Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal, located at an elevation of 1,324 meters above sea level. It is world’s finest historical, cultural and artistic city known as “Nepal Mandala”, “Kantipur” in olden days.
Kathmandu was known as “Nepa” or “Nepal” in the past before unification of Nepal. Even today in rural areas Kathmandu valley is known as Nepal among old generation. After unification of Nepal it became the capital city of Nepal. Aadhikabi Bhanubhakta Acharya, the great poet of Nepal has mentioned Kathmandu as Kantipur Nagari.
There is an interesting fact regarding name of Kathmandu. It comes from Kasthamandap, kastha means “wood” and mandap means “pavilion” in Sanskrit language. Kasthamandap which also known as Maru Satta in Nepalbhasa is located at Kathmandu Durbar Square. It is three-storey structure made entirely of wood without using iron nails and all the timber used to build the pagoda was obtained from a single big tree.
Kathmandu is a historic city with amazing architecture which showcase the skills of the Newa artisans of centuries ago. Kathmandu is blessed by the Living Goddess Kumari. Kathmandu is now a hub for travelers. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains like Phulchoki, Shivapuri, Nagarjun and Chandragiri. During winter you can see amazing view of mountains and hills from rooftop. For sunrise view place name Nagarkot is very popular.
Kathmandu is the arrival point for most with the guests in Nepal. Kathmandu town is the biggest in Nepal and it is surrounded by green hills all over. You will observe the exciting view of the magnificent and glorious ancient temples. Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan each has their own distinctive character. Thee three cities altogether is known as the Kathmandu Valley. It is the city of temples, art, culture, architecture and festivals.
When exploring the capital city, along with the extraordinary aspects of Kathmandu Durbar Square, you will see a sequence of shrines of the ancient times. Kathmandu valley comprises of seven UNESCO world heritage sites. Swayambhunath which is worshiped by both the Buddhists and the Hindus. Pashupatinath, one of the most sacred temples in Nepal. Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in the world.
Choosing to have a tour to Kathmandu Valley will let you visit cities like Patan and Bhaktapur, travel around old palaces and temples; witness the spectacular mountain views and surrounds of terraced fields and the charm of various cultural groups and villages of Nepal. Changu Narayan temple, the oldest temple in the Kathmandu valley and the route to Changu Narayan passes through small villages and farmlands. Nagarkot lying 32 kilometers east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2,175 m, beautiful sunrise and sunset views over the major peaks of eastern Nepal Himalayas.
Since 1985, it has been home to the headquarters of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).
Things to see in Kathmandu
Nagpokhari (It is a pond), Ranipokhari, Thamel, Garden of Dreams, Mahankal and Sankata temple, Tudikhel, Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, Mhepy temple, Buddhanilkantha, Balaju park, Tapoban, Jamacho hike, Tokha chaur, Tarkeshwor, Jhor waterfall (popular for waterfall during rainy season and shiva temple inside cave), Narayanhiti Palace Museum, Dharahara, Janabahal.
UNESCO world heritage sites
Durbar Square, world heritage sites, palace of Malla kings. There you can also visit museum. The old royal courtyards, city center’s, temple grounds and general meeting places dating from the Malla era. All 15th and 16th century stuff. There’s three of them, one in Kathmandu, on in Patan and one in Bhaktapur.
swayambhunath stupa is the important center of Buddhism to the people around the globe, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It lies about 8 km to the east of downtown Kathmandu, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pashupatinath means Protector and Lord of all animals, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Changu Narayan Temple
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site Changu Narayan Temple is a two-story pagoda style temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Freak Street is located to the South of Kathmandu Durbar Square, which is a small street. Once upon a time in Kathmandu, this tourist place near durbar square was a heaven for the hippie. It was the hippie trail of 1960 and 1970’s. This is no less than any other ordinary street in Kathmandu but it has got a good share of history and heritage attached to it. You can find a number of restaurants, tattoo shops, handicraft shops, coffee and residences by the side of this road.
National Museum of Nepal
Close to Swayambhunath, this National Museum has some of the most interesting treasures on display, which makes Chhauni Museum a tourist place in Kathmandu worth a visit. You will see Judda Art Gallery which is home to exquisite metal, terracotta, stone statues of Nepali deities, manuscripts, leather cannons and there are fabulous cloth paintings as well. This place has a statue over 1800 years old, discovered in 1992.
Located for the southwest of Kathmandu, Daman presents the visitors with possibly the most lavish see through the Himalayas. It truly is situated at an altitude of about 2,322 m.
Kathesimbhu Stupa (Shree gha)
Kathesimbhu Stupa is the 17th century rendition of the renowned Swayambhunath temple. It is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Kathmandu, located near Thamel. This stupa was built using the left over materials from Swayambhunath temple complex. It is set in a hidden courtyard, surrounded by smaller stupas, engravings and statutes. In the northwestern corner of the courtyard there’s a beautiful pagoda dedicated to Hariti, the goddess of smallpox. This place is open for public entire day throughout the week and there is no admission charges for entry into the stupa complex. People also mispronounce this place as shegal.
Seto Machindranath Temple
Seto Machindranath Temple is a Buddhist temple in Kathmandu that is situated in Jana Bahal. As per the belief, the temple was constructed around the 10th century and is home to the idol of Seto Machindranath who is also known as Janabaha Dyo. Best time to visit this place would be in the month of Chaitra because this time you’ll see three day long procession festival. Timing: 5:00 AM – 7:00 PM.
Popular places in Kathmandu
Hiking in Kathmandu and near by
Religious sites in Kathmandu
Kathmandu lies within 27°27′ to 27°49′ north latitude and 85°32′ east longitude. The total are of Kathmandu is 545 sq km.
Geographically, Kathmandu can be categorized into two regions:
- Hilly region: Budhanilkantha, Changragiri, Nagarjun, Shivapuri, Dahachowk and The Mahabharat range.
- Valley region: The plain area between the Bagmati river and Manohara river.
Surrounded through the green hills, Kathmandu Valley is about twenty five km from east to west and 20 km from north to south. All the rivers drain in the direction of the center with the valley and join the Bagmati river.
The Kathmandu Valley has the nice climate the majority of the year. Even though there are actually forests, snow is unheard of as well as the monsoons are nowhere close to. Between October and March it can grow to be fairly chilly at evening as well as the days turn into brief, although its sunny and warm among mid-morning and afternoon.
Spring in Kathmandu is mild and pleasant. March starts with cooler temperatures, while April and May are warmer. Average daytime temperatures range from 20°C (68°F) to 35°C (95°F), while nighttime temperatures can drop to around 10°C (50°F). Spring to early summer is the best time to visit Kathmandu for hiking and sightseeing.
The monsoon season begins from June to August and receives heavy rainfall, which can lead to occasional floods. Outdoor activities are less popular during monsoon season but waterfalls and forests are beautiful during clear skies. Waterfalls near kathmandu are crowded during clear days. There are popular waterfalls like Jhor, Sundaijal waterfall, Mohini jharana etc.
Autumn is considered the best time to visit Kathmandu from September to November. The weather is mild, average daytime temperatures range from 20°C (68°F) to 25°C (77°F), while nights can be cooler, around 10°C (50°F). During autumn the weather is mild, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures. This is a pleasant season ideal for hiking and trekking. It is also the peak tourist season in Nepal.
Winter(December to February) in Kathmandu has a pleasant climate. Daytime temperatures range from 15°C (59°F) to 20°C (68°F). During the winter season temperature does not go down below freezing point in Kathmandu. Winter in Kathmandu has a pleasant climate. Clear skies are common during this season, making it suitable for sightseeing and cultural exploration.
Still today, Newars kind the biggest single group within the valley as well as in smaller cities and villages. Bahuns, Tamangs and Chettris live to the bordering hills. Folks residing in Kathmandu Valley are largely Hindus and Buddhist and they are incredibly significantly connected to each and every others religion. People today living right here speak Newari and Nepali mostly. In Kathmandu you can find people from all around Nepal and also you’ll find Indian people involved in different business. Because of open border you’ll find many Indians in Nepal and also Nepalese people in many parts of India. India and Nepal has similar culture, religion and lifestyle.
Bagmati: The origin of Bagmati is Bagdwar in Shivapuri hill. It is located at 2650 m from the sea level. Holy river Bagmati is the longest river in Kathmandu. Salmati and nagmati river meets near Sundarijal and through Gokarna it flows by the Pashupatinath temple.
Bishnumati: Bisnumati River originates at Tokha on Shivapuri Mountain. It lies at the north of Kathmandu and flows through the western part of Kathmandu city along with Sobha Baghwati, Kankeshowri temple.
Manohara: This fiver flows from Thule lek in Sankhu and it is the border between Kathmandu and Bhaktapur.
Small lakes: Tau daha, Indra daha of Dahachowk etc.
The Kathmandu Valley Trek
A superb short spring trek but with more distant and at times hazy mountain views. However, rhododendrons and other spring flowers are in bloom and the trek offers a fine cross section of village, culture and scenic beauty with excellent views over the foothills to the north and back into the beautiful Kathmandu Valley stretched out far below to the south. The sacred area of Shivapuri is visited before descending back into the valley via a Buddhist monastery and reaching the valley floor at the road head at Buddhanilkantha which has the temple of the reclining Vishnu. From here it takes half an hour’s drive back to Kathmandu.
North of Kathmandu
This route goes from Langtang khola–one of the world’s most beautiful valleys – to the Langtang and Jugal Himal with their individual towering peak. Marvelous autumn trekking with excellent mountain view and one of the best area for spring flowers and bird-life .Although Langtang valley can be very cold in January-February with the Gasinkund pass closed Helambu is good all year round and affords good area for short treks into the Sherpa villages.
Langtang / Gosainkund / Helambu
Treks to these areas start from Dunche after a five hour drive from Kathmandu. Initially the route follows the Trishuli river north before turning east and dropping into the narrow steep valley and then up again into the wide alpine valley of Langtang. On top of the valley lies the Kyanjin Gompa and is an ideal location for day walks to the spectacular glaciers falling from Langtang Lirung or the Langsisa glacier. Good wildlife such as the Himalayan thar, musk deer, the rare lesser panda and snow leopard. The holy lakes of Gosainkund and the Sherpa villages are visited on the return journey.
This trek explores the area north of Kathmandu. This picturesque area is inhabited by farming Buddhist Sherpas and is littered by mani walls, prayer flags, chortens and a gompa at Tharkegyang Ideal for trekkers looking for a taste of diversity in culture. Fine mountain views, though a bit distant.
Popular things of Kathmandu
Dress: Haku patashi: It is traditional dress of Newa people. It is black saree with red border.
Meat: Choila and Kachila: People of Kathmandu mostly eats buffalo meat. There are many varities in buffalo mean among them choila and kachila are most popular. Choila is spiced grilled buffalo meat with lots of chilly which is best for breakfast, dinner, lunch, while drinking alcohol. Choila with beaten rice is very popular in Nepali community but it’s not sure that foreigners will like it as Choila is too hot, beaten rice is hard and dry. Another popular meat is Kachila. It is uncooked meat mixed with spices. It is eaten uncooked. It sounds something odd and unhealthy but is very tasty. It is more better when taken with bara or with rice beer. Raw meat may be healthy if buffalo is health, don’t know much about science, it’s my personal opinion. Beside these two items there are many others made from buffalo meat like daykla, bhutan, mana choila, sapu mhicha, chula, takha la, sannya khuna and also hie made after steaming certain portion of buffalo blood.
How to reach Kathmandu?
By air: Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Gautam Buddha international airport is the international airports in Nepal.
By road: Travelers can also reach Kathmandu from India and China via road. You can take the train from Jainagar in India to Janakpur in Nepal. Janakpur is popular for janaki temple and from there you can reach Kathmandu by bus, car, jeep.
Hiking in Nepal
Waterfalls in Nepal
Lakes and ponds in Nepal
Mountains of Nepal
National parks of Nepal
Temples in Nepal