April 18, 2023
The history of Kathmandu dates back to ancient times. The valley was originally inhabited by the Newar people, who established several small kingdoms in the area. The first known kingdom in the valley was the Licchavi Kingdom, which existed from the 3rd to the 7th century AD.
During the Licchavi period, the valley saw significant cultural and architectural developments. Many of the city’s famous temples and shrines were built during this period, including the Swayambhunath Stupa, which is also known as the Monkey Temple.
In the 12th century, the Malla Dynasty came to power in the valley. The Mallas ruled over the valley for over 500 years and played a significant role in shaping the city’s architecture, culture, and arts. During the Malla period, the city grew and several important structures were built, including the Hanuman Dhoka Palace and the Taleju Temple.
In the 18th century, the Shah Dynasty came to power in Nepal and established Kathmandu as the capital of the country. The Shahs ruled Nepal for over 200 years, and during this period, the city underwent significant modernization and development.
In 2015, the city was hit by a devastating earthquake that caused significant damage to several of the city’s historical landmarks and structures. Since then, the city has been undergoing a process of restoration and reconstruction.
Today, Kathmandu is a vibrant city that is rich in history, culture, and tradition. Its unique blend of ancient and modern architecture, along with its bustling markets, temples, and shrines, make it a popular tourist destination for visitors from around the world.
Kathmandu is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Here are some of the top attractions to visit in Kathmandu:
Swayambhunath Stupa: Also known as the Monkey Temple, Swayambhunath is a Buddhist stupa and UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the most important religious sites in Kathmandu and offers stunning views of the city.
Boudhanath Stupa: Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Boudhanath is one of the largest stupas in the world and an important center of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located in the neighborhood of Boudha and is surrounded by many monasteries and shops selling Tibetan handicrafts.
Durbar Square: Located in the heart of Kathmandu, Durbar Square is a complex of palaces, temples, and shrines that date back to the Malla Dynasty. The square is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (the living goddess temple), and the Taleju Temple.
Pashupatinath Temple: This Hindu temple is one of the most sacred sites in Nepal and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located on the banks of the Bagmati River and is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists alike.
Thamel: Thamel is a popular tourist district in Kathmandu and is known for its narrow streets lined with shops, restaurants, and guesthouses. It is a great place to explore and shop for souvenirs, clothing, and handicrafts.
Garden of Dreams: This neo-classical garden is located in the heart of Kathmandu and is a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling city. It was designed in the early 20th century and features fountains, pavilions, and lush greenery.
Kathmandu Durbar Square: Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Kathmandu Durbar Square is a complex of palaces, temples, and shrines that date back to the 16th century. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kathmandu and offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture.
Narayanhiti Palace Museum: This museum is located in the former royal palace of the Shah Dynasty and offers a glimpse into the lives of Nepal’s royal family. Visitors can explore the palace’s opulent interiors, including the throne room and the private apartments of the royal family.
These are just a few of the many attractions that Kathmandu has to offer. Visitors can also explore the city’s many markets, museums, and parks, or take a day trip to nearby villages and natural attractions.
Traditional food and drinks in Kathmandu
Kathmandu offers a wide variety of traditional Nepalese dishes, as well as some dishes with Indian and Tibetan influences. Here are some of the traditional foods and drinks to try in Kathmandu:
Dal Bhat: This is the staple dish of Nepal, and it consists of lentil soup (dal) and steamed rice (bhat). It is often served with a side of vegetable curry and pickles.
Momo: Momo is a popular street food in Kathmandu, which is similar to dumplings. They are usually filled with meat or vegetables and served with a spicy dipping sauce.
Newari cuisine: The Newar people of the Kathmandu Valley have their own unique cuisine, which includes dishes like chatamari (a rice flour crepe topped with minced meat and vegetables) and bara (a lentil-based pancake).
Thukpa: This is a hearty soup that is popular in the Himalayan regions of Nepal. It is made with noodles, vegetables, and sometimes meat or tofu.
Lassi: This is a traditional Indian drink that is popular in Kathmandu. It is made with yogurt, water, and sometimes fruit or spices.
Chyang: This is a traditional Nepalese beer that is made from fermented rice. It is usually served in small glasses and has a slightly sweet taste.
Raksi: This is a traditional Nepalese distilled liquor that is made from fermented grains, such as rice or millet. It is usually served in small glasses and has a strong, fiery taste.
Butter tea: This is a traditional Tibetan drink that is popular in Kathmandu. It is made with tea, yak butter, and salt, and it has a rich, creamy taste.
These are just a few of the many traditional foods and drinks to try in Kathmandu. Visitors can also explore the city’s many restaurants and cafes, which offer a variety of international cuisines as well.
Kathmandu is surrounded by scenic hills and mountains, which offer breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding landscape. Here are some of the top scenic drives and viewpoints in and around Kathmandu:
Nagarkot: Nagarkot is a scenic hill station located about 32 kilometers east of Kathmandu. It offers panoramic views of the Himalayan range, including Mount Everest on a clear day. The drive to Nagarkot is also scenic, passing through traditional Nepalese villages and terraced fields.
Chandragiri Hills: Chandragiri Hills is a popular viewpoint located about 7 kilometers from the center of Kathmandu. It offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding hills. Visitors can take a cable car to the top of the hill or hike to the viewpoint.
Shivapuri National Park: Shivapuri National Park is a protected area located north of Kathmandu. It offers scenic drives through the lush forested hills, with views of the city and the Himalayas. There are also several hiking trails in the park that lead to scenic viewpoints.
Phulchowki Hill: Phulchowki Hill is the highest hill surrounding Kathmandu, with an elevation of 2,782 meters. The drive to the top is scenic, passing through dense forests and traditional villages. From the top, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city, the valley, and the surrounding hills.
Boudhanath Stupa: Boudhanath Stupa is one of the largest stupas in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stupa is located on the outskirts of Kathmandu and offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding hills. Visitors can also explore the vibrant Tibetan neighborhood around the stupa.
These are just a few of the many scenic drives and viewpoints in and around Kathmandu. Visitors can also explore the surrounding countryside on foot or by bike, or take a scenic flight over the Himalayas for a truly unforgettable experience.
Kathmandu is a city that is deeply rooted in its cultural heritage, with a history that dates back centuries. One of the most prominent features of the city’s cultural heritage is its ancient temples, palaces, and stupas, which reflect the rich history, traditions, and beliefs of the Nepalese people.
The city is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, and Patan Durbar Square. These sites are known for their intricate architecture, intricate carvings, and beautiful courtyards. Visitors can explore the temples and palaces, admire the stunning art and sculptures, and learn about the fascinating history of the Nepalese royal families.
In addition to the Durbar Squares, Kathmandu is also home to several other important cultural heritage sites, such as the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple, and the Boudhanath Stupa, which is one of the largest stupas in the world. These sites are important centers of religious and cultural significance for both Hindus and Buddhists.
Visiting the cultural heritage sites of Kathmandu is a great way to immerse oneself in the city’s rich cultural traditions and history. The intricate architecture, stunning art, and fascinating history of these sites are a testament to the enduring legacy of the Nepalese people and their cultural heritage.
Kathmandu is renowned for its vibrant and colorful traditional markets that offer a plethora of unique shopping opportunities. The traditional markets are an essential part of Nepalese culture and provide a platform for local artisans and traders to showcase their traditional handicrafts, souvenirs, and local goods.
One of the most popular markets in Kathmandu is the Asan Bazaar, which is a bustling market that sells everything from fresh produce to traditional clothing, jewelry, and handicrafts. It is a great place to shop for spices, herbs, and tea, as well as traditional Nepalese clothing and textiles.
Another popular market is the Thamel Market, which is a lively tourist hub and is famous for its wide range of handicrafts, souvenirs, and outdoor gear. Visitors can find everything from local handicrafts and jewelry to trekking gear and outdoor clothing. The market is also home to several restaurants and cafes, making it a great place to relax and soak up the atmosphere of Kathmandu.
Other markets in Kathmandu worth exploring include the Ason Tole Market, where visitors can buy everything from traditional Nepalese clothing to sweets and spices, and the Indra Chowk Market, which specializes in jewelry, brassware, and other handicrafts.
Visiting the traditional markets of Kathmandu is a unique and unforgettable experience. The vibrant atmosphere, colorful displays, and the variety of goods on offer provide a fascinating insight into the culture and traditions of Nepal. Whether you are looking for souvenirs or unique gifts for loved ones, the traditional markets of Kathmandu have something for everyone.
Kathmandu is a city with a rich cultural and religious heritage, and there are many religious sites that visitors can explore. These sites offer a glimpse into the spiritual beliefs and practices of the Nepalese people and are a testament to the enduring legacy of religion in the region.
Hinduism and Buddhism are the two dominant religions in Nepal, and both have a significant presence in Kathmandu. One of the most famous Hindu temples in the city is the Pashupatinath Temple, which is located on the banks of the Bagmati River. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the most sacred Hindu temples in the world. Visitors can witness the daily rituals and offerings made by the devotees and can also witness cremation ceremonies on the banks of the river.
Buddhism also has a strong presence in Kathmandu, with many monasteries and stupas located throughout the city. One of the most famous Buddhist sites is the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple, which is located on a hilltop overlooking the city. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist sites in Nepal.
Other important religious sites in Kathmandu include the Boudhanath Stupa, which is one of the largest stupas in the world and is a significant site for Tibetan Buddhism, and the Kathmandu Durbar Square, which is home to several temples and palaces that were once the center of power for the Nepalese royal family.
Visiting the religious sites of Kathmandu is a humbling and spiritual experience. The architecture, art, and rituals associated with these sites provide a fascinating insight into the religious traditions and beliefs of the Nepalese people.
Sample the unique flavors of Nepalese cuisine and discover the diverse culinary scene of Kathmandu.
Nepalese cuisine is a blend of Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese flavors, with a unique twist that makes it distinct from its neighboring countries. The food in Kathmandu reflects the city’s diverse cultural heritage and offers a range of dishes that cater to different tastes and preferences.
One of the most famous Nepalese dishes is momo, a type of dumpling filled with meat or vegetables and served with a spicy dipping sauce. Another popular dish is dal bhat, which consists of lentil soup, rice, and a selection of vegetable curries. Thukpa, a hearty noodle soup, is also a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Kathmandu has a thriving street food scene, with vendors selling a range of snacks and sweets. Some popular street food items include sel roti, a sweet fried bread, and chana chaat, a spicy chickpea salad. Visitors can also find a range of international cuisines in Kathmandu, including Chinese, Indian, and Western dishes.
In addition to the street food scene, Kathmandu has several restaurants and cafes that offer traditional Nepalese cuisine. Some popular restaurants include Bhojan Griha, which offers a traditional Nepalese dining experience in a historic building, and Thamel House Restaurant, which serves a range of Nepalese and Tibetan dishes.
For those interested in learning more about Nepalese cuisine, there are several cooking classes and food tours available in Kathmandu. These experiences provide an opportunity to learn about the ingredients and techniques used in Nepalese cooking and to sample a variety of dishes.
Sampling the unique flavors of Nepalese cuisine is an essential part of any visit to Kathmandu. With its diverse culinary scene and range of dining options, visitors are sure to find something that appeals to their taste buds.
Discover the traditional art and crafts of Kathmandu, including woodcarving, pottery, painting, and more.
Kathmandu has a rich tradition of art and craft that reflects the city’s cultural heritage. One of the most famous art forms in Kathmandu is woodcarving. The woodcarvers of Kathmandu create intricate designs on wood using traditional techniques. The woodcarvings are used in various places, including temples, palaces, and homes, and they are known for their fine craftsmanship.
Another popular art form in Kathmandu is pottery. The potters of Kathmandu create beautiful and functional pottery using traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations. You can see pottery being made at various places in the city, and you can even try your hand at it.
Painting is another traditional art form in Kathmandu. Thangka painting is a unique form of painting that is practiced in the city. Thangka paintings are religious paintings that are made on cotton or silk using natural colors. They often depict Buddhist deities and are considered to be sacred.
Other traditional art forms that you can explore in Kathmandu include metalwork, stone carving, and weaving. You can find these crafts being practiced in various parts of the city, and you can even buy some of the products as souvenirs.
If you want to learn more about the traditional art and crafts of Kathmandu, you can visit various places such as the Patan Museum, the National Art Gallery, and the Nepal Art Council. These places have displays of various traditional art forms and crafts, and you can even take classes to learn how to create them yourself.
Explore the museums and galleries of Kathmandu to learn more about the city’s history, culture, and art.
Kathmandu has several museums and galleries that offer visitors a chance to learn more about the city’s history, culture, and art. Here are some of the top museums and galleries that you can visit in Kathmandu:
The National Museum of Nepal: This museum is located in Chhauni, Kathmandu, and it houses a collection of historical artifacts and artwork from Nepal’s ancient and medieval periods.
The Patan Museum: This museum is located in the city of Patan, which is a short distance from Kathmandu. The Patan Museum houses a collection of traditional Nepali art, including metalwork, woodwork, and stone carving.
The Nepal Art Council: This gallery is located in Babar Mahal Revisited, Kathmandu, and it showcases contemporary Nepali art from both established and emerging artists.
The Taragaon Museum: This museum is located in Boudha, Kathmandu, and it features exhibits on Nepali architecture, urbanism, and design.
The Kaiser Library: This library is located in the city of Kathmandu, and it houses a collection of books and manuscripts on Nepali history and culture.
Visiting these museums and galleries can give you a better understanding of Kathmandu’s rich history, culture, and art. You can also attend events and exhibitions at these places to learn more about contemporary Nepali art and culture.
Kathmandu is known for its vibrant markets and bazaars, which offer a wide variety of goods, from traditional handicrafts and textiles to fresh produce and spices. Here are some of the top local markets and bazaars to visit in Kathmandu:
Asan Bazaar: Asan Bazaar is one of the oldest and busiest bazaars in Kathmandu. It offers a wide variety of goods, including fresh produce, spices, textiles, and traditional handicrafts. Visitors can also find street food vendors and tea shops in the area.
Thamel Market: Thamel is a popular tourist area in Kathmandu, known for its shops, restaurants, and cafes. The market offers a wide variety of goods, including souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, and traditional handicrafts.
Ason Tole Market: Ason Tole is a bustling market area located in the heart of Kathmandu. It offers a wide variety of goods, including spices, fresh produce, textiles, and traditional handicrafts. Visitors can also find street food vendors and tea shops in the area.
Indra Chowk Market: Indra Chowk is a traditional market area located in the center of Kathmandu. It offers a wide variety of goods, including textiles, traditional handicrafts, and jewelry. Visitors can also find street food vendors and tea shops in the area.
Kupondole Market: Kupondole Market is a popular market area located in the southern part of Kathmandu. It offers a wide variety of goods, including clothing, shoes, and accessories. Visitors can also find restaurants and cafes in the area.
These are just a few of the many local markets and bazaars to visit in Kathmandu. Visitors can also explore the city’s many shops and boutiques, which offer a variety of traditional and modern goods.
The Garden of Dreams is a beautiful neo-classical garden located in the heart of Kathmandu, just a short walk from the Thamel area. The garden was originally built in the early 1920s as a private garden of the then Prime Minister of Nepal, and was later opened to the public in 2007 after extensive renovations.
The Garden of Dreams is known for its stunning architecture, tranquil atmosphere, and beautifully landscaped gardens. The garden is divided into six pavilions, each with its own unique design and features. Visitors can explore the garden’s many fountains, ponds, and statues, or relax on one of the many benches scattered throughout the garden.
The garden also features a café and a restaurant, where visitors can enjoy a variety of snacks and refreshments. In addition, the garden hosts various cultural events and exhibitions throughout the year, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.
Overall, the Garden of Dreams is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Kathmandu. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city or simply want to explore the beauty of Nepali architecture and landscape, the Garden of Dreams is sure to impress.
Kathmandu is home to many hidden temples and shrines that are worth exploring. Here are some of the top hidden temples around Kathmandu:
Kirateshwor Mahadev Temple: This temple is located in the heart of Kathmandu, but is often overlooked by tourists. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is known for its intricate woodcarvings and stunning architecture.
Chandra Binayak Temple: This temple is located in the town of Chabahil, just a few kilometers from Kathmandu. It is dedicated to Lord Ganesh and is known for its peaceful atmosphere and stunning views of the surrounding hills.
Bajrayogini Temple: This temple is located in the village of Sankhu, about 17 km northeast of Kathmandu. It is dedicated to the goddess Bajrayogini and is known for its intricate carvings and stunning architecture.
Anantapura Temple: This temple is located in the village of Panauti, about 32 km southeast of Kathmandu. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is known for its stunning architecture and intricate carvings.
Kali Temple at Pashupatinath: This temple is located within the Pashupatinath Temple complex, but is often overlooked by tourists. It is dedicated to the goddess Kali and is known for its peaceful atmosphere and stunning views of the Bagmati River.
Overall, these hidden temples offer a unique insight into the rich religious and cultural heritage of Kathmandu and are definitely worth exploring for those interested in history and architecture.
There are several day hikes that you can do around Kathmandu, Nepal. Here are a few options:
Shivapuri National Park Hike: This is a popular day hike that offers stunning views of the Kathmandu Valley. The hike starts from Budhanilkantha and takes you through the Shivapuri National Park. The trail passes through dense forests and you can spot different species of birds and animals. You can also visit the Bagdwar temple, which is the source of the Bagmati River.
Champa Devi Hike: This is a moderate day hike that offers panoramic views of the Himalayas and the Kathmandu Valley. The hike starts from Pharping and takes you to the Champa Devi hill, which is at an altitude of 2,285 meters. The trail passes through a pine forest and you can spot different species of birds and animals.
Nagarjun Hill Hike: This is an easy day hike that offers great views of the Kathmandu Valley. The hike starts from Balaju and takes you to the Nagarjun Hill, which is at an altitude of 2,096 meters. The trail passes through a dense forest and you can spot different species of birds and animals. You can also visit the Nagarjun Palace, which was built in the 17th century.
Namobuddha Hike: This is a scenic day hike that takes you to the Namobuddha Stupa, which is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. The hike starts from Dhulikhel and takes you through rice fields, villages, and forests. You can also visit the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery, which is located near the Namobuddha Stupa.
Note: It is recommended that you hire a guide for these hikes as some trails can be difficult to navigate. It is also important to carry enough water and snacks as there are limited facilities on the trails.