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An "escape from Kathmandu" and the urban sprawl into the rurality of the delightful Kathmandu Valley, both Namobuddha and Panauti could be considered as "off the beaten track" too. Namobuddha is a sacred Buddhist site and Panauti is a Hindu farming town and visiting both is great way of appreciating the harmony that co-exists between Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal. Not only that there's wonderful contrasting architecture, authentic culture and a rich heritage to enjoy. And the bucolic charm of the countryside all adds to the flavour of an amazing day of discovery, spirituality and natural beauty.
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PANAUTI is a real treasure trove of Newari art and architecture Panauti has one of the only two known pre-Malla structures, the Indreshwar Temple, reputed to be the oldest in Nepal, as well as many more ornate and fascinating temples and shrines. Exquisite wood carved roof structures just seem to be everywhere. There's also a small cremation ghat where the Pungmati and Roshi rivers merge. As you wander around this charming town you'll discover brick-paved streets, intricately carved resthouses, stupas and stone water taps. Traditional gold and silversmiths may also be seen at work. But, Panauti is also a farming town and is surrounded by terraced fields and orchards, a great insight into agricultural practices, where mechanisation has had little impact.
According to legend Buddha sacrificed his body to let a starving tigress feed her cubs here and Namobuddha (Hail to the Buddha) has since for centuries been a sacred site for pilgrims. A giant prayer wheel can be seen by the main stupa and the colourful prayer flags that abound here all add to the serenity. There are pretty good vieews of the Himalayas too. A visit to the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery is a must. Home to around 250 monks, this beautifully decorated Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in the Karma Kagyu tradition is a haven of peace and tranquility. You don't need to be spiritual to appreciate just how special Namobuddha is. But, pretty much most people who come here "feel" something.
Panauti Images - Click to enlarge
Namobuddha Images - Click to enlarge