Kathmandu the capital of the state of Nepal: detailed information

Kathmandu

Kathmandu is the capital and largest city of the state of Nepal, its cultural and historical center. Kathmandu lies in the mountain valley of the Himalayas, at an altitude of more than 1300 meters above sea level, and it is home to more than 1 million people.

Numerous tourists and pilgrims Kathmandu attracts numerous temple centers, monasteries, narrow streets that have not changed their appearance for centuries, and bizarre buildings, combining the traditions of two religions – Buddhism and Hinduism. The sights of Kathmandu, along with the monuments of Patan and Bhaktapur, are unique and are listed by UNESCO as one World Heritage Site, the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site.

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Video: Kathmandu

Highlights

Life in Nepal’s capital city is always lively. Crowds of people walk the streets and motorcycles and cars pile up in spontaneous traffic jams. You can constantly hear the honking of cars, bicycle rickshaws, whistles and the melodious tinkling of ritual bells. Tourists who have been to Kathmandu have commented on the friendliness and smiling nature of its people.

In the spring of 2015, Nepal experienced a series of major earthquakes, which killed many people, destroyed houses and architectural monuments. The country’s capital was no exception. In Kathmandu, many religious buildings and palaces on the UNESCO World Heritage List were destroyed or damaged. The world community was not left out of the trouble – Nepal has received a lot of international support and is rapidly recovering. To date, the country has almost completely recovered from the earthquake, all roads and streets in Kathmandu have been cleared, and the main monuments and attractions are once again open to tourists.

The best time to visit the capital of Nepal are from March to April and October to November. At this time of the year, travelers to Kathmandu are guaranteed cloudless skies and comfortable temperatures. The most colorful Nepali festivals and celebrations, Holi, Diwali, Shiva Night, and Nepali New Year, are also held here in early spring and fall.

Most tourists prefer to stay in the district Thamel, which is located 20 minutes north of the famous Durbar Square. There are plenty of hotels, internet cafes, restaurants, cheap shops, and travel agencies. The area was virtually unscathed by the earthquake, as the buildings there are made of reinforced concrete with modern technology.

Streets in Kathmandu

History of Kathmandu

The ancient history of the Nepalese capital is described in tales and legends. The oldest statue found in the city was made in 185 AD. In the 4th century, representatives of the Likchavi dynasty came to the valley of Kathmandu. They conquered the local rulers and founded their own kingdom ruling the surrounding land until the XII century. Kathmandu was founded during the rule of Likchavi in 723. It became a city that played a major role in the trade between China and Tibet.

Kathmandu in 1793

In the twelfth century a new dynasty, the Malla, who had migrated to the foothills of the Himalayas from the south due to the pressure of the Muslims, began to rule in the Kathmandu valley. In the early years of Malla’s rule there was a massive earthquake in the valley and a third of the city was destroyed. Despite the difficulties, however, Kathmandu quickly recovered and continued to serve as an important staging post for trade caravans carrying goods from China to Tibet and back.

In 1768, the Malla dynasty ceased to exist, the valley became part of the Gorkha kingdom, and the city was given the status of its capital. In the mid-19th century, after a terrible massacre in which almost all members of the ruling dynasty were killed, the state and its capital were headed by Jung Bahadur Rana – the founder of the Rana dynasty. During this dynasty the Nepalese endured much religious persecution. They lived under tyranny and constant economic exploitation. The country’s isolation from the rest of the world was eased only after the end of World War II.

Kathmandu in the 1940s Kathmandu in the 1960s Kathmandu in 1993

Earthquake 2015

The highland territory is prone to earthquakes, and they happen here regularly. In the 20th century, the 1934 earthquake brought great destruction.

In the spring of 2015, the elements struck Nepal twice. Strong tremors of magnitude 7.8 and 7.3 occurred on April 25 and May 12. The epicenter of the earthquake was 80 km away from Kathmandu. The consequences of the tremors were catastrophic: 8,000 people died and about 14,000 were injured under the debris of collapsed buildings.

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The aftermath of the 2015 Kathmandu earthquake

The April 25 earthquake lasted only 20 seconds, but it was enough to completely destroy about 2,000 houses and damage 4,000 more. In the area Sindhupalchok, northeast of the Nepalese capital, more than 90% of all buildings were destroyed. The country estimated the total damage from the earthquake at $7 billion.

The aftermath of the 2015 Kathmandu earthquake

In Kathmandu, many historical, architectural and religious monuments were completely destroyed or damaged. In the center of the city stood the Dharahara Tower, erected in 1832 and included in the UNESCO protection list. The tower had already suffered damage from a previous major earthquake in 1934, but after repairs in 2005, it was opened to tourists. Travelers loved to climb up to the Shiva Temple, which was located on the tenth floor of the tower. Underneath it was an observation deck from which one could admire the old quarters of Kathmandu. During the last earthquake the high tower collapsed and under its debris killed about 200 people, almost all of them foreign tourists. In addition, underground tremors destroyed Kathmandu’s historic Hanuman Dhoka Square, Narayan and Maju temples, as well as some structures in Durbar Square.

Many countries, international organizations and private donors provided significant support to Nepal. A whole team of rescuers who flew to Kathmandu from all over the world worked to clear the rubble and provide medical assistance to the victims.

Climatic Peculiarities

Nepal’s capital city is located in a mountainous region and the Himalayas have a profound effect on the weather in the Kathmandu Valley. Daytime temperatures can vary as much as 15°. If it’s cool in the morning, it gets hot in the afternoon and you have to take off your outer clothing.

During the winter months, daytime temperatures range from +8°C to +18°C and nighttime temperatures range from 0°C to +11°C. From December to February, Kathmandu is often foggy. The warmest period of the year is from May to September. Daytime temperatures range from +19 ° C to +27 ° C, and at night the thermometer reads +17. +22°С.

Most of the year there is not much precipitation in Kathmandu, there are only 2-4 rainy days per month. From May to August the rainfall increases significantly and the humidity rises to 80-85%. Rains and showers with thunderstorms occur every day or every other day. September is considered a transitional month to the dry season.

Bhaktapur and Patan.

Besides the modern capital in the vast valley of Kathmandu, there are two other cities that in former times had the status of major cities of the hill state. In Bhaktapur or the “city of believers”, located 16 kilometers from Kathmandu, live Hindus. Many Hindu religious monuments can be seen here. There are more than ten temples dedicated to Vishnu, the sumptuous palace of the Malla rulers, the Shiva-Parvati and Batsala Devi temples, and the Lion’s Gate and the Golden Gate. Travelers must pay about 1,200 Nepalese rupees to explore the old city area.

The oldest settlement in the valley is the city of Patan, whose old name Lalitpur means “city of beauty”. In earlier times, Patan was an independent city, but today it has merged with the Nepalese capital. There are many artisans who are fluent in metal working techniques. Go to Patan to see the terracotta temple of the Thousand Buddhas, the place of coronation of the kings of the hill state – Buddhist monastery Rudravarnah-Mahabihar, temples, which decorate the images of Krishna and Ganesha, and the only zoo in Nepal.

Attractions in Kathmandu

The old part of the city attracts the most tourists. It is here that you can see the historic Palace Square – Durbar Square. It encompasses the Royal Palace and three chuoka (courts) with several temples built in the tradition of Nevar architecture. Durbar Square is one of the busiest places in Kathmandu. The reddish terracotta buildings here are particularly beautiful at dawn. To see the historic sights of Durbar Square, you have to pay 200 Nepalese rupees.

Durbar Square in Kathmandu Swayambunath

In the west of Kathmandu stands the stupa of Swayambunath or Monkey Temple. In translation, the name of this revered Buddhist shrine means “self-made.” It occupies an elevated position and is clearly visible from the vantage points of Durbar Square. At the foot of the stupa is a long stone staircase with 365 steps – the number of days in the year. From the temple platform, one can see the city as if in the palm of his hand. Contrary to expectations, there are few monkeys near the stupa and they are constantly being fed by tourists and servants.

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Kathmandu is home to the revered Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, dedicated to the god Shiva. It has grown into a large temple complex and daily receives thousands of pilgrims coming from different countries, especially from India. Here you can always see colorfully dressed wandering yogis – sadhus. Around the temple live many monkeys, who go about their business, paying little attention to tourists. Nepalis can enter the temple for free, but citizens of other countries pay a fee of 500 Nepalese rupees.

On the western bank of the Bagmati River there are several Hindu temples, which are only open to adherents of this religion. From the opposite, eastern bank of the river you can see the funeral rituals taking place there. The stone pedestals where the dead are cremated (Burn Gaths) are located right along the riverbank. To the north of the bridge are the high caste bases for the dead, and to the south are the lower caste burn sites. Burning fires, the smell of smoke, and garlands of flowers floating on the river create a special atmosphere. On the opposite bank there is an orphanage founded by Mother Teresa, where the poor and hungry can get food.

Near the temples, a special house is built where old people who are waiting to die go. They spend their last days there. The Bagmati is considered a sacred river, and one bathes in it for ritual purification, just as in the Ganges. Here the dead are also washed before being burned, and when cremation is complete, the remaining ashes are lowered into the river.

On the outskirts of Kathmandu is the largest Buddhist stupa in the country and one of the largest in the world, Bodnath. Huge expressive eyes are painted on the religious monument, and the statues around the stupa are decorated with fresh flowers. In many places, ropes with colored Nepali flags are stretched out with the texts of mantras written on them. Ritual drums are placed near the stupa and are traditionally rotated by all Buddhists who come here.

In Kathmandu, not far from the tourist district of Thamel, the beautiful Kaiser Mahal or Garden of Dreams is located. It has almost tame chipmunks, neat flowerbeds, and neoclassical light buildings peeking through the green trees.

Kaiser Mahal Park in Kathmandu

Local Food

The most popular dish in Kathmandu, which can be ordered almost everywhere, is momo (dumplings) stuffed with buffalo meat or chicken. They came to the local cuisine from Tibet. Momo are usually steamed or fried. Any restaurant serves a thick, rich bean soup, kwati, and daal bhaat tarkaari, a vegetarian dish consisting of lentils, rice, vegetables, spices, and spicy herbs.

Kathmandu restaurants offer many delicious dishes that are traditional to Nepal and Tibet. They are simple to prepare and have an unusual taste. Many dishes are cooked with mustard oil and also with oil made from yak milk. The food is subtly flavored with an abundance of spices such as cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, black and Sichuan pepper, coriander, turmeric, green onions, and coriander. Local chefs also like to add jimba, a Himalayan plant that tastes like onions and garlic, to their dishes.

Jalebi Bean soup Daal bhaat tarkaari Curry from Kathmandu Buffalo kebab Spiced Hotdog with chicken and vegetables Lunch

The restaurants in Nepal’s capital city make very tasty buffalo steaks and banana pancakes. Most of the Hindus living here adhere to a vegetarian diet, so there are many dishes of rice, pulses and vegetables seasoned with hot sauces in Kathmandu. Rice and flatbreads are often accompanied by dhau (sour milk) and paneer (pressed fatty curd).

Masala tea (Nepali chiya)

The traditional drink of Nepalis is tea, which is mostly drunk with milk. The most popular variety is masala tea (Nepali chiya) made from tea leaves boiled in milk and spices. An unusual taste is suja – salty tea with milk and butter. Very common are herbal teas and lassi, a drink made from salted or sweetened sour milk. Of the alcoholic beverages popular in Kathmandu are rum (kukri), rice wine (rakshi), and homemade beer (jaand or chyaang) made from rice, millet, and barley.

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Since many foreign tourists come to Kathmandu, there are international restaurants in the city, as well as establishments where one can taste dishes of Japanese, Italian, Mexican, and French cuisine.

Prices for food and ready meals are low. You can dine in a budget café for 250 Nepalese rupees and in a not-so-expensive restaurant for 300-350 NPR. Most restaurants that cater to tourists add a 10% service charge and 13% government tax to the bill. In cafes the tip is usually 5% of the bill. Information about this is usually listed on the menu.

Specials on hotels

Souvenirs

Kathmandu’s souvenir shops and markets offer so many exotic items that it’s overwhelming. One of the most popular souvenirs here is the famous Nepalese tea, which grows at altitudes of about 3000 meters above sea level. To make tea according to Nepalese traditions, it is worth buying a beautiful handmade teapot. Elegantly decorated teapots made of ceramic, metal and glass are sold everywhere.

As souvenirs are perfect textiles – scarves, stoles and blankets made from yak wool, as well as pashmina (cashmere) – a fabric made from the thin, warm and soft down of Himalayan goats. Many travelers prefer to take back from Kathmandu gold and silver jewelry, musical instruments and beautiful interior decoration items like statues, bowls, vases and paintings by local artists.

Street Souvenir Vendors Nepalese Fabrics

Security

Nepal and its capital city are considered completely safe for travelers. The atmosphere is peaceful. The locals love visitors and treat them with great respect. One will not find any manifestations of racism or religious intolerance in Kathmandu. You can’t get into trouble because of unusual clothing, skin color, or nationality on the streets of this city. Nevertheless, foreign tourists are asked to refrain from walking alone in Kathmandu in the late evening or at night.

Monkeys on the streets of Kathmandu

To rule out intestinal infections in Kathmandu, it is recommended to drink only boiled or bottled water, eat well-washed fruit and carefully wash your hands before eating.

A separate problem for tourists in Kathmandu are monkeys, which live here in large numbers. In the country they are considered sacred animals, which are allowed everything. Nepalis are very revered monkeys and the god Hanuman. Killing a monkey under local law can get you up to three years in prison. Tourists need to be careful and cautious, as some monkeys in Kathmandu behave aggressively and take away food, drinking bottles, cameras, phones, hats and sunglasses from gaping travelers.

Transportation

Absolutely all cab cars that carry passengers around the city have meters, but some drivers refuse to use them. In this case, you should look for another cab. The easiest places to catch a taxi are near tourist centers, large hotels, and on the main streets. During the daytime trips around Kathmandu cost from 14 NPR, but after dark the prices go up and the fare starts from 21 NPR.

Cab Cars Near the Temple Bus Stop

Blue and green buses run on a circular route and are operated by conductors. Kathmandu’s bus fleet is old, but the locals are very friendly and always ready to help a foreigner who gets lost by suggesting the right stop.

In the central part of the city and places frequented by foreign tourists, you can find an exotic form of transport – bicycle rickshaws.

How to get there

Tribhuvan International Airport is located 5.56 kilometers east of Kathmandu. The flight from Moscow takes about 6 hours, however there are no direct flights, therefore you have to change planes in Delhi, Dubai or Sharjah to get to Kathmandu.

The trip from the airport to the city center by cab takes 15 minutes and costs 700 Nepalese rupees. The cab stand is outside the airport building. You need to exchange your currency for Nepalese rupees before boarding. It is not advisable to take the buses to Kathmandu, as they are very crowded.

Kathmandu

Kathmandu

In the foothills of the Himalayas, sandwiched between snow-capped peaks sits the incredible and mystical city of Kathmandu, the capital of the small country of Nepal. Here poverty borders with luxury and cultural values with a low level of education. Welcome to the diverse Kathmandu!

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Location and Climatic Conditions of Kathmandu

You will find the city of Kathmandu on the world map in the central part of Nepal. The altitude of Kathmandu is 1,330 m and its coordinates are 27.720796 and 85.319607. Here, despite the high humidity (up to 80%), fairly comfortable temperature – not below +18 ° C in winter and +25 ° C in summer. The level of annual precipitation is 1400 mm, and most of it falls in the rainy season, which falls in May-September. The main waterway of the country, the sacred Bagmati River, runs through the valley.

Kathmandu on the World Map

The monsoon winds blow here in Kathmandu valley, so the tropical heat of this latitude is not felt at all. The climate is temperate due to the proximity of the mountains that protect Kathmandu. Despite its fairly benign location and mild climate, Kathmandu is frequently affected by earthquakes – the most recent, on April 25, 2015, killed more than 8,000 people and destroyed many shrines.

Earthquake in Kathmandu on 25 April 2015

Because Kathmandu is the capital of mountainous Nepal, its population is large, just over 1 million people. They are people of different nationalities, but the advantage is still for the indigenous Nepalese. More than half of the population of Kathmandu speaks Nepali, the local language. Slightly less is spoken in Nepali, as well as other dialects.

Population of the city

Where to go in Kathmandu?

Kathmandu, Nepal has so many things to do and see that it takes more than a week to explore this ant colony of millions of people thoroughly. The city never stops bustling with life, and tourism plays a big part in that. You can visit Kathmandu on your own or as part of a tour group – the second option is more reliable, safer and suitable for those who do not know languages. Let’s find out what to do in Kathmandu and where better to go for impressions for a visitor:

  1. The Bodnath Stupa of Kathmandu in Nepal is perhaps the main UNESCO-protected shrine of Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley. This iconic structure is located in the northeastern part of the city and is the center of an entire Buddhist complex of temples, monasteries and schools. The stupa is among the so-called places of strength in Kathmandu. During the last earthquake the upper part collapsed, which is now being actively rebuilt.
  2. Durbar Square in Kathmandu, or royal square, is interesting because of the Temple of the Goddess Kumari. Here, a little goddess practically lives in confinement until she is 12 or 13 years old, and then her place is taken by another little girl to continue the age-old tradition. There are other ancient buildings here as well.
  3. The sacred stupa of Swayambhunath is on the west side of Kathmandu. There is a small grove near it where monkeys live and come to the stupa for lunch. The place is loved by tourists for its beauty and the opportunity to interact with the sacred macaques.
  4. The Kali Temple of Kathmandu (Dakshinkali) can only be seen from the side, but it is enough to understand its essence. On Saturdays and Tuesdays, the ritual of sacrifice to the bloody goddess is held here.
  5. Frick Street in Kathmandu was once a popular street among tourists, named so by hippies who were passing through town. It is now a fairly quiet neighborhood near King’s Square with small souvenir shops and restaurants and residents.
  6. The Asan Market in Kathmandu is the largest and most popular marketplace not only for locals but also for tourists. There are temples, sacred stupas and stalls with goods in a large area. Here you can feed pigeons, drink coffee and buy the freshest fruits.
  7. Tamel in Kathmandu is an area associated with the concept of tourism. Narrow streets filled with rushing traffic and passersby, inexpensive and wealthy hotels, bars and clubs. For those who are going from Kathmandu to the Himalayas to conquer Mount Everest, this place is a real staging post. Here you can buy skiing equipment, find a guide, and check out the route.
  8. The Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu is a rather sad place, an open-air crematorium. Here on the Bagmati River, which flows into the famous Ganges, the famous and ordinary people of the city go to the other world. During the cremation there is always a large gathering of people, despite the very peculiar smell. Among the temples of Kathmandu it is the most sinister and mystical.
  9. Temple of the Kamasutra ordinary people simply do not notice, but for our tourists, it is a real revelation. When booking tours in Nepal and its capital, Kathmandu, don’t forget to visit this place in Durbar Square.
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Many people associate a trip to Kathmandu with trekking – a hike up the mountains. But it is always preceded by two or three days of sightseeing in the city. In addition to the many Buddhist and Hindu temples, there is more than just aesthetic pleasure. Numerous spas, aromatherapy and steam baths at the end of a hard day is just what you need.

Trekking in Kathmandu

Holidays in hotels in Kathmandu

Despite the fact that the state of Nepal is one of the poorest in the world, in Kathmandu tourists are waiting for the best hotels, which are not inferior to the European. Looking at the photos of the city of Kathmandu, it is impossible not to pay attention to the modern multi-storey buildings, which are located and apartments. Consider their benefits:

  1. Baber Mahal Vilas. Here visitors are waiting for high-speed Internet, free parking, swimming pool and chic rooms.
  2. The Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is in close proximity to Palace Square. There is a gym, in-room ordering of food and drinks, and a beautiful park for strolling.
  3. The Dwarika’s Hotel. This chic hotel offers free airport transfers, banqueting and conference facilities, non-smoking rooms and all kinds of services for the convenience of residents.
  4. Radisson Hotel Kathmandu. The hotel complex provides its gambling guests with a casino, an outdoor swimming pool, a gym and in-room dining delivery.
  5. The Radisson Hotel Kathmandu is a truly royal suite near Thamel. Clean and comfortable rooms beckon one to relax. Here you will be told how to get to Kathmandu cheaply, and provide shuttle service to and from the airport.

Where to eat well in Kathmandu?

Interesting facts about Kathmandu certainly attract many tourists here. But in between trips to the temples you need to remember to eat not only for the mind, but also for the body. You can satisfy your hunger in all areas of the city, but still choose your restaurant with caution, as Nepal is notorious for its unsanitary conditions, which also applies to catering. Kathmandu can boast of both European and Oriental cuisines, here everyone can find a dish to his taste:

  1. Western Kitchen among the dusty and buzzing city is a quiet corner. It offers Thai, European and local cuisines to satisfy the most demanding of diners.
  2. The Ship Restaurant Bar and Lounge. Traditional Indian and Nepalese dishes can be sampled here, but other food is also available.
  3. Grill Oregano Restaurant. You can choose between an American grill and Indian rice. The service is good and the food is tasty.
  4. Nina’s is a traditional American burger and hot dog stand, perfect for eating on the go.
  5. Hotel Dalai-La. Turns out you can also get authentic Italian pizza in Nepal at this hotel restaurant.

Shopping in Kathmandu

For those who like to store in Kathmandu, it’s paradise. There are small private shops, bustling bazaars, and modern tourist-oriented malls. Brings back from Nepal:

  • cashmere products;
  • natural pashmina;
  • paintings in the Mathila technique;
  • imperishable paper made from the bark of Himalayan trees;
  • pottery;
  • figurines decorated with wood carvings;
  • jackets, purses, and shoes made from the skin of local buffalo;
  • kukuri knives;
  • tea and spices;
  • precious stones and costume jewelry;
  • woolen carpets.

Roads in Kathmandu

To get to the mountainous state for our countrymen the most convenient way is by air. Nepal’s Tribhuvan Airport is located near Kathmandu, and you can get to the city by cab. The cost of the trip is about $0.9 to $1.8. It takes 24 minutes on Sinamangal Rd. The visa is issued on arrival in Kathmandu directly at the airport, which is very fast and convenient for Russians.

Roads in Kathmandu

There are numerous minibuses plying around the city. To travel with comfort, you can rent a car with a driver (the price of $ 100 per trip) or turn the wheel yourself (but the latter option is not easy). To travel to the trekking is better to hire a private driver with a car. There is a streetcar service in Kathmandu: if you want maximum flavor – this is your place.

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