The bustling city of Kathmandu is Nepal’s capital city and a major tourist attraction. It is one of the three cities in the Kathmandu valley, the most developed and populated region in the country. Kathmandu abounds with historical places, palaces and temples and has traditionally been a melting pot of diverse cultures and religions.
Kathmandu is the first point of entry to the country for most foreign tourists. The Tribhuvan International Airport is located close to the city center and is connected to several international destinations by over 30 airlines.
Durbar Square, The Tourist Heart of Kathmandu
The Durbar Square is the historic seat of royalty and the tourist heart of Kathmandu. It is the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nepal. The must-see places in the Square include Hanuman Dhoka complex with the royal palaces, the Taleju temple and the Kasthamandap or “wooden house” after which Kathmandu was named. The Kumari Bahal or the residence of Kumari, the “living goddess” and the 17th century Shiva temple Maju Deval are some of the other attractions in the Durbar Square.
Popular Hindu Temples and Buddhist Stupas
The Pashupatinath Temple and the Guheswari Temple near Kathmandu are among the most sacred temples for Hindus in Nepal. The Budhanilkantha Temple at a distance of 5 miles north of the city is famous for the huge statue of Lord Vishnu, reclining on a bed of snakes.
The Boudhanath Stupa with a diameter of 120 meters is the largest shrine in Nepal and is the religious center of Nepal’s Buddhist community. The Swayambhunath Stupa, the oldest and most sacred Buddhist monument in Nepal, stands on a small hillock and provides an excellent view of the Kathmandu valley.
Museums in Kathmandu
The Narayanhiti Palace Museum, which served as the primary residence of Nepal’s royal family for over a century until monarchy was abolished in 2008, is another place of interest for visitors to Nepal.
The National Museum has a vast collection of weapons and artifacts from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal while the Natural History Museum has a unique collection of butterflies, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals and plants.
Thamel is a commercial neighborhood and the center of tourism industry in Kathmandu. It is extremely popular among tourists with numerous hotels, restaurants and shops catering to them. Thamel also serves as the pre-base camp for mountaineers and is the first full Wi-Fi zone of Nepal.
Kathmandu is ranked among the top 25 traveler’s choice destinations in the world by TripAdvisor, the leading travel website.