City of temple-lined medieval squares

Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city in the country and is one of three former medieval city- states in the valley, along with Bhaktapur and Patan. It’s a bustling, busy city full of sights, sounds and smells, with lots of cars, bicycles, rickshaws and mini trucks, all hooting their horns, and the aromas of the market stalls and spices. There are many temple- lined medieval squares and jammed alleyways to explore. Kathmandu can seem fascinating, overwhelming and very tiring.   Durbar Square In the heart of the ancient city of Kathmandu, Durbar Square is a complex of beautiful temples and shrines, both Hindu and Buddhist. Most are built in a pagoda style embellished with intricately carved exteriors built between 12th and 18th century. It is here that the Kings are crowned. Until the 20th Century this was the King's residence - now it is a living museum of Nepal. (Durbar means Palace) It’s wonderful and so interesting to sit on the terraced platforms and watch the world go by. Hanuman Dhoka Kathmandu's royal palace was originally founded during the Licchavi period (4th to 8th centuries AD) but most of what you see today was constructed by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century. Visitors have access to several royal courtyards and some of its interior rooms. The Hanuman Dhoka originally housed 35 courtyards, but the 1934 earthquake reduced the palace to 10 chowks (courtyards). Swayambhunath Stupa (The Monkey Temple) The stupa was erected in honour of a monkey general who long ago brought his monkey army to the aid of a human Nepali king. Rhesus monkeys roam the grounds freely, and they have grown quite adept at grabbing the food of unwary people. Buddha's omnipresent eyes, peer over the bulge of Swayambhunath Stupa. For each festival, paint is thrown over the roof of the stupa and after the festival the rain washes it off over time)