Kathmandu the Capital of Nepal is the largest metropolitan area in Nepal. It stands at the gate of the Himalayans at an elevation of 1,400 in the Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. It is the capital of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal and the headquarters of the Central Development Region of Nepal.
Aerial view of Nepal's Capital Kathmandu
A Rich History
The history of this city dates about 2,000 years as per many inscriptions found in the valley. Most of Kathmandu's people follow Hinduism and many others follow Buddhism. Nepali is the most commonly spoken language in the city. Hindi is widely spoken and English is spoken by the most educated of the population.
Kathmandu Nepal is the main tourism spot when visiting Nepal. Many tourists arrive here on their way to different expeditions to the Himalayan Mountains. From here they also start their climbing of the Everest, the tallest mountain of the world. Let us go on a virtual tour of some of the most important sites in this history rich capital.
The Boudhanath Stupa is the holiest site in Kathmandu
This is one of the most known and holiest sites in this capital city. This Temple was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is Nepal’s largest temple with a diameter of 120 meters and a height of 36 meters.
It has five statues of Dhyani Buddhas, representing the five elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Ether. It features nine levels representing Mount Meru for the mythical peak which is the center of the Buddhist cosmos; and 13 rings representing the steps to enlightenment or Nirvana. It is located about 7 km east of the center of Kathmandu and you may go there by taxi or rickshaw.
Durbar Square in the Capital of Nepal
Durbar means Palace and despite the Royal family is no longer living there it is still one of the most important tourists’ sites in this capital. There are many temples surrounding this square and the surrounding squares, all dating to the 12th Century.
This is actually a complex of Royal Palaces called the Hanuman Dhoka, and the jewels of the crown are still kept there. Durbar Square is located to the west of Kathmandu and the south of the Royal Palace.
Bhaktapur a small town near the Capital of Nepal
This is a small town about 10 km from the city. Please note that no cars are allowed in the town center. The claim to fame of this town is the impressive Nyatapola Temple, the tallest temple in Nepal built in 1,700 during the reign of King Bhupatindra Malla.
This town has its own Durbar Square with many temples and the Royal Palace which stands on the north of the square. Visitors may visit the Golden Gate, carved into a red gatehouse and the National Art Gallery with its Tantric Cloth paintings.
This is a great “one day tour” from the capital. It may be accessed by taxi that takes around 20 to 40 minutes.
Gosainkunda is the first Himalayan National Park
This is the first established Himalayan National Park with a maximum altitude of 7,200 meters. It is known for its fauna and flora because the area has different climates ranging from tropical to alpine. Its trekking is famous second to the Everest and Annapurna ones.
The sacred Gosainkunda lake is a must-see sight. It is considered to be the home of Hindu deities Lord Shiva and Goddess Gauri. It is located a short taxi ride from Kathmandu and the best season to visit are April-May and October- November.
Pashupatinath is Nepal's most sacred Temple
This is Nepal’s most sacred temple. It was built during the reign of King Bhupendra Malla, in 1696. Located on the banks of the Bagmati River, it reaches a maximum height of 24 meters.
In front of the temple you’ll find many vendors selling souvenirs such as incense, marigolds and conch shells. The river bank of the Bagmati is a common site for cremations and you may see the performance when you visit this site.
Pashupatinath is about 5 km to the east of Kathmandu, and a short walk from the Boudhanath Temple.
The Narayanhiti Royal Palace now converted into a museum
This is the capiltal’s Royal Palace now converted into a museum. It is located in central Kathmandu.
Kathmandu’s Royal Palace, that served as the Royal residence for over a century is the site where in June 2001, King Birendra, Queen Aiswarya and six other royals were shot dead by Crown Prince Dipendra before he took his own life. The successor King Gyanendra was very unpopular and finally the Nepalis voted to abolish the Monarchy in 2008. On February 2009 in a symbolic event it was converted into this museum.
The museum showcases the belongings of former kings and other royals who lived in it which includes extensive gold plating, many chandeliers and a large tiger skin rug. This is a must visit when you are in Nepal.
Patan is separated from Kathmandu by the Bagmati River
It is located south of Kathmandu and is separated from the city by the Bagmati River. The concentration of temples in the area is the highest in the country. The most interesting of the temples are the Golden Temple, Kumbeshwar Temple and the Red Machhendranath Temple.
The Patan Museum is a restored Malla Royal Palace on Patan Darbar and exhibits about 200 examples of bronze or copper statues of Buddhist or Hindu deities. The highlights are a 12th century Buddha made of copper and courtyard of the museum which is by itself a piece of art.
Royal Botanical Gardens near the Capital of Nepal
Located about 20 km south of Kathmandu and surrounded by a lush forest this only Botanical Garden in Nepal hold about 500 species of plant in 82 hectares. Just to mention a few is the decorative Coronation Pond with exhibits on Nepal's flora, and collections of rhododendrons which is Nepal's national flower, lilies, orchids, cacti and ferns.
When visiting this Botanical Garden, you may want to visit the Godavari Spring, a freshwater spring spouting cold water from the Gadavari river, a popular Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage site.
The Swayambhunath Stupa the second in importance in Nepal
The Swayambunath Temple is second in importance only to Boudhanath. It is located on a hilltop west of Kathmandu. Built in the 5th Century it is a complex of temples, shrines, a Tibetan monastery, a museum and a library. The Monkeys that live on the complex are said to be holy because they grew out of head lice living in the bodhisattva or enlightened person, Manjusri’s long hair.
The Capital of Nepal has a lot to offer to its visitors.
Map showing the location of the Capital of Nepal
images for capital of nepal
boudanath by aiwok
durbar square by shree krisha dhital
bakhtapur by artha
gosaikunda by kapilkhatri
narayanhiti by surash belbase
patn by bgabel
botanical gardens by mediajet
Swayambhunath by manish pangin
all courtesy of wikimedia commons