Within a 10 mile radius of Kathmandu lie no fewer than 7 separate world heritage sites, all having strong links with religion. The 3 Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur house numerous temple complexes as well as royal palaces. There is intricate work in stone and metal within palace buildings and gardens. The pagoda-like Hindu temples form the focal point for many spontaneous demonstrations of faith. They are often guarded by statues of animals on the steps. In the country areas many of the Buddhist gompas (teaching monasteries) are quite new with bright bold paintings in primary colours. The dharma wheel symbol of the 2 deer and the sun is fashioned high above the entrance. Inside and outside temples there is an overwhelming array of paintings and sculptures of gods, all of whom play a role within the religion. Skills learnt from religious work are transferred to more secular ends such as a magnificent stone column to an early king with a symbolic snake and bird above him. Finally, the Kathmandu area was inhabited by the Newari people who became famous throughout Asia for their wood-carving skills - the peacock window in a Bhaktapur street is, perhaps, the finest example. To see the photos click here.