Enjoy Kathmandu after a Mera Peak Trek
After the hard work of a Mera Peak trek – or any of our treks in Nepal – it is immensely rewarding to enjoy a day in Kathmandu, taking in some of the sights of this wonderful city and picking up some last-minute souvenirs and gifts to take home. Its myriad temples and markets are a feast for the senses, and with only a day in the city it's sometimes hard to know what to do. Everyone has their favourite spots – ours are the temples of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath and Swyambhunath.
Boudhanath Temple. Photo courtesy of S Harbert
After the rugged trail-side chortens on the Mera Peak trek, the vast chorten of Boudhanath Temple – one of the world's largest – will be a visual treat. Located about 11km (7 miles) from central Kathmandu, Boudhanath Temple lies on an old trade route between Nepal and Tibet, where it has stood for over a thousand years. In 1979 Boudhanath became a World Heritage site.
According to a legend of its creation, an old woman petitioned the local king to allow her to build a shrine to the Buddha on the site. The king granted her permission, with the caveat that she could only have as much land as she could cover with a single buffalo hide. Not one to be discouraged, this crafty old woman sliced the buffalo's hide into thin strips and laid them out in a vast circle, and the king was forced to concede this amount of land to her.
A view of Pashupatinath Temple from across the river – by lavenderstream
One of the most significant temples to Lord Shiva in the world, Pashupatinath Temple is located on the banks of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of Kathmandu. Because the site is so sacred, only Hindus are permitted to enter. Many Hindus choose the steps (ghats) on the sacred river bank to be cremated on. Non-Hindus can enter the photogenic complex surrounding the main temple, including the ghats, and there are also many colourful Sadhus to be found who will happily pose for a photo for a small fee. Alternatively you can view the temple from across the river – we definitely recommend visiting this spot if you have time while enjoying Kathmandu after a Mera Peak trek.
Swyambhunath is an ancient Buddhist complex that sits atop a hill to the west of Kathmandu. It is sometimes known as the Monkey Temple, due to the holy monkeys inhabiting some parts of the temple. The complex consists of an impressive white stupa along with a variety of shrines and temples. Like Boudhanath Temple, the stupa is topped with a golden spire on which is emblazoned the iconic eyes of the Bhudda – representations of which are visible throughout Kathmandu. Similarly, like Boudhanath Temple, Swyambhunath dates to approximately 1,500 years ago and is built on a site of spiritual significance. It is a beautiful place to amble and soak up the atmosphere – tackling the (alleged) 365 steps of the long stairway will be a breeze after completing a Mera Peak trek!