Kathmandu is an incredibly diverse historic city with breathtaking Newari architecture, centuries old Hindu and Buddhist religious sites along with dedicated tourist-friendly accommodations and restaurants. Stepping into Kathmandu is like stepping into another world that everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime.
Kathmandu is a city where ancient traditions rub shoulders with the latest technology. The grandeur of the past enchants the visitor whose gaze may linger on an exquisitely carved wooden window frame, an 18th century bronze sculpture or a spiritually uplifting stupa. Kathmandu, the largest city of Nepal, is the political as well as cultural capital of the country.
Like any big city, Kathmandu has seen rapid expansion in the last decade, but despite the hustle and bustle so typical of metropolitan cities, its people remain refreshingly friendly. The city is a warden of its ancestral value “Atithi Devo Bhava” meaning “Guest is equivalent to God”.
Retaining its ancient traditions, Kathmandu is blessed by Living Goddess Kumari and is enriched by endless ceremonial processions and events that take to the streets every now and then with throngs of devotees seeking joy in spiritual celebrations. These religious festivals are steeped in legends and are quite a spectacle with chariot processions and masked dancers often possessed by the spirits of deities.
Kathmandu is a result of diverse culture and lifestyle, a long history of faith and beliefs, and of arts and architecture. Therefore, more than just a city, Kathmandu is a living museum, it is an opportunity to travel back in time and to relive in the history.
Discover ancient temples and myths in the valley of gods where Hinduism and Buddhism meet. Smell and eat traditional Newari food cooked on wood ovens while you are strolling through the small little alleys around the “durbar squares” in one of the ancient king cities of the Kathmandu Valley; Bhaktapur, Patan or Kathmandu.
Buy handicrafs from artisans that still work according to centuries-old traditions. Or try if you are talented yourself in one of the many workshops that are available Watch how the people of the valley still use their temples to practice rituals that have been passed from generation to generation. Discover the temples of the valley, learn more about the rituals of the people of Nepal.
Visit 7 monuments of UNESCO World Heritage Site Kathmandu in 48 hours.
There is a famous folk story that narrates the establishment of the Kathmandu Valley. Long ago, during the Pleistocene era, Kathmandu Valley was merely a lake – a beautiful exhibition of aquatic flora and fauna. Around the same era, when Manjushree, a holy Buddhist Saint from Tibet, saw a beautiful lotus flower floating in the center of the lake, boundless admiration started to flame inside his heart, which evoked his devotion to hold and worship the flower. He, then, cut the Chobar Hill; that ‘cut’ turned into a deep gorge, letting lake water drain out, and leaving a fertile, and pious land for human settlement. Later the settlement became a well-known terminal for diverse individuals; for devotees (both Hindus and Buddhists), Tibetan and Indian merchants, artisans, emperors, explorers, historians, hippies, according to the respective eras, and – now – for tourists from all around the world. The Kathmandu Valley has always been a melting pot for various cultures, religions, and arts and crafts. The Gopala and Kirat dynasties ruled at the earliest periods, followed by the Licchavi (300-879 AD), who, correspondingly, decorated the city with a passion, traditional art, and religious belief.
For such reasons, till this date one can experience the authenticity of the valley, its cultural and religious harmony; the varieties of temples of Hinduism and Buddhism that are standing next to each other for centuries, diverse ethnicities, colorful festivals, and celebration, but just within a walking distance, which is, perhaps, the most beautiful highlight of the city.
The Kathmandu Valley envelops three glorious cities – Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur, which were once independent states ruled by the Malla kings, who ruled the cities from the 12th to the 18th centuries and decorated their individual kingdom with exotic craftsmanship and palaces. Back then, the mighty Mongol rulers would import craftsmen from the Kathmandu Valley to decorate their empire.
That is to say, the famous Pagoda architecture is a gift from the Kathmandu Valley to the China. Now the Kathmandu Valley is home to seven sites which make the valley a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site, and also home to hundreds of other exquisite monuments, sculptures, artistic temples and magnificent art – reminders of the golden era in Nepal’s architecture.