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Two delightful, but rather different places close to one another in the Kathmandu Valley that can be easily visited together as part of a day excursion from Kathmandu.
Even better, you can readily stay at one location and trek to the other, or form a mini-Kathmandu Valley trek over 2-3 days (depends whether you want to walk fast or slowly, slowly) and include Dhulikel as well. The walks between the three are quite short, around 3-4 hours at most, which means that there's really no reason to hurry. You might never pass by this way again. So, take your time and make the most of what you may come across along the way.
Or if you prefer, overnight at both Namobuddha and Panauti, transfer beween each and explore the delights of each place in-depth.
Whatever you choose, you'll find the rural heart of the Kathmandu Valley and a bucolic landscape of organic farmsteads and 'off the beaten track' traditional villages of the mostly Tamang people.
Namobuddha is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal. The golden-roofed Thrangu Tashi Yangste Monastery dominates Namobuddha and occupies an inspiring hill-top location. There are around 250 monks at the monastery. The Stupa of Namobuddha itself along with Bodnath and Swayambunath in Kathmandu form the three principle Buddhist sites in Nepal. Below the monastery are terraced hillsides primarily growing mustard, millet and rice.
Panauti is about 7 miles from Namobuddha (we did say the walking was short) and is a quiet backwater Newari farming town with some very nice Hindu temples. One of which is said to be the oldest in Nepal. The main point about visiting (or staying) in Panauti is that is by and large unchanged, has a very pleasant valley location and lovely surrounding countryside. It is simply a nice place to be and to gently explore without being surrounded by hundreds of other tourists. Panauti is very much a real cultural experience and affords a great opportunity to be able to take your time and interact with the friendly local people.
Certainly combining Namobuddha and Panauti (however you choose to do so) together will allow you to be able to experience both the Buddhist and Hindu sides of Nepal, sometimes contrasting, sometimes similar, but always able to exist in harmony with one another and within a picturesque landscpe too.
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