This ancient Newar town located about 30 kilometers from Kathmandu, is built at the sacred confluence of two streams, the Roshi Khola and Pungamati Khola. A third river is visible only to sages, which makes this a particularly sacred place. The confluence – the Tribeni Ghat or Khware – is the shrine area that is a famous bathing and pilgrimage site where a festival is held on the first day of the month of Magh and a month-long Mela once every 12 years (the last occurrence was in 2000). There is a large sattal or pilgrims’ house where local elders can be seen. The sattal is decorated with frescos depicting scenes from Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
Panauti used to be a major trading center with a royal palace, but is now very much a calm backwater. As well as interesting temples, there are impressive Rana mansions that have been restored. Probably the most well-preserved after Bhaktapur, Panauti is an enchanting place to explore.
The centerpiece of this charming, unspoiled village is the Indresvar Mahadev Temple dedicated to Shiva. Dating back to 1294, it is believed to be the original temple, the oldest extant example of a Newari temple and oldest pagoda in Nepal. It was restored following an earthquake in 1988.
Along the river there is a collection of more recent shrines and ghats, including an old Krishna temple, a suspension bridge leading to a recently renovated 17 th century Brahmayani Mandir dedicated to the patron goddess of Panauti and a rest house popular with old men.