Capital of Nepal
With a total area of 1,47,181 sq. km, Nepal is a landlocked country in Southern Asia. Nepal, formally the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is a sovereign country. The capital of Nepal is the beautiful city of Kathmandu. It is mainly in the Himalayas but includes some parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Nepal borders Tibet, (an autonomous China) in the north and India in the south, east, and west. Whereas, Bangladesh is just 27km from the southeastern tip of Nepal. The Himalayan range in Nepal lies on the northern borderline between Nepal and China. The main latitude of Nepal is 28° North and its latitude is 84° East. The country holds a population of about 28 million and is the 93rd largest county by area and 49th in terms of population. Nepal occupies only 0.1% of the earth’s surface.
However, The elevation ranges from less than 100m above the sea level in the lowland region to the highest point of 8848.86m in the summit of Mount Everest. Geographically, there are three geological belts in Nepal: the highland, the lowland, and the Midland. Likewise, the lowland or the Terai region covers 17% of the total land area, the mid-hill or the bulky region occupies 68% of the total land area. Similarly, the highland or the Himalayan region occupies a total of 15% of the total land area.
Capital of Nepal
The capital of Nepal is Kathmandu. It is located in the northwestern part of the Kathmandu Valley to the north of the Bagmati river. Kathmandu is set in a valley surrounded by the Himalayas. At an elevation of above 1400m from the sea level, the valley was historically called the Nepal mandala. Covering a total area of 49.45 sq. km, the city is also the largest one with a total population of around 1 million. Kathmandu is popular as the city of temples as 7 out of 10 UNESCO heritage sites are inside Kathmandu Valley. The names of the heritage sites in Kathmandu are Kathmandu Durbar square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Changu Narayan, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Swayambhunath. Kathmandu is a city of ancient art, architecture, and history.
The formation of Kathmandu Valley has several myths and stories. However, people believe that Kathmandu was once a lake full of a lotus floating on it according to Swayambhu Puran. Then, Manjushree from Tibet saw a bright flame coming from the lotus and therefore he wanted to see what the light was. So, he cut the George near the Chobar hill and water from the lake drained out and hence the pond became a valley. After a while, the people start living there. The George still exists at Chobar around 6km southwest of Kathmandu. Later, the bright flame from the lotus turned into Swayambhunath, the oldest stupa in Kathmandu. On the other hand, some believe that Lord Krishna cut the valley with his Sudarshan Chakra and submerged a beautiful city. Therefore, with different myths and beliefs, Kathmandu is incredibly a diverse historic city with amazing architecture.
Nepal is home to the world’s highest peak Mt. Everest. Similarly, its capital, Kathmandu is the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas. Ranking third among the top ten upcoming travel destinations in the world and first in Asia by TripAdvisor, tourism is one of the major economies in Kathmandu. With its diverse culture and heritage, Kathmandu attracts lots of visitors every year as the city generally has a moderate climate with warm summer and mild winter. Therefore, the climate is another factor that attracts visitors to this city. Kathmandu is home to several museums and art galleries as well as Nepal’s art and architecture is a combination of two ancient religions, Hinduism and Buddhism. Kathmandu, in particular, is an ancient city popular for its fine art and crafts.
People of Kathmandu
Kathmandu genuinely deserves the title of Capital of Nepal. Kathmandu is a city with rapid extension and growth in the last decades, but despite the fast life of the citizens, its people are refreshingly friendly and warm towards the visitors. As they believe in “Aathithi deva Baba” meaning, Guest as God. Guests or Visitors in the city are considered equal to God. They serve you, wonderfully welcome you, accompany you, and are helpful. Despite Being a city highly influenced by modernization, the culture of treating visitors equal to God is still practiced in Kathmandu. Once you start knowing people in Kathmandu, you will find out that you are no longer a stranger. However, people belong to various caste cultures, religions, races, classes but they show a sense of humanity among all. People in Kathmandu are warm, friendly, and respectful towards the visitors. Kathmandu is a secular city and home to multiples of caste, religion, race, culture, and tradition.
Kathmandu valley represents the multi-ethnic, multi-language and cultural meeting point of Nepal. People from different backgrounds and different castes, cultures, and religions have come to Kathmandu to form a diverse community. However, the natives of Kathmandu are Newars. Newars are the original natives of Kathmandu since early ages but later after the unification of Nepal led by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, he made Kathmandu the capital of Nepal. So people from every caste, community, language, culture, and religion start residing in the capital of Nepal slowly. Newars are either Hindu or Buddhist. However, there is a difference in their culture and religion than any other people. Their rituals, festivals, foods, and attire are another source of the prime attraction of Kathmandu.
Religion of People of Kathmandu
Besides, Newar people inside the valley still follow their religion and culture seriously and are untouched by modernizations. They hold several Jatras wearing their cultural attires and gathering people playing their musical instruments, the culture is still alive in them.
Likewise, Kathmandu is a combination of every religion. People from every religious background such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sikkim, and Jainism resides here. People here celebrate several festivals like Dashain, Tihar, Chhath, Christmas, Eid, Buddha Jayanti, etc. Similarly, people in Kathmandu are highly active in trade and commerce, business and agriculture as their major occupation. Being the country’s capital, Kathmandu is one of the developed cities in Nepal. Besides, the valley is home to several heritage sites. So, people are even active in tourism as well.
Population of Kathmandu
Being the country’s capital, one can guess that the city has a high population. Because of the service and faculties in Kathmandu, many people from all around the country are highly attracted to Kathmandu. Kathmandu is also the largest city in Nepal. According to the census taken in the year 2011, the population of Kathmandu was around 1 million. Because of the service and facilities in Kathmandu, the number of the population keeps on increasing. The current metro area population of Kathmandu in 2021 is 1472000. As the population has an increase of 3.37% than last year.
Places to see in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is one of the popular places which offers a lot to travelers. There are several places from Tourist Hub Thamel to the monasteries in Kapan. The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu provides you with a wonderful opportunity to explore. There are several places to see or visit in Kathmandu and they are:
Thamel is a tourist hub in Kathmandu. It is a city mainly for the nightlife zone where bars blast out live music and concerts. Besides, the markets and shops in Thamel have hand made handicrafts items, trekking gear, colorful jewelry. Consisting of numerous hotels, lodges, bars, the life of Thamel is buzzing and lively during the nighttime.
Garden of Dreams
Another major tourist attraction in Kathmandu is the Garden of Dreams. By its name itself, it is a garden in Kathmandu located in the Thamel area. It is a garden for refreshments, and a garden in the middle of the busy city. Garden of dreams is a place where one can find peace even being among the crowd. It is a place of peaceful oasis with varieties of flora and fauna from different countries.
Another place to visit in Kathmandu is Narayanhiti Palace. It is a public museum located next to Thamel in Kathmandu. Combining the word Narayan means lord Vishnu and hit means water sprout, this Palace was built by King Mahendra in 1963. The palace was converted into a museum in the year 2008. Before the palace was a workplace of the monarch and Kingdom of Nepal and several occasions were hosted here.
Besides the UNESCO listed heritage site in Kathmandu, other heritage sites are as wonderful and have their significance. Among them, the Kapan monastery is one of them. It is a Buddhist monastery that reflects Tibetian tradition. Each year numbers of people arrive at this monastery to learn meditation and Buddhism. Kapan monastery is not far from Boudhanath stupa.
Taudaha is a small lake on the outskirts of Kathmandu. The name Taudha originates from the Newark word ‘Ta’ meaning snake and ‘Daha’ meaning lake. The lake has its myth as it is believed that Manjushree cut the hill in Chobar which lets the water of this like drain and the lake appear to be smaller in shape. Because of the draining of the lake many mythological creatures who were half human and half snake were left homeless as a result underwater lake Taudaha was built. So, Taudaha is one of the great places to visit in Kathmandu.
Pharping is a small Newari town in Kathmandu. Lying above the Bagmati river, the town is 23 km on the southern edge of the valley. The town has several monasteries and caves and about 1km south of the town is the Dakshinkali temple. It is the oldest site of the hydroelectric power station in Nepal which is a living museum now.
Activities to Do in Kathmandu
Being the country’s capital, there are several short and long activities that one can do in Kathmandu. Whether that be taking a stroll around the old places, or going for an adventure to explore the mountains of Nepal, Kathmandu provides delightful opportunities to the visitors. So some of the activities that can be done in Capital of Nepal, Kathmandu are:
Walk over the old city
Kathmandu is a city of ancient art, architecture, and history. The cities in Kathmandu reflect ancient art and sculptures. You can visit old cities of Kathmandu such as Asan, Indra Chowk where you can find ancient monuments, temples, and houses built in ancient designs.
Shopping hang out in Thamel
Thamel is the tourist hub in Kathmandu. Thamel in Kathmandu is especially a place for tourists. Tourists can enjoy shopping and enjoying the streets out in Thamel. Thamel mostly has everything that handmade Nepalese equipment, clothes, and other things that let you have a memory from Nepal. Besides, you can hang out in the evening in Thamel as night is full of music, concerts, and live shows.
Visit heritage site
Kathmandu is home to 4 of the UNESCO listed heritage sites. So, during your days in Kathmandu you can visit a Hindu temple Pashupatinath, a Buddhist stupa Boudhanath, the oldest stupa Swayambhunath as well as Kathmandu Durbar Square at the heart of Kathmandu.
Visit neighboring district Patan and Bhaktapur
Apart from Kathmandu, the neighboring district Bhaktapur and Patan have a lot to offer to the visitors. One can visit Patan Durbar Square in Patan and Bhaktapur Durbar Square in Bhaktapur. These 2 sites are UNESCO world heritage sites. Besides, in Durbar squares you can even stroll around Khokana and Bungamati in Lalitpur. Similarly visit another heritage site in Bhaktapur, Changunarayan temple.
One of the most popular mountaineering experiences from Kathmandu is the mountain flight where one can witness the stunning view of the World’s highest Everest. Besides Everest, this flight will take you across Gaurishankar, Cho Oyu, Pumori, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and several other peaks. Therefore, the one hour flight to the mountain will give you an amazing experience to encounter the incredible 800m peaks.
Hiking places around Kathmandu
Apart from heritage and religious sites, Kathmandu is even famous for the short hike. Despite being a crowded and busy city, several hiking places in Kathmandu offer peaceful hiking in nature.
Shivapuri National Park hiking
A national park in Kathmandu where you can either walk or go by transport. Shiva Puri is 10 km from Kathmandu which takes an average of 5 hours of total hike. Located at an elevation of 2650m, this place provides a stunning view of the snow called peaks as well as the natural landscapes. Besides, one can visit Budhanilkantha temple and Nagi Gomoa during their hike to the national park. One can even explore several species of flora and fauna here.
Amitabha Monastery hike
The monastery is popular as “Seto Gumba” or white monastery in the local language. The monster is made of white stone and depicts the life of Buddha and Buddhism. The gumba is at an altitude of 1500m which takes about 3 and half hours of walk. The Gumba is 15 km from Swayambhunath where one can have a magnificent view of the Kathmandu Valley. Besides, the Gunpa is famous for its statues that are made up of medicinal clay.
Champadevi hike is a hike to the beautiful hilltop in Kathmandu at an altitude of 2200m. It is a pure nature walk which is at the south-east of Kirtipur, Kathmandu. It is the best destination to catch the glimpse of the Kathmandu Valley as well as the Himalayas such as Ganesh, Annapurna, Langtang, etc. The viewpoint even provides the view of the Phulchoki hill on your right and also Chandragiri hill to your left. The hike is easier and co Vincent which takes about 5 hours.
One of the hills at the highest elevation in Kathmandu is Chandragiri. It starts with a Hindu temple Mathatirtha. After an hour’s walk through the forest one can reach the hill of Chandragiri at an altitude of 2729m. The hike is for those who have a short day for the hike and want to experience the landscapes of Nepal. The hill provides a stunning view of the valley as well as the Himalayas. The hike even lets you observe various species of birds and natural vegetation.
Heritage site in Kathmandu
The art, architecture, and history of Kathmandu are well known all over the world. The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is home to 4 out of 10 UNESCO listed cultural heritage sites. On the other hand, Kathmandu valley consists of 7 out of 10 UNESCO-listed cultural heritage sites out of which four of them are in Kathmandu, two in Bhaktapur, and one in Patan. So, the list of the four heritage site in Kathmandu are:
Pashupatinath is one of the UNESCO heritage sites located 5km north-east of Kathmandu by the bank of the holy river Bagmati. This Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are various collections of temples, ashrams, images, and inscriptions. Pashupatinath is one of the four important religious sites in Asia for the followers of Shiva in Hinduism. It was originally built in the 5th century but was later renovated by Mallas. Only Hindus are allowed to the main temple. Non-Hindus will be amazed by the art and architecture design to build the surrounding temple. It reflects ancient art and architecture. Yearly thousands of Hindu devotees from all around the world visit this temple.
Boudhanath stupa is located 11 km from the center and northeastern edges of Kathmandu. It is another UNESCO world heritage list in Kathmandu. The stupa is 36m high with Mandala style preferences. Boudhanath is also famous as the ‘little Tibet’ because of the strong cultural influence of Tibet. The surrounding environment of Boudhanath gives you the vibes of Tibetan traditions. Likewise, there are various shops, stores, restaurants, and monasteries where there is a great influence of Buddhism.
Swayambhunath is popular as the Monkey Temple. Located on a hilltop, Swayambhunath dates back more than 25000 years and is one of the oldest historical sites in Kathmandu valley. During the clear sunny days, one can even see the views of the snow-capped mountains as well as fabulous panoramic views of Kathmandu city. It is one of the oldest ancient stupas listed in the UNESCO world heritage site. This place is at the top of the hill with a green forest below and many monkey dwellings around because of which the temple is popular as the monkey temple. In addition to this, the stupa has unique features with Lord Buddha eyes and eyebrows painted on it. The stupas have a clean, fresh, and natural environment.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square is a place with old history and rich Nepali culture since the 16th century. Surrounded by various fountains, ancient statues, small ponds and series of courtyards this place carries its historical significance. Located at the heart of the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, it is one of the easiest places to explore. Apart from international visitors, Kathmandu Durbar square is famous even among the locals mostly during the evening time. There is a former Royal palace “Hanuman Dhoka” inside the complex of Durbar Square. It is a place from where Malla King ruled over Kathmandu. Kathmandu Durbar square lets the visitor witness the Nepalese art, architecture, and sculptures as well as the surrounding temples in ancient pagoda style.
Kasthamandap, a temple built from wood from a whole single tree is another prime attraction of Kathmandu Durbar Square. Besides, you will witness the temple of Kumari, the only living goddess in Nepal
Language of Kathmandu
The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is a city with an enormous treasure house of art and sculptures. Apart from the culture, tradition, and religion, the language in Kathmandu is multilingual. But regardless of being a multilingual city the official language of Kathmandu is Nepali. On the other hand, the majority of people living in Kathmandu are Newars. Therefore, Newari is one of the most spoken languages in Kathmandu. Newari is an ancient language of Kathmandu as, before the unification of Nepal, Kathmandu was inherited by Malla rulers. Besides Nepali and Newari, other languages spoken in Kathmandu are the languages of Magar, Rai, Limbu, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Tharu, Tamang, etc. Every caste in Nepal has its mother tongues. As Kathmandu is home to multi-ethnic people, people speak their native language here.
Therefore, Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal is one of the historically and culturally rich cities. The country’s capital is home to various ancient Palaces, Durbar Square, monuments, Stupas, temples, and monasteries. The city is home to various ethnic groups with their language, religion, and culture. Kathmandu is one of the populated cities in Nepal with a total population of more than 1 million. Nepal’s from every corner of the country resides here. The city has become the country’s most important commercial and business center. Kathmandu city is rapidly expanding in terms of development.