impact on the fragile environment. The Eco Trek crew consists of adventure leaders, naturalists, environmental journalists and trained guides and porters. With great teamwork we want to share our beautiful country with you.
A special trek we offer is the Chepang Hills Trek, located South-West of Kathmandu, close to the Indian Border. The Chepang Hills are home to the Chepang ethnic tribe and other minorities. Experience their hospitality and learn about their culture and lifestyle during this trek and enjoy the beautiful nature of the low lands and hills of the Terai.
The temple of lord Shiva : Pashupatinath is a richly ornamented pagoda with two tiered golden roof and silver doors.
Guheswari Temple : Its another historic and holy shrine dedicated to the goddess Guheswari, near Pashupatinath.
Akash Bhairav Temple : Situated in the main market avenue, called Indra Chowk, it is a three storey temple. The image of lord Akash Bhairav is displayed on the occasion of Indra Jatra, the festival of Indra, The rain God.
Hanuman Dhoka (Durbar Square) : Built between the 12th and the 18th centuries, this complex of palaces, courtyards and temples is the historic seat of royalty. It used to be the seat of ancient Malla kings of Kathmandu. The durbar Square, protected as a UNESCO World heritage site, epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people. Other than a 17th - century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages, interesting things to see here are: Taleju Temple (Built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 A.D., Kal Bhairav, the god of Destruction Nautalle Darbar, Coronation Nasal Chowk, the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of king Pratap Malla, the big bell, big drum, the Jagannath Temple and three museums including the numismatic museum and the Tribhuvan Museum. Photography is prohibited inside the museums.
Kumari Ghar : Situated in the vicinity of Hanuman Dhoka Palace is the temple of Kumari - the living Goddess, the goddess acknowledges the greetings from her balcony. With profusely carved wooden balconies and window screens, the building is simply majestic.
Kashthamandap : A temple located near the temple of kumari, from which the city of Kathmandu derives its name. Tradition as identify King Laxmi Narasingha Malla as the builder of the sixteenth century temple. As per the legends, it was constructed from the wood of a single tree.
Ashoka Vinayak : Also Known as Kathmandu Ganesh or Maru Ganesh, this small but very important temple is situated just behind the Kasthamandap.
Jaishi Dewal : Positioned on one of the main routes of the chariot festivals of Indra Jatra, Gai Jatra and other festivals, the Shiva Temple of Jaishi Dewal is famous for its erotic carvings.
Balaju (Lhuti) : Situated below the Nagarjuna hills, about 4-5 kms northwest of the city center, Balaju (Water) Garden features 22 stone water sprouts (hiti) carved in the shape of sea dragons and dating from the mid eighteenth century. Besides a Sprawling garden of stone water spouts, balaju offers religious shrines, fish ponds, and a replica of the statue of Budhanikantha.
Budhanikantha (Bhuijasi) : Situated below the shivapuri hills, Buddhanikantha is about eight km north of Kathmandu. The hub of the temple complex is remarkable colossal statue of the hindu god Vishnu reclining on the coils of a cosmic serpent. This great stone figure is one of the masterpiece of stone sculptures of Lichchavi period, and is supposed to have been built in the fifth century.
Swayambhunath (Samhengu) : Listed as a world heritage site, this is one of the world's most glorious Buddhist sites in Nepal. Its established is linked to the creation of the Kathmandu Valley out of a primordial lake. Three km west of Kathmandu this site is situated on a hillock about 77 m. above the valley. Painted on the four-sides of the spire bases are the all seeing eyes of Lord Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
Bouddhnath : (Khasti or Dew Drops) Lying some 6 km to the east of Kathmandu, this colossal and ancient stupa is one of the biggest in the world, and the largest in the valley. A world heritage site, Bouddhnath is supposed to have been built by using dew to mix the mortar as Kathmandu was reeling under a severe drought during its construction. The stupa looms 36 meters high and presents one of the most fascinating specimens of stupa design.
Changu Narayan Temple : A world heritage Site, this temple dedicated to the Hindu god vishnu, is situated on a ridge overlooking the valley, some 12 km to the east of Kathmandu city. The temple is one of the finest specimens of pagoda architecture. Exquisite wood and stone carvings are its remarkable features.