Twenty-six kilometres southeast of Kathmandu is the Banepa Valley, a captivating place that allures with its beautiful landscape and village sanctuaries.
Legend has it that a terrible demon, Chanda, once ruled over the valley. The local people pleaded with Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas, to free them from the monster. Parvati overpowered the demon and was given the name, Chadeshvari, Mistress of the Chanda. Thus she became one of the maternal Newar deities.
Eight kilometres south of Banepa and located between two rivers is the Newar settlement of Panauti. It is the most important historic village in the Valley. In the 13th century, Paunauti was the capital of the autonomous kingdom of Banepa and the village has retained its historic authenticity.
The village is full of rural calm. Only in September is the idyll disturbed by the 'Carriage Festival'. The shops contain all essential household goods. The transport of both goods and humans is usually done by lorry. They ply their way up and down relentlessly along the demanding terrain. The daily market also contains a good selection of products where fresh fruit and vegetables are in abundance.
Life in Nepal is dominated by religion. It is a combination of magical, mystical and spiritual ideas that are closely interwoven. Buddhists and Hindus share many of the sanctuaries as they are very tolerant and not divided as in other religions.
Each year, the fascinating Banepa Valley, set amid the Himalayas, allures thousands of visitors with its impressive mountain landscape, ancient culture and the deep mystical religious faith of its people that is still very much alive today.