Kathmandu, Nepal

The very first impression of Kathmandu is that of a heavily crowded city with the beautiful Himalayas as a backdrop. Many tourists use this city as a stopping point before the long trek. But Nepal’s capital has much more than meets the eye.

Situated in a valley full of historic sites, ancient temples and shrines, golden pagodas and fascinating villages, Kathmandu offers hotels, bars and restaurants that cater to all budgets. Shops offer handicrafts, carpets and Nepali paper prints. Bus services, taxis and bicycles open up the city.

Kathmandu is an incredibly diverse historic city with breathtaking Newari architecture and centuries old Hindu and Buddhist religious sites. Stepping into this city is like stepping into another world that everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime.

Ancient traditions come cheek to cheek with the latest technology. The rich history in enchanting and while it has seen rapid expansion in the last decade, the hustle and bustle of the city is mesmerizing.

Places to see

hamel is the oldest part of the capital city. It was also known as Tabitha Bahal. This haphazard commercial hub is a must visit. It is one of the busiest neighborhoods in Kathmandu city. Here you’ll find everything from mountain gear to prepare for your trek at bargain prices. If you don’t have it, someone is bound to sell it. There are also antique shops, bookstores and clothing stores.

oudhanath Stupa, built in the 14th century, is the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and is considered one of the most sacred places for Buddhists. The giant Buddha eyes on the top of the stupa and the colorful prayer flags make it one eye-arresting frame.

Most commonly known as the monkey temple, the Swayambhunath temple is one of the major landmarks of Kathmandu city. Located on a hilltop, this holy shrine flaunts an imposing white stupa with fascinating Buddha eyes and a shimmering golden spire. One of the most popular sites in the city, the Swayambhunath temple also offers breathtaking views of the Kathmandu valley. The name “Swayambhu”, means “Self-Created” and legend says the religious site came into existence more than 2,000 years ago when the valley was created out of a primeval lake.

he heart of the old town, the Durbar square was once the place where the King was crowned and the King’s palace is right there, from where he used to rule the country. Also known as Hanuman Dhoka, this UNESCO World Heritage Site, used to be a bustling place filled with the locals and tourists.

While in Kathmandu, Patan is a must-see. It is apparently the oldest town in the valley, flaunting the finest collection of temples, palaces and monuments. The intricate details of the Newari Architectures, the large courtyard of the palace, the wood, and stone carvings in the temples are simply jaw-dropping. It is nothing less than an architectural treasure.

Yoga & Meditation

here are many classes to choose from in Kathmandu. The city has many practitioners/Ayurvedic healers who hold yoga as a primary source for the treatment of illness. Kathmandu is where most of the yoga institutions are concentrated and they have generated considerable interest. There are yoga centers everywhere and particularly around Thamel, the tourist district.

Food

Nepal’s most known dishes are probably dal bhat (rice and lentils) and the popular momos. The regular Nepali meal is dal (lentil soup), bhat (boiled rice) and tarkari (curried vegetables), often accompanied by achar (pickle). Curried meat is very popular, but is saved for special occasions, as it is relatively more expensive. Acquired from Tibetans, momos (steamed or fried dumplings) deserve a mention as one of the most popular snack among Nepalis.

Visit Kathmandu and keep in mind that the tagline “Once is not enough” by the Nepal Tourism Board makes perfect sense as you can’t absorb everything on your first visit.

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