The capital and a large valley in the high plateaus in central Nepal, at an altitude of 1,400 meters (4,600 feet). The city is one of the oldest and continuously inhabited places in world the valley was historically called the Nepal mandala which has been the home of the Newar people and their rich culture. It is a place where citizens saw and receive the kings one after another who ruled Nepal.
Historically the city was the royal capital of the kingdom of Nepal and hosts palaces, mansions, and gardens of the Nepalese aristocracy.
Kathmandu is and has been for many years the center of Nepal’s history, art, culture and economy. It has a multi-ethnic population within Hindu and Buddhist are major. 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 the city. The city is considered the gateway to the Nepelese Himalaya and is home to several world Heritage site the Durbar Squares and holy places like Swyambhunath Boudhanath and the holy amongst all Pashupatinath.
Best things to do in Kathmandu
1. Boudhanath Stupa
The Boudhanath Stupa has stood as a symbol of Buddhist faith for hundreds of years, towering over the nearby town as a huge mandala of tranquility and beauty as well as enormous eyes.
Built sometime around 14th century this is one of the largest stupa in Nepal. Once here make sure to wander around where place offers a Buddhist culture of Nepal with a Tibetan touch. This is a beautiful stupa that one got to see in Kathmandu. Apart from culture, the richness in food is also seen where you will find small café to a street side shops which offers the Tibetan delicacy like dumping, bao buns and many more.
Boudha is undoubtedly Kathmandu’s cultural center, and because it is a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage place for Tibetans, it seems very different from the other, Hindu-dominated areas of Nepal.
That indicates that the area is surrounded by, stunning Buddhist monasteries, and traditional Tibetan Thang-ka paintings. Additionally, there are exciting festivals held all year long that are worth the trip. However, Boudha’s streets are always bustling with enthusiasm, even if you don’t visit during festival season (usually from February to April). Any way boudha’s street are always lively and you could find the excitement around every corner.
Turning right out of the Stupa’s back door will take you to the twisting Phulbari Street, a lively shopping area that will make you forget the tranquility of the Stupa just a few steps away. You may find anything on this street, from western-style apparel and bags to traditional Tibetan artwork like Thang-ka paintings and wooden masks.
Of course, Thang-ka paintings, a traditional Tibetan style of painting with deities or mandalas, are among the most favorite purchase from Phulbari Street. Statues, room decorations, and prayer flags are other are also available.
2. Swyambhunath Stupa:
A beautiful sculptural garden of religious monuments encircles the large stupa on all sides. Also known as monkey temple the swyambhu overlooks the panoramic view if the city where the stupa has stood as a faith and harmony with peace, for centuries with a Hindu temples in the Buddhist site. In order to safeguard the temple and people of the valley the “Bajra” is worshipped and preserved east side of temple.
The architecture of the stupa is deeply symbolic: the white dome represents the earth, while the thirteen-tiered, tower-like shape at the top symbolizes the 13 degrees to nirvana. The nose-like squiggle underneath the piercing eyes is simply the Nepali range ek (one), signifying harmony, and above is a 3rd eye signifying the all-seeing perception of the Buddha.
The two major festivals celebrated are Buddha Jayanti and Losar. During this occasions many pilgrims roams around the temple for a number of times as the priest creates a lotus sample on the stupa with saffron colored paint as the stupa is believed as the self-evolved stupa from lotus flower.
3. The Hindu Temple of Pashupati Nath:
Located on banks of sacred Bagmati River this temple is Nepal’s most respected Hindu temple. With its incredible architectural beauty the temple stands as an image of religion, tradition and way of life. The stunning rich ornamented pagoda styled temple home to the sacred linga or halilic image of Lord Shiva.
The main complex is only open to Hindu whereas non Hindu need to see by observing from the available terrace east across the Bagmati river. As a sign of tradition, leather goods such as shoes, belts and cameras are strictly prohibited inside the temple complex.
The most important festival held here is Shivaratri (the night brought by god himself). Believers and pilgrims near and far from Nepal and India and sadhu (people with long curly hairs covered in ashes) and asceticisms flock to temple and have a sacred Shiva linga darsan (glimpse). The other holy occasion is known as Teej (a festival solely celebrated by Hindu women in mid-September)
4. Namo Buddha Stupa:
Located within the few kilometers away from hustle and crazy traffic of Kathmandu valley, Dhulikhel is the starting point for a trip to Namo Buddha. Some hundred steps later and you’ll have reached a statue of Buddha. Continuing the climb, you may discover a small temple dedicated to Shiva. This shows the religious peace and harmony amongst the religion and its groups.
The drive will take you to the center of the Nepalese countryside and give you a glimpse of the way the people live there. You can see women making clothes on the sewing machine installed outside! You will see the children attending classes and singing together. Goats and chickens roam freely between women and children. The dwelling gives way to the rice fields and the land opens in front of you. On a clear day, you can even see the fascinating sight of the Himalayas. As you get used to your eyes, you can see the hills of Buddha. Before you get there, you’ll arrive at a small place above the stupa. It’s an ideal place to refresh while watching others live their daily lives. Monks, children and animals all do their jobs, so they draw impressive pictures.
Follow a short but steep uphill to reach Namobudda. The scenery is spectacular. Namobudda is a magnificent stupa at the top of the hill, surrounded by hundreds of prayer flags. When the breeze blows, they send religious compliments. Each color of the flag represents elements such as fire, water, earth and sky.
Thousands of believers both Buddhist and Hindu gather here. Tourist are also fascinated by the artistic monasteries and the idol “tiger sacrifice” around the hills famous for watching sunrises and sunset. Namo Buddha has reasonable accommodation options and is easily accessible from Kathmandu.
5. Kathmandu Durbar Square:
The place where they saw and received the kings one after another when they sat and ruled Nepal long ago. There, a new ruler was crowned while the stable beats of drums and trumpets filled the place. Royal Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the three Durbar Squares in the country. To date, this place remains the most notable heritage of traditional Kathmandu architecture. Basantapur Square, the main Durbar Square on the west side, and another part of Durbar Square that houses the entrance to Hanumandoka are loosely connected to form the Durbar Square area.
A lot of activities can be done, from the traditional sightseeing with rich architectural monuments to the place where and only living goddess “Kumari” resides. Followed by a lot of small and local eatery where a taste of mouthwatering newari cuisine is presented with a burst of flavor in every bite. Local eatery is a must try.
Coming to café and restaurant you will find a variety of cuisine including continental, Asian and a Nepalese cuisine. This is also a place where café and restaurant culture has been started.
There are lot of temples which carry their own meaning and values and each one of them have historic importance, story and beliefs. The place is an active walk way to the general public as well and lot of small business which sustain the livelihood of inhabitants and the people living in valley are seen
Usually the square area is a crowded area but during the festivals like Dashain, Indra Jatra, Machhindra nath Jatra and Gaijatra is thronged by people and especially during that time, it’s a place not to be missed despite of the crowd.
The durbar square area is the major hang out space of the people in Kathmandu valley and being there one could see the life style if the city as well. The place also offers market of hand carved mukut (face mask) in form of devil and deities. Apart from that you could see various ornaments and souvenir shops as well.
6. Patan Durbar Square:
Among the one of the oldest city in the Kathmandu valley the place is known for its best artistic heritage with the touch of Buddhism. Situated on plateau of a bagmati river city has to offer one of the elegant architectural treasure in the world. The place is full of ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples and monuments and the square is full of shrines renowned for their exquisite carvings.
Patan’s Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-see when visiting the historic Kathmandu Valley. Like the Kathmandu counterpart, Patan’s Durbar Square is in the center of the city and was once the royal palace of the King of Patan. The courtyard is a magical mix of majestic buildings, graceful courtyards and graceful tower temples. A showcase of Newar architecture at heights during King Malla’s reign.
The museum located inside the durbar square specializes in bronze statues and religious objects. The architectural and the religious aspect of Krishna mandir is too intensifying and is not to be missed.
Since the ancient times the floor of durbar square has been paved with bricks and the city is encompassed by 4 stupas at 4 corners of patan durbar square. The former royal palace is the focal point of religious and public activity.
Talking about food there is plenty of café and restaurant that offers a variety of cuisine and local eatery has the authentic taste of newari cuisine where one can feast on very reasonable rates. Honacha an old local eatery located just at back side of Krishna mandir that offers a very different view on mandir is place not to be missed during a visit to patan durbar square.
7. Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
Durbar square is a general term for a palace square of Kathmandu valley. The building of bhaktapur was considered the largest and the most magnificent of all three square at the time of independence. In older days bhaktapur durbar square had 99 courtyard but today on 15 of them remains now.
The city’s most famous for its silver bell which was hung by king Ranjit malla and was used to ring daily curfew and when goddess Taleju was worshipped which ranged every morning.
Located at eastern part of Kathmandu valley Bhaktapur is also known as khowpa. The city specialize in art and architecture and pottery. The carving done by hand in various object like wood bronze etc.s can be frequently seen.
Apart the arts the city has to offer a very distinctive cuisine and many fancy restaurants and cafe that has been opened in traditional buildings that offers the view durbar square premises. Apart from these Bhaktapur has insane jatras on particular dates like bisket jatra, Gai jatra and many more local jatras too. In comparison to all the jatras of valley Bhaktapur has crazier Jatras.
Why Kathmandu is your next destination:
Kathmandu is the gateway to enter Nepal by air, which for most foreigners is convenient. The capital city of a nation that presents an incredible natural beauty, culture of wonderful people, Although Kathmandu itself is not the high point of Nepal, it has its share of attractions. The three cities house seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The valley is also home to a plethora of other exquisite monuments, sculptures, artistic temples and magnificent artworks.
From Kathmandu, you can head out in a few different ways to discover so much in Nepal. It is where all the infrastructure is, to start your tour of Nepal. It is also affordable and safe, for most part
In order to Immerse yourself in the rich cultural and historical heritage of the Kathmandu Valley on your visit where you’ll enjoy the ability to move at your own pace through the area’s top attractions sites, such as Pashupati, Bouddha, Patan Durbar Square, Swyambhunath, and others.
Despite of every other the place is not to be missed on various festivals and jatras. Of course there will be a lot of crowds but even though there is a beauty in it. Festivals like Dashain, Tihar and Jatras like Rato macchindranath, Indra jatra, ghode jatra and many more. Each jatras have their own importance for instance according to Hindu mythology, Indra jatra is said to be a jatra where kings of god Indra comes down to earth for a particular type of flower called parijat(night jasmine) which is not available in the heaven where god resides.
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