Kathmandu is the capital and largest city of Nepal.
It is situated in a bowl shaped valley in central Nepal. The valley is historically termed as “Nepal Mandala” and has been the home of Newar people, a cosmopolitan urban civilization in the Himalayas foothills.
As of March 2020, the population of Kathmandu is about 2.5 million people.
The city covers a total area of 600 square kilometers (230 square miles).
The average elevation is 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) above sea level.
The history of Kathmandu is really a history of the Newar people, the main inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley.
While the documented history of the valley goes back to the Kiratis, around the 7th century BC, the foundation of Kathmandu itself dates from the 12th century AD, during the time of the Malla dynasty.
Originally known as Kantipur, the city flourished during the Malla era, and the bulk of its superb temples, buildings and other monuments date from this time.
The Nepali name “Kathmandu” comes from Kasthamandap, which stood in Durbar Square. In Sanskrit, Kastha means “Wood” and Maṇḍapa means “Pavilion”. This public pavilion, also known as Maru Satta in Newar language, was rebuilt in 1596 by Biseth in the period of King Laxmi Narsingh Malla. The three-story structure was made entirely of wood and used no iron nails nor supports. According to legend, all the timber used to build the pagoda was obtained from a single tree. The structure collapsed during a major earthquake on 25 April 2015.
The earliest Western reference to Kathmandu appears in an account of Jesuit Fathers Johann Grueber and Albert d’Orville. In 1661, they passed through Nepal on their way from Tibet to India, and reported that they reached “Cadmendu”, the capital of Nepal kingdom.
Kathmandu served as the seat of the ruling Shah family of the Gurkha people from 1768 to 2008.
Today, Kathmandu is the seat of government of the Nepalese republic established in 2008 and is part of the Bagmati province.
Kathmandu is and has been for many years the centre of Nepal’s history, art, culture, and economy.
Kathmandu Durbar Square in front of the old royal palace of the former Kathmandu Kingdom is one of three Durbar (royal palace) Squares in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Boudhanath is a stupa in Kathmandu. Located about 11 km (6.8 mi) from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal. The stupa dominates the skyline and is one of the largest stupas in the world. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 gompas (Tibetan convent) around Boudha. As of 1979, Boudha Stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhu, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area.
Swayambhu is an ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. The Tibetan name for the site means ‘Sublime Trees’, for the many varieties of trees found on the hill. For the Buddhist Newars, in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it is second only to Boudha.
The Pashupatinath Temple is a famous and sacred Hindu temple complex that is located on the banks of the Bagmati River, approximately 5 km north-east of Kathmandu. This temple complex was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites’s list in 1979.
Narayanhiti Palace converted to Narayanhiti Palace Museum in 2008, is a palace in Kathmandu, which long served as the residence and principal workplace of the reigning Monarch of the Kingdom of Nepal. Located in the capital city of Kathmandu, the palace was the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality.
Thamel is a commercial neighborhood located in Kathmandu. The neighborhood has been the centre of the tourist industry in Kathmandu for over four decades, starting from the hippie days when many artists came to Nepal and spent weeks in Thamel. It is the hottest-spot for tourism inside the Kathmandu valley. Thamel is known by its narrow alleys crowded with various shops and vendors.
The Garden of Dreams is a neo-classical garden in Kaiser Mahal Kathmandu, built in 1920. Designed by Kishore Narshingh, it consists of 6,895 square metres (74,220 square feet) of gardens with three pavilions, an amphitheater, ponds, pergolas, and urns. From the mid-1960s, upon the death of its patron, Kaiser Sumsher Rana, it lay in neglect but was recently restored with the help of the Austrian government.
Kathmandu is home to a number of museums and art galleries, including the National Museum of Nepal and the Natural History Museum of Nepal.
The staple food of most people in Kathmandu is dal bhat. This consists of rice and lentil soup, generally served with vegetable curries, achar and sometimes Chutney.
The spelling “Katmandu” was often used in older English-language text. More recently, however, the spelling “Kathmandu” has become more common in English.