What to expect when travelling to Kathmandu
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This is a guide to preparing and travelling to India. Use this as a resource to plan sight-seeing, dining out and general information about the culture of Kathmandu.
Kathmandu Capital City of Nepal
Kathmandu is located in a bowl-shaped valley in central Nepal. The Empire spreads about 885 km. east to west and 193 km. in width north to south. The whole terrain is like a steep incline, descending from the icy Himalayan heights to the hot Terai flatland within a short space.
The city of Kathmandu was built by king Gun Kamdev in 723 A.D. It is said that Kathmandu was a lake in the past and was made livable by Manjushree, who cut open the hill to south Chovar) as to allow the water of the lake to flow out.
Today Kathmandu has more of a large-city environment than either Bhaktapur or Patan and holds a more advanced metropolitan groundwork. Among its wealth of historic buildings, it can boast the biggest of the ancient royal palaces as well as innumerable Rana palaces and important shrines. Despite the growth which has made a modern city of Kathmandu, the old centre still retains something of a medieval air.
Kathmandu is an intoxicating, exhilarating city. Traffic thrills around the constricted winding streets next to rickshaws, rice and chilli are laid out to dry in courtyards, ancient temples are strung with bright orange marigolds and workshops reminiscent of the Middle Ages still line the back streets. The Nepalese capital has been a mecca for travellers for decades, and it is relaxed to see. Upon advent, make to be surprised.
Places to see:
The most famous street in the city, Freak Street, rushes south from Basantapur Square and has drawn crowds of hippies and travellers since the 1960s. Today, the sweet smell of incense fills the air, shops sell the keys to enlightenment, children run by with fluttering prayer wheels and restaurants sell some of the best food in the city.
Hanuman D Hoka
One of the most charming sights in Kathmandu is the Hanuman Dhoka, a palace multifaceted that stems from the 4th to 8th centuries. 35 courtyards were initially housed there, but a 1934 earthquake destroyed all but ten. The most well-known is the Nasal Chowk, built during the Malla period and used for coronations even today. Guests stroll into the rectangular courtyard through a pleasingly carved entrance, and they are received by a great statue of Vishnu incarnated as a man-lion. A statue of Shiva wheels the eastern corner of the square. From the courtyard, visitors can explore the Malla kings’ Audience Chamber, where images of the present royal family are displayed.
West of Nasal Chowk is the Tribhuvan Museum, built during the mid-19th century. The museum is dedicated to King Tribhuvan and his revolt against the Ranas. The kings’ study and bedroom are recreated with his own effects and wonderful thrones. The second half of the museum focuses on King Mahendra and the assassination of King Birendra in 2001. The nine-story Basantapur Tower is also part of the museum, offering wonderful outlooks of the capital.