Patan Durbar Square: Lying connected to the 5 km South-East of Kathmandu Valley by Bagmati River, 459 hectares of Patan is bounded by 4 stupas built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC as recorded in history. Patan is also called Lalitpur. There are several legends attached to the origin of the term, Lalitpur. One such legend says that in ancient times Kathmandu was engulfed with severe drought and three people were assigned to summon God Red Machhendranath from Kamaru Kamachhya, a place in Assam, India, into the valley for rainfalls. Among the three people, one was a farmer named Lalit who was believed to have contributed more. When the rain finally poured into the valley, people as a sign of gratitude Sanskritized the valley after his name and the term ‘pur’ meaning township, and was finally named Lalitpur. Another tale boasts that the valley was named after king Yalamber. Patan people refer to Patan as Yala. History has it that Patan was founded in the 3rd century by the Kirat dynasty and later was modeled into perfection by Lichhavis in the sixth century followed by the Malla dynasty.
Swayambhunath: It is 3 km away from the West of Kathmandu. The ancient tale has it that thousands of years ago Swayambhunath was an island. Later a stupa was built. King Manadeva contributed to the making of the stupa in 460. After the invasions from Mughal, it was distorted and had to undergo renovation in the 14th century. King Pratap Malla in the 17th century further enhanced the architecture and also added a stairway to get to the stupa. At present, the stupa is a solid hemisphere of brick and clay, supporting a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt and has Lord Buddha’s eyes adorned on all four sides of the spire base. Buddhists regard it as the holiest place. Swayambhunath also offers a majestic view of the entire Kathmandu valley.
Boudhanath: Boudhanath epitomizes Tibetan Buddhism. It lays 8 km East of Kathmandu and was built by Licchavis King Man Dev in the 5th century A. D. Its colossal and ancient stupa is regarded as one of the world’s biggest stupa and has been built on a stepped octagonal base and inset with alcoves representing Buddha and his teachings. After the Chinese invasion in 1959, Tibetans in thousands came to this famous Buddhist Chaitya and energized the stupa. The stupa is surrounded by various temples or ‘gompas’. The atmosphere of the whole place lightens up with zest as the fragrance of incense drifts through the air. Chanting of monks and creaking of prayer wheels can be heard while strolling around the base. It is one of the prime sites for pilgrims and tourists in the country.