What’s special about Kathmandu?

What’s special about Kathmandu?

And when you walk around the world, babe
You said you'd try to look for the end of the road
You might find out later that the road'll end in Detroit
Hon', the road'll even end in Kathmandu – Janis Joplin

I think I'm going to Katmandu
That's really, really
Where I'm going to
If I ever get out of here
That's what I'm gonna do-  Bob Seger

Pulling into Kathmandu
Smoke rings fill the air
Perfumed by a Nepal night
The Express gets you there - Rush

Katmandu, I'll soon be seein' you
And your strange bewilderin' time
Will hold me down -Cat Stevens

There's a little yellow idol to the north of Katmandu - John Lennon

And dozens of popular mainstreams, as well as uncelebrated artists around the world, have expressed their opinion about this small ancient kingdom, Kathmandu. Mostly, during the Hippies Era when the peace lovers traveled in their Magic Bus throughout the world to Nepal for the magic herb and in search of peace, many artists have mentioned Kathmandu in many Rock N’ Roll songs. A few of the then very popular artists have also visited Nepal and expressed their love towards the nature and culture of Nepal in their own style.

Well, what’s so special about Kathmandu? And what’s so special around Kathmandu? What are the places to visit and things to do here?

Let’s start with the evolution. It is believed that Kathmandu was founded in 723 by Raja Gunakamadeva and was named Kathmandu with reference to the wooden temple that was built with the woods from a single tree by Raja Lachmina Singh in 1596 named as Kasthamandap (Kastha = wood, Mandap = Temple). Before that, it was recognized with many other names, and people from different places and from different cultural backgrounds had, or say, they still have, some unique name for this city. Many emperors did rule this kingdom and the last one was the Shah dynasty, the one which united small states and formed the nation, Nepal.

Talking about tourism, all thanks go to those hippies who came around here on their magic buses. It is believed that after the freak street in Kathmandu, which is still recognized as freak street because of those times, the Round Annapurna (Annapurna Circuit in recent days) was the only trail that was discovered by foreigners and with time the alluring nature of Nepal drove the attention of a greater number of tourists to all the other regions of Nepal. There are still some trails that are just being discovered. Despite the geographical size of the nation, Nepal is huge and gigantic enough to sacrifice an entire lifetime.

Kathmandu, currently the capital of the nation and the only city in Nepal till the date with an international airport is and has always been recognized worldwide for the temples, arts, architectures, unique food, and attire (mostly Newari as the main residence here are Newars), the culture and tradition and of course, the sceneries. So, what are the places that one must visit in Kathmandu? Here’s a list of some:

  • Boudhanath: Largest Stupa in the World which is highly respected by Buddhists around the Globe
  • Pashupatinath: The highly respected temple of the main God of Hindu culture – Lord Shiva. Shiva is the God of creation and destruction; hence, you can observe life and death in this temple. The funeral of Hindu people takes place in this holy temple which allows you to learn about life and death.
  • Swoyambhunath: The temple is also known as Monkey Temple which is also one of the major assets of Buddhism. Since this temple is located at a higher elevation in Kathmandu Valley, it is also a great viewpoint for observing Kathmandu City from the top.
  • Kathmandu Durbar Square: This is a historic place of Nepal that is culturally enriched with many remarkable wood-carvings. Another important highlight of this place is Kumari, the living goddess of Nepal. This is the place where there still exists the old-time Freak Street.
  • Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square are also as significant and behold amazing architecture like Kathmandu Durbar Square or even better. Patan and Bhaktapur are also part of Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

Note: In April 2015, the massive Earthquake has affected some of the architectures in Kathmandu which are currently ongoing renovation and are about to get accomplished soon.

About the things to do while you are in Kathmandu:

  • Praying to the gods and goddesses at temples and stupas
  • Trying diverse ranges of food and cuisine
  • Explore the celebration of festivals
  • Learn about the culture, lifestyle, and tradition
  • Music and arts exploration
  • Hiking nearby the city
  • Rafting at the rivers nearby
  • Even Paragliding is possible these days
  • Mountain Flights

And hundreds of more activities to do that will make you feel that once in a lifetime is not enough to explore Kathmandu and so is one piece of a blog to explain them well. :D

You can check our One Day Kathmandu World Heritage Site Tour for more information and exploration of this city of temples, Kathmandu. 

Thank you for reading this article and have a wonderful time ahead!