Kathmandu (काठमाण्डु) is the capital and largest city of Nepal and the namesake of the Kathmandu Valley. Once believed to be the fabled and inaccessible Shangri-La, Kathmandu is now a hub for independent tourists; as well as a growing holiday spot catering to all budgets. As a result of substantial city progress in recent decades; it is now part of one continuous urban area together with Patan to the south.
The valley is made up of the Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu District covering an area of 570 square kilometers. (Almost the area of Singapore). The Kathmandu valley consists of the municipal areas of Kathmandu and Lalitpur Metropolitan City, Kirtipur, Bhaktapur and Madhyapur Thimi Municipality. Other remaining area is some number of GaunPalika.
The Kathmandu valley is a cultural and political hub of Nepal. In the year 1979, The valley was rendered the position of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The major rivers flowing through the Kathmandu Valley are the Bagmati, Bishnumati, Rudramati, Manohara etc. Smell and eat authentic 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. Discover ancient temples and myths in the valley of gods where Buddhism and Hinduism meet.
Buy handicrafts from artists that still work according to centuries-old traditions rituals that have been passed from generation to generation. Or try if you are talented yourself in one of the many workshops that are available.
Visit 7 monuments of UNESCO World Heritage Site Kathmandu in 48 hours.
There is a famous folk story that relates the establishment of the Kathmandu Valley. Long ago, during the Pleistocene era, Kathmandu Valley was only a lake – a beautiful exhibition of aquatic flora and fauna. Around the same age, when Manjushree, a holy Buddhist Saint, saw a beautiful lotus flower floating in the center of the lake, endless admiration started to flame inside his heart, which evoked his devoutness to hold and worship the flower.
Then he cut the Chobar Hill; that turned into a deep gorge, letting lake water drain out, and leaving a fertile and religious land for mortal settlement. Later the settlement became a well-known terminal for diverse individuals; for devotees (both Hindus and Buddhists), Tibetan and Indian traders, artists, rulers, historians, hippies, travelers, according to the respective eras, and – now – for travelers from all around the world.
The Kathmandu Valley has always been a melting pot of various cultures, religions, and arts and crafts. The Gopal and Kirat houses ruled at the initial periods, followed by the Licchavi (300-879 AD), who, harmoniously, decorated the city with a desire, traditional art, and religious belief. For such reasons, till this date everyone can experience the legitimacy of the valley, its cultural and religious harmony; the varieties of temples of Hinduism and Buddhism that are standing side by side for centuries, diverse civilizations, colorful festivals, and celebration, but just within a walking distance, which is, possibly, the most beautiful highpoint of the city.
Kathmandu Valley – city inside city
The Kathmandu Valley enfolds three glorious cities – Kathmandu, Patan (Lalitpur), 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 colorful artistry and beautiful Palaces. Back then, the mighty Mongol rulers would ingress craftsmen from the Kathmandu Valley to decorate their kingdom. That is to say, the famous Pagoda architecture is gifts from Nepal actually form the Kathmandu Valley to China by Araniko and so on.
Now the Kathmandu Valley is home to 7 sites which make the valley a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site. And also home to hundreds of other wonderful monuments, sculptures, artistic temples and magnificent art – reminders of the golden era in Nepal’s architecture.