Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is set is the picturesque background of the Himalayas. Kathmandu is the largest city of the Kathmandu Valley and is a city of around one million people and all around the city of Kathmandu, there are many villages set in natural surroundings. The city is the political, social, cultural and commercial center of the people of Nepal called Nepalese. The city has many ancient shrines devoted to Hindus and Buddhists. a cultural and social center of Nepal for last several centuries. In a sense, Kathmandu apart from the proper Kathmandu itself, encompasses within its confines two more ancient cities, Patan and Bhaktapur.
Although for a new visitor the city may look highly strange with teeming crowds, pollution and noise, the city has many wonders to offer the visitors. Many cobbled streets would lead you to some of the unique architectural structures and some of them are really awesome. The city also serves as a point from where you may take many trips and excursions to go deeper into the recesses of the Himalayas. In the city itself, you may also find many shops selling curios and sometimes even a stall on a corner of the pavement may yield a fascinating buy.
Hotels and lodging
The neighborhood of Thamel is Kathmandu's primary "traveler's ghetto", packed with guest houses, restaurants, shops, and bookstores, catering to tourists. Another neighborhood of growing popularity is Jhamel, a name for Jhamsikhel coined to rhyme with Thamel. Jhochhen Tol, also known as Freak Street, is Kathmandu's original traveler's haunt, made popular by the hippies of the 1960s and 1970s; it remains a popular alternative to Thamel. Asan is a bazaar and ceremonial square on the old trade route to Tibet, and provides a fine example of a traditional neighborhood. With the opening of the tourist industry after the change in the political scenario of Nepal in 1950, the hotel industry drastically improved. Now Kathmandu boasts several luxury hotels like Hyatt Regency, Hotel Shanker , Hotel Yak & Yeti, The Everest Hotel, Hotel Radisson, Hotel De L'Annapurna, The Malla Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel.
Although a little difficult to do so, walking around for few hours in Kathmandu may give you an experience of the life of the local people. The streets shall be crowded but would offer a live experience of the people and the place. In case, you feel that you have done enough and experienced sufficiently, you may explore Durbar Square, a place which has been declared by the UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site. The Square is a grand complex, built over many centuries from the 12th century until 18th century. There are many old and new structures, with intricate carvings. Two Stone Lions guard the gate of the Old Royal Palace, and inside the Palace there is a stone carvings in fifteen different languages. All the inscriptions are yet to be deciphered and the legend states that once all the inscriptions are deciphered, milk shall flow from the spout below the inscriptions. There is also a temple called the Kasthamandap Temple, believed to be carved out of a single tree. Kastha means in Nepali and Sanskrit languages wood and Kasthamandam means a wooden pavilion. It is the oldest structure in the city and many believe that the city of Kathamandu derives its name from Kasthamandap.
Swayambhunath Stupa has become a symbol of Kathmandu. It is also a World Heritage Site, and from this Stupa (religious tower) 100s of many coloured flags fluter from the Stupa, one of the holiest places of the Buddhists. The legend states that Kathmandu Valley was once submerges with water, the water got drained out, and the beautiful valley emerged and a lotus flower was found. The divine force transformed the lotus flower into a hillock and the shining divine force stayed in the valley in the form of Stupa. The legend apart, the place is always full of scores of visitors and Buddhist monks. The Stupa complex has many statues in Buddhist and Hindu traditions and pilgrims of both the faiths, and visitors of all faiths come here to make the place representative of Nepal's cultural milieu of many religions and faiths
You may make many short and long trips from Kathmandu. Shorter trips around the city may be taken to see the following places:
- Bhaktapur (22 km):
- Bouddhanath Stupa:
- Changu Narayan Temple:
Shopping in Kathmandu is an exclusive experience which you would cherish for long. On the one side, you have the choice of selecting niche items from big emporiums and shops; and on the other side, you have the option of haggling and bargaining with stall owners selling their wares on the pavements. You may buy antique pieces, jewelries, engravings and sculptures of brass and bronze and other metals, locally hand-weaved clothes and Nepalese handicrafts. In case, you buy antiques, you will require approval from the Department of Archeology (Government of Nepal) to take out that particular antiques out of Nepal. In Patan, there is a big colony of traditional craftsmen of Nepal, and during your visit to Patna you may watch them work, see their products and also indulge in shopping.
Maps and transportation
Getting to Kathmandu
Practical information and resources
- Currency: Rupee (NPR)
- Time Zone: NPT (UTC+5:45)
- Language: Major language is Nepali, but there are many other local dialects. In many parts of the country people speak and understand Hindi. In slightly bigger places, you may manage with Simple English.
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