Where is Kathmandu

Location Of Kathmandu

Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. It is a bowl-shaped valley and the location of Kathmandu is in the central part of the country. Kathmandu lies on the Bagmati province of the country as per the new federal structure. Kathmandu is also the largest city in Nepal. The Kathmandu Metropolis is the first and largest metropolitan area of the nation. The city stands at an average altitude of 1,300 (4,265 ft) meters above sea level. It is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is also the cultural capital of Nepal. The local Newar people are the primary settlers of the city. The city holds a legacy of thousands of years of trade, cultural and religious development.

History of Kathmandu City

Kathmandu Valley was once a giant lake according to the Swayambhu Purana. Bodhisattva Manjushri drained the lake from a place called Chobhar in the south of Kathmandu. Archaeological evidence also confirms the fact that Kathmandu was indeed a giant lake in ancient times. Manjushri found a town called Manju Pattan and made Dharmakara its first king. The city has gone through many periods like the ancient period, the Gopala period, the Kirata period, the Lichhavi period and the Malla period during its illustrious history. 

Kathmandu Valley

The oldest name of Kathmandu among local Newar people is Yei. They named Kathmandu as Yei Desh, Patan as Yala Desh and Bhaktapur as Khwopa Desh. There are many stories about how the city got its name as Nepal. Many people believe that the name Nepal came from a place called Naiyapala mentioned in Shiva Purana. They believe that the place called Naiyapala in Shiva Purana is indeed Kathmandu. Others believe that the name Nepal came from a sage called Ne who lived in Kathmandu. Pal means home so the literal meaning of Nepal is the home of Ne.

Kantipur was another common name for the city before it got its present name. The name Kantipur comes from two Sanskrit words. The meaning of ‘Kanti’ is beauty and ‘Pur’ means light. Kathmandu city was the eternal city of light in Asia in medieval times. The name Kathmandu came into existence after the construction of the Kasthamandap temple in Maru, Basantapur. The Kasthamandap temple was built in the seventh century. The early Lichhavi kings built the Kasthamandap. The Newar people also used to refer to the entire Kathmandu Valley as Nepal Mandala.

Climate of Kathmandu

Kathmandu has one of the best climates in the world. The average altitude of Kathmandu is 1,300 (4,265 ft) meters above sea level. It has a temperate climate. It is mostly cool all year round in Kathmandu. Summers are short with mild heat. Summer occurs between March and May. It starts to rain in June. The rainy season lasts for three months. The festival seasons start in Nepal after August. Winters are slightly colder in Kathmandu and last for about four months. December-January is the peak wintertime.

Kathmandu city is home to eight rivers. These rivers drain the rainwater and the water from the nearby hills out of Kathmandu. Bagmati, Bishnumati, and Manahara are the main rivers of Kathmandu. Kathmandu Valley is also sometimes referred to as the Bagmati River Civilization. Forests of pine, oak, fir, etc. dominate the outskirts of the valley.

Temples in Kathmandu

Kathmandu is also known as the city of temples. Kathmandu city is home to thousands of temples, maths, ghats, and other religious landmarks. Two of the most famous Buddhist Stupas in the world are also located in the city. The Swyambhunath Stupa is the first structure in Kathmandu Valley according to the Swayambhu Purana. The Boudhanath Stupa of Bouddha is also one of the most revered Buddhist Stupas in the world. It is also a center of Tibetan Buddhism. There are two ancient Mosques in Kathmandu – the Kashmiri Masjid and the Jame Masjid. Kathmandu is a truly religious tolerant city. Many other minor religions also flourish healthily in the city.

Temples in Kathmandu

Pashupatinath Temple holds the highest religious significance to Hindus. It was built in the 5th century. It is the first Pagoda Style monument of Nepal. Pashupatinath is considered the patron god of Nepalese. Taleju Bhawani Temple, Nyatapola Temple, the Golden Temple of Patan, The Bajrayogini Temple, Kasthamandap Temple, Changu Narayan Temple, Dattatreya Temple, Sweta Bhairava statue, Kal Bhairav Statue, etc are other famous temples in Kathmandu. The three Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur are the main abode of these temples. These durbar squares were the seat of the Malla kings of Kathmandu.

Festivals of Kathmandu

Kathmandu is also a city of festivities and joy. The people of Kathmandu city observe many festivals that are native to Kathmandu Valley alone. Indra Jatra, Ghode Jatra, Bhoto Jatra, Rato Machhindranath Jatra, Seto Machhindranath Jatra, Gai Jatra, Bisket Jatra, Sidhhakali Thimi Jatra, Godawari Mela, Panauti Mela, etc. are some of the most important festivals of Kathmandu. 

Machindranath Jatra Festival

The three cities of Kathmandu had their own festivals when they were separate from each other. This tradition continues to this day also. Indra Jatra, Ghode Jatra, and Seto Machhindranath Jatra are the main festivals of Kathmandu. Bhoto Jatra, Rato Machhindranath Jatra and the Ghode Jatra of Balkumari are the main festivals of Patan. The Ghode Jatra of Balkumari is quite different from the Ghode Jatra of Kathmandu. A man rides a drunken horse in Balkumari to calm evil spirits during Ghode Jatra. Hundreds of horses march together to trample the spirit of a demon in Kathmandu during Ghode Jatra. The main festivals of Bhaktapur are Bisket Jatra and Siddhakali Thimi Abir Jatra. Gai Jatra is a festival common to all three cities. Gai Jatra is also a major festival for Newars outside Kathmandu. Newars in Dolakha, Narayangarh, Bhojpur, Bandipur, Palpa, Gorkha, Dhading, and Lamjung celebrate Gai Jatra. Patan is predominantly Buddhist. Hence, Buddha Purnima is also celebrated with great zeal here. Other major festivals of Kathmandu are Dashain, Tihar, Shiva Ratri, Krishna Janmashtami, Eid, Lhosar, Ramadan, Christmas, etc. People of Kathmandu celebrate festivals of all religions with great fanfare.

Also, view the popular Nepal Pilgrimage Tour.

Kumari – The Living Goddess of Kathmandu

Kumari The Living Goddess
Devotees carry Nepal’s living goddess, locally known as Kumari, for a chariot procession during Indra Jatra festival, in Katmandu, Nepal, Sunday, Sept.11, 2011. Indra Jatra marking the end of the monsoon season is celebrated to worship God of rain Indra. (AP Photo/Binod Joshi)

Kathmandu has a world-renowned tradition of a living goddess or Kumari. The Sanskrit meaning of the word Kumari is the princess. Newars in other cities of Nepal also appoint their own Kumaris. However, the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu is the most revered goddess. The Royal Kumari is selected from the Newar Buddhist community of Shakya or Bajracharya. She lives in a house called the Kumari Ghar in central Kathmandu. Elders and priests select a new Kumari after a Kumari reaches her puberty. Kumari is both a Hindu and a Buddhist goddess. Hindus believe that Kumari is the embodiment of Goddess Taleju Bhawani.

Things to do in Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a tourist’s paradise. There are so many things to do in Kathmandu that some tourists even stay for months here. There are reports that Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger once stayed for months in Kathmandu without informing his management team. Kathmandu is also the subject of two legendary songs named ‘Kathmandu’ by Bob Seger and Cat Stevens. Kathmandu is also the inspiration for the city named Shangri La in James Hilton’s novel ‘Over the Horizon’. Such a legendary status of Kathmandu is because of the many activities one can do in Kathmandu as a tourist. Some of the most popular tourist activities in Kathmandu are as follows.

  • We can visit the three Durbar Squares of Kathmandu. These Durbar Squares were the palace courtyards of the Malla Kings and are home to many classic temples, palaces, maths, and relics.
  • We can visit the old Pashupatinath temple which is a temple of Lord Shiva. A blissful evening arati takes place in the temple.
  • The Newari cuisine of Kathmandu is a delight to the taste buds of visitors. Some of the most popular dishes are Mo:Mo, Choila, Bara, Chatamari, Sukuti and Alu Tama.
  • We can take a day tour of Bajrayogini Temple in Sankhu, Changu Narayan temple in Bhaktapur and the Dakshinkali Temple in Dakshinkali. Changunarayan is one of the four Narayan of Kathmandu. It is also the oldest temple in Kathmandu.
  • Swayambhunath and Boudhanath stupas are the most popular Buddhist shrines of the world after Lumbini. They are located in the heart of Kathmandu.
  • Tourists can enjoy a soulful musical nightlife in Thamel. Thamel is one of the most famous tourist towns of Nepal. Jhamsikhel in Lalitpur is another option for a relaxing evening.
  • Get yourself lost in the old shopping towns like Asan, Indra Chowk, and Mangal Bazaar. 
  • Visit the wooden craving centers in Bhaktapur and witness first hand how the classic Newari architecture comes into existence.
  • Take a tour of the famous town of Kirtipur. It is another beautiful and classical town outside Kathmandu. Kirtipur is also home to countless beautiful temples.
  • Enjoy the Lakhe dance during festivals and gatherings.
  • Visit the Kaiser Cafe in Keshar Mahal.
  • Take a tour of historic museums like the national museum in Chhauni.
  • Explore the local art scene in Kathmandu.
  • Learn how the Thangkas and Mandalas of Kathmandu are made by visiting the thangka centers. 
  • Get spiritual by practicing Yoga and meditation. 

You may also view the Kathmandu Sightseeing Tour.

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