Kathmandu is the capital and largest city of Nepal with a population of around 2.5 million. Kathmandu, also known as the city of temples, with one of the oldest Pagodas known as Pashupatinath Temple, stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 feet) above sea level in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley in central Nepal. The valley is historically termed as “Nepal Mandala” and has been the home of Newar people, a cosmopolitan urban civilization in the Himalayas foothills. The city was the royal capital of the Kingdom of Nepal and hosts palaces, mansions and gardens of the Nepalese aristocracy. It has been home to the headquarters of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) since 1985.
Kathmandu is and has been for many years the centre of Nepal’s history, art, culture, and economy. It has a multi-ethnic population within a Hindu and Buddhist majority.Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Tourism is an important part of the economy. In 2013, Kathmandu was ranked third among the top ten upcoming travel destinations in the world by TripAdvisor, and ranked first in Asia.
The city is the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas and home to several world heritage sites: Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and Pashupatinath.
How to reach Kathmandu,Nepal
Kathmandu, capital city, has the one and only international airport, Tribhubhan International Airport (TIA) which has international flights from India, China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and many other countries.
Places to visit in Kathmandu
1. Historic Durbar Square
Kathmandu’s ancient old city is set around the Durbar Square at Basantapur, south of Thamel, where the royal family lived until the 19th century. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. In addition to the Royal Palace (Hanuman Dhoka), there are many Hindu and Buddhist temples dating as far back as the 12th century. Sadly, a huge earthquake destroyed most of the southern section of temples and badly damaged other buildings, including the palace, in 2015
Swayambhunath, Nepal’s famous Buddhist temple, sits atop a hill to the west of Kathmandu city. It’s reached by a tiring walk up a flight of 365 stone steps. It was founded in the beginning of the 5th century and is the oldest of its kind in Nepal.
Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath draws devotees from the Indian subcontinent along with a motley collection of painted sadhus (Hindu ascetics). Ancient Hindu rituals, astonishing and unchanged by time, are practiced inside the temple complex. Enter, and you’ll get an uncensored (and confronting) perspective of life, death and reincarnation including the open-air cremation of bodies on funeral pyres along the river bank.
Boudhanath is the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal. It’s an important center of Tibetan Buddhism and culture, as well as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the sun sets, the Tibetan community comes out to circumambulate the stupa, accompanied by the gentle chanting of the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum and spinning of prayer wheels.Early mornings and evenings are the best times to visit.
6. Chandragiri hills
Things to do in Kathmandu
- Visit darbur squares – Basantapur, Bhaktapur and Patan
- Visit temples – Pashupatinath, Baudhanath, Swayambhunath
- Roam and shopping at Thamel
- Enjoy peace and beauty of hills around Kathmandu- Dhulikhel, Chandragiri