Population: Half a million
Wandering through the cobbled streets and
alleys of Kathmandu is like going back and forth in time. It was in the
1950s that the government of Nepal decided to open its borders to
foreigners. The sudden influx of modernity and tourists has made for some
interesting and eye-catching contrasts in this Himalayan Shangri-La.
Kathmandu Valley is dotted with countless shrines, temples, palace
squares, charming old bazaars and ageless sculptures. Very much the abode
of Lord Shiva and Guatama Buddha, a patron saint of the Sikhs has also
walked here. Not to mention the Living Goddess, Kumari, who is venerated
Kathmandu is a
magically romantic place where, fact entwines with fiction, myth with
legend, religion with mysticism, adventure with meditation and modern-day
governance with tradition. It is also a pulsating tourist center with a
mind-blowingly hectic nightlife. The area around the Kathmandu Guest House
has mutated into quite a throbbing little quarter in the evenings, with
dueling nightclub sound systems blaring across the alleyways, noisy bands
of revellers looking for action, and the cops and the rikshawallahs
waiting outside for closing time. The Thamel and Freak Street bars attract
many budget travelers. They serve beer, improvised cocktails and music,
often continuing into the early hours behind locked doors. The fancier
nightclubs outside Thamel attract a more diverse clientele: Nepali
men and women, expatriates. All in All, Kathmandu will unfold to you
whichever aspect you are looking for : religious, adventurous, meditative,
mystic or entertaining.
Kathmandu is the arrival point for most of the visitors in
Nepal. This small mountain sheltered valley is the historic center
and the Capital of Nepal. This is the place where kingdoms rose and
fell, palaces and temples are built and rebuilt, art and cultures
are refined and protected. Kathmandu city is the largest in Nepal
and is surrounded by green hills all over. Scattered around the
valley are hundreds of temples and shrines, traditional villages and
agriculture scenes of timeless beauty. You can see all these places
by taxi, cycle, bus and by foot.
History:The Newars are
regarded as the original inhabitants of this majestic valley, but
their origins are shrouded in mystery. They speak Newari language
and their physical features range from distinctively Mongoloid.
Kathmandu Valley has long been a cultural and racial melting pot
with people coming from both east and west. This fusion has resulted
in the unique Newari culture that is responsible for the valley's
superb art and architecture. Kathmandu was once run and ruled by
Malla Kings during 1600s and 1700s. The unification of Nepal in 1768
by Gorkhas King Prithivi Narayan Shah singled the end of the
Kathmandu Valleys fragmentation. Nepali language spoken by the Khas
of western Nepal, replaced Newari as the country's language of
Geography:Surrounded by the
green hills, Kathmandu Valley is about 25 km from east to west and
20km from north to south. It lies at the height of 1300m. You can
see Kathmandu Valley clearly while you are fly in. This valley is
specially known for growing rice corn, wheat and vegetables.
However, nowadays this valley is increasingly dependent on imported
food and fuels. All the rivers drain towards the center of the
valley and join the Bagmati river. Geologist have confirmed ancient
myths that claim the valley once lay under water.
Climate:The Kathmandu Valley
has the pleasant climate most of the year. Although there are
forests, snow is unheard of and the monsoons are nowhere near.
Between October and March it can become quite cold at night and the
days become short, although its sunny and warm between mid-morning
and afternoon. In April things start to heat up and there are often
storm in the afternoon.
People:Still today, Newars
form the largest single group in the valley as well as in smaller
towns and villages. Bahuns, Tamangs and Chettris live on the
surrounding hills. People living in Kathmandu Valley are mostly
Hindus and Buddhist and they are very much related to each others
religion. People living here speak Newari and Nepali mostly.
Religion:In Kathmandu Valley
majority of people are Hindu and fall under a caste system, although
there are still second majority of Buddhists. This valley is full of
temples, shrines and stupas where both Buddhists and Hindus go for
their regular praying. Nepal is the only country where people
worship Gods of all religion.