Kathmandu Travel Guide, Nepal
Kathmandu is the capital of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Kathmandu is situated in the Kathmandu valley in the very heart of the Himalaya Mountains. This largest Nepalese-city has long been the ultimate Shan-gri-la for the hippies who came here in search of enlightenment; but even if you are not really seeking enlightenment, you will find Kathmandu’s rich history and culture worth exploring. And then, you also have the lures of the many things-to-do in Kathmandu – go trekking, mountain climbing, visit the attractions or simply hang-out at a restaurant or Internet café … options for you are many.
Area: 50.67 sq km
Language: Nepali, Nepal Bhasa or Newari
Monetary unit: Nepalese Rupee
Religion dominates the architecture of Kathmandu and Kathmandu has many stunning temples and stupas. In fact, the city itself derives its name from a structure called Kaasthamandap meaning ‘wooden temple’; standing in the Durbar Square. The 1596-built two-storey pagoda is believed to have been built using the timber of a single tree and has no iron nails or supports. Among the other temples are the world-famous shrines of Pashupatinath and the Kala Bhairav temples. The Swayambhunath stupa is the most famous of the Buddhist stupas in Kathmandu. Other religious architectural wonders of Kathmandu include the Hanuman Dhoka Gate as well as the sculptures of Budhanilkantha and Lord Narasimha. Besides, there are some royal palaces and royal ruins in Kathmandu. (Most of Kathmandu’s palaces and shrines were built under the Malla-rule between the 12th and 18th centuries and are protected as UNESCO World Heritage Sites).
Economy and Infrastructure
Tourism is Nepal’s most important industry and Kathmandu is the nation’s main tourist hub. During the 1970s, Freak Street was where the hippies would head for whenever they came to Nepal. Although Freak Street remains popular among tourists till today, the neighborhood of Thamel has become Kathmandu’s chief vacation address.
Being the capital city, Kathmandu has good infrastructure. The Tribhuvan International Airport is just 25 km away from the city center. There are quality hotels, restaurants and shopping arcades in the city. Many banks, financial institutions, business houses and organizations have their headquarters in Kathmandu.
People and Culture
The people of Kathmandu are quite religious and follow either Hinduism or Buddhism; however, a close study of the culture and religious traditions will reveal that the two religions have adapted elements not only from each other but also from pre-existing animist traditions. Actually, the region has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age and the continuous influx of people following varied cultures and religious traditions has resulted in the evolvement of a rich culture.
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