Kathmandu: The Capital City of Nepal

Kathmandu: The Capital City of Nepal

Residing in the heart of Nepal, Kathmandu is a beautiful city, surrounded by majestic hills and woods, adding a scenic beauty to the valley. Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is the busiest and crowded city of Nepal, with a total population of around 1.5 million. Kathmandu Valley Weather is so pleasant and energetic.

However, the increasing population and unmanaged settlements have somehow managed to overshadow the beauty of this city. After the visit to Kathmandu, you must not leave Pokhara because Pokhara is another famous place in Nepal.

TIA – Tribhuvan International Airport, the only international airport in Nepal, located in Kathmandu makes it mandatory for all tourists to visit the capital city.

Visiting Kathmandu For the First Time?

If you are visiting Kathmandu for the first time then, here is a disclaimer, you might be disappointed with the pollution and unplanned buildings increasing at an alarming rate.

But keeping aside the negative part, what makes this city the most beautiful, is lots of natural heritages enlisted in the world heritage sites, ancient and historic temples, Nepalese culture, hills and forests, and many more old monuments.

Once you enter the world heritage sites, you might forget you were just in the busiest city. These sites are the places that make Nepal, as a whole, popular in the world.

And the interesting part is you will still be in this city, just away from the main downtown area.

Kathmandu, originally known as ‘KANTIPUR’ lies in the hilly region of Nepal in the Bagmati zone. Two of the most famous and holy rivers, Bagmati and Vishnumati, flows through the city.

Sitting at an altitude of 1324 meters from sea level, this city sees frequent snowfalls in popular areas like Chandragiri hills and surroundings. 

In winter temperature may reach up to 0°C or below that, and then in summer temperature can rise up to 30-32°C.

Month-by-Month Temperature of Kathmandu 

Here is the average temperature of all months in Kathmandu

April28° 13°
May29° 16°
June29° 20°
July28° 20°
August29° 20°
September28° 19°
October26° 14°

From October to early April, the temperature is very chilly and this is also the month where traffic is high and the city is full of tourists. There are many places in Kathmandu, apart from Pokhara, where you will find more foreign tourists than locals, Thamel being one of them.

November to February is the coldest month, also the time when snow hits a major part of the city like Chandragiri Hill, so the number of tourists is very high during this time.

History of Kathmandu 

Raja Gunakamadeva founded Kathmandu in the early 723 B.S. During that period this city was popularly known as Manu-Patan, which is still used by many old people to this day. The recent name ‘Kathmandu’ refers to the wooden temple, ‘kath’ referring to ‘wood’, and ‘Mandir’ referring to ‘temple’.

Kathmandu city was the home of temples. Especially in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur, there was a competition among the ruling kings to build the best temples and now all of those Temples are enlisted in World Heritage Sites.  

King Laxmi Narsingha Malla built Kasthamandap, a 3-story pagoda-style temple, situated in Kathmandu Durbar Square. It is believed the name Kathmandu is named after this historic temple itself.

After the unification of Nepal, courtesy to Prithvi Narayan Shah, the king of Gorkha, Nepal was ruled by the Shah dynasty from 1768 to 2008 B.S. After which Nepal became a democratic country.

This city is now the major business and commercial center in Nepal. Newari communities are the dominant of this city. So, it is very popular for Newari culture, tradition, and typical Newari homes that can be the center of attraction for any tourists.

One of the famous places in Ktm. is New Road, which was constructed in the 1970s for the easy access of goods and transportation in the center of the city. The only International airport and such roads made this city the hub of the national transportation system in the early 1970s. 

Tundikhel, Kathmandu 

Since 1970, the development of roads and heavy settlements in major cities of Kathmandu have left no space for refreshment. This city is already facing a major population problem. 

The only open ground available to the people of Kathmandu is Tundikhel, a large grass-covered ground and the only ground to provide recreational activities to the citizens of the capital city.

But it’s a shame that this ground is also facing encroachment problems yearly.

5 Major Festivals of Kathmandu 

1) Gaijatra Festival

Specially Newari community celebrates this beautiful festival, Gaijatra. The Nepal government gives a national holiday to celebrate this festival which represents the culture and tradition of Nepal. People celebrate this festival to pay tribute to the dead ones in the family.

People say that when King Pratap Malla lost his son, the queen was so devastated and was in great grief. So, to make the queen forget the grief, King Pratap Malla brought a rally of massive people to cheer the queen.

From that day the festival is celebrated each year to respect and honor the deceased members of the family.

2) Maha Shivaratri 

Though Nepal is a secular country, over 80% of the people are Hindus. Shivaratri is also the biggest festival in the Hindu community.

Pashupatinath, situated in Kathmandu is also a World Heritage Site. All Nepalese celebrate Maha Shivaratri, where millions of pilgrims from Nepal and India participate and gather in Pashupatinath. 

It is believed that Lord Shiva performed the iconic Tandava dance on this day. This day is also famous for ‘Bhang’ and ‘Dhaturo’, an intoxicating substance including weed that makes pilgrims lost to Lord Shiva.

3) Indra Jatra Festival

This festival is celebrated in the Kathmandu valley. It is believed that King Guna Kaam Dev in the 10th century initiated this festival to celebrate the foundation of Kathmandu.

This is one of the iconic and historic festivals celebrated only in this valley which lasts for a total of 8 days.

Places like Patan Durbar Square, Kathmandu Durbar Square, and Bhaktapur Durbar Square are famous for this event.

Thousands of people gather together to pull ‘Rath’ (Chariot pulling) from one city to another for a total of 20 km. 

For local people, this festival is popular as Yenya, where ‘ye’ refers to Kathmandu and then ‘ya’ refers to the celebration, which simply means that this festival is specific to Kathmandu valley.

4) Bhaktapur Bisket Jatra 

It is the biggest chariot pulling ceremony in Nepal, celebrated in the month of April, on the last day of the Nepali year calendar. During this festival, people pull a golden ‘RATH’ (chariot) from the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, traveling all the way through the city to Khalna Tole of Bhaktapur.

This is the biggest celebration of Newari culture and the chances of accidents due to overcrowding are also high, which makes this festival not only interesting but also dangerous.

5) Holi Festival 

The whole Nepalese people celebrate Holi Festival. but popular places where people gather in massive numbers are 3 Durbar Square of Kathmandu valley, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur Durbar Squares.

According to Hindu myth, this day is celebrated to declare the win of God over ‘Asur Holika’.

The people of Nepal celebrate Holi by putting colors on the face and also by throwing water to friends and family. So, it is very entertaining.

Nepalese celebrate this festival two days, the first day in Hilly areas and the next day the festival travels to the Terai region of Nepal.

‘Bhang’ and ‘Lassi’ are the popular drinks at this festival. 

The motto of this festival is to share love among people all over Nepal.

Top 5 Famous places to visit in Kathmandu 

1) Swayambhunath Temple

Also, famous as ‘The Monkey Temple’, Swayambhu is famous for stupa and hundreds of monkeys that surround the temple all year.

Beautifully carved 350+ rock-hewn steps give an astonishing feeling going towards the temple.

The best place to witness the 360-degree panoramic view of Kathmandu valley is also a sacred place for Buddhist.

Relax your mind and soul spinning hundreds of prayer wheels around the temple while witnessing the best view of Kathmandu valley.

2) Pasupatinath Temple

The most sacred place for Hindus, the Pasupatinath Temple welcomes millions of pilgrims each year from all over the world, especially India.

The temple covers a large area in Gaushala. This temple is also the home of hundreds of monkeys.

You can easily spend a whole day wandering around the massive complex of Pashupatinath Temple. The Temple is forest on one side and city on the other.

Included in UNESCO world heritage site, this temple is historic and is considered the ‘Guardian of Kathmandu’.

3) Boudhanath Stupa

Another World Heritage Site, awaits to shell-shock you with its gigantic yet beautiful design. One of the biggest stupas of Nepal, Boudhanath is situated in Boudha, Jorpati area. 

This stupa is the best tourist attraction in Nepal.

Not only the prayer wheels but also religious and small shops full of souvenirs surround the stupa.

This place will give you hours of entertainment and religious siting which might dazzle your eyes. 

4) Thamel, Mangalbazar and Asan

These are the places fully dominated by tourists. Thamel is the best shopping center for tourists who travel to Nepal. You can barely find any foreigner who hasn’t travelled to the Thamel area.

Thamel is popular not only for shopping and souvenirs but also for nightlife entertainment.

Asan and Mangalbazar are other two major cities mostly famous for shopping. You can legit find all sorts of items especially that represent Nepali culture and tradition along with western fashion designs.

5) Durbar Squares 

Kathmandu valley is home to three World Heritage Site durbar squares that include Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. These Durbar Squares are dated to the 10th century which represents our culture, tradition and most importantly our pride.

These Durbar Squares are massive and cover vast areas so it would be fun to wander around and witness beautiful, religious and artistically carved temples along the way.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar square

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