Kathmandu is the capital of the country nestled between four major mountains: Shivapuri, Nagarjun, Phulchoki and Chandragiri. This place is packed with its history, unique culture, religions, fascinating arts and architecture along with the scenic beauty of nature. Kathmandu can be an intoxicating, amazing and exhausting place for the travelers from different parts of the world.
1. Embrace Kathmandu’s divine side
With its throng of religions and deities, in no doubt Kathmandu is the City of Temples. As being ruled by different dynasty including Lichhavi’s and Malla’s throughout the ages you can find Kathmandu as the perfect canvas of fascinating art, architecture and sculptures.
The spiritual sides of Kathmandu are buzzing, vibrant centre of active devotion. Admire the masterpiece in Hindu architecture, Pashupatinath temple the holiest sites in all of Hindus. Marvel at the monkey temple, Swyambhunath to enjoy the stunning view of the valley, perfect sunset snap and mix iconography of Buddhist and Hindus. Explore the Boudhanath Stupa, most iconic and photographed sites rich in symbolism consisting five statues of Dhyani Buddhas, nine levels and 13 rings from its base to apex representing different aspects of Buddhism.
2. Visit Kathmandu’s three durbar square
Your visit to Kathmandu would not be worth if you do not visit these three beauties. Turning the pages of history, Nepal was split into three main kingdoms- Basantapur (Kathmandu), Bhaktapur and Patan, each having a royal palaces and surrounding squares located in the valley. They are the ideal place to admire Nepal ancient architecture, Newari woods cravings and notable traditions. The beauty and intricacy of these squares has made it to be listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
3. Wander the streets of Thamel
Thamel located right in the heart of the city with all the major attractions and transport routes close by, is colorful, active and hasty. Thamel is central hub of tourists with narrow streets and alleyways. It is a cool place to hang out meeting smiling locals and the fellow travelers. Thamel has everything that a travelers need from hotels to guesthouse, local markets to supermarkets, bookstores to pirated DVD’s store and restaurants, bars of your choice.
4. Seek out an earthly paradise
A delightful place where you can escape the vibrant and chaotic streets of Kathmandu is ‘Garden of Dreams’. This place is an oasis, right in the heart of the Kathmandu with ornate neo-classical pavilions, well manicured gardens and expensive lawn. You can admire the unique flora brought from different countries along with some studies on history. It’s a best place to hang out enjoying peace with nature’s beauty free from constant craziness of everyday life.
5. Taste all delicious Nepali food (learn to cook as well)
Nepal has variety of snacks however Dal-Bhat is traditional Nepali meal consisting of rice, lentil based soup and other condiments. For snacks you should start with Momos, a kind of dumplings famous among Nepalese. You should enjoy street food including Pakauda and Samosa. Likewise, eating Newari food especially Choila, a spicy grilled buffalo meat. If you prefer soup, there is thukpa and thenthuk, a delicious mix of meat, noodles and vegetables.
You can also join cookery class learning to prepare the Nepali food you enjoyed the most. As truly experiencing a destination is worth only when you understand the food culture of that place.
6. Celebrate festivals and jatras
Kathmandu, being the residents Newari community is rich in festivals, events and Jatras. These festivals are mysterious, colorful, chaotic and pleasant. The major festival of Nepal is Dashain and Tihar. Besides this, it includes Shivaratri, Lhosar, Bisket Jatra, Machhendranath Jatra, Holi and so on. These all carry its own religious importance with some mythology and history emerging from socio-cultural aspect of daily life.
7. Hiking and trekking
Hiking and trekking around Kathmandu valley offers rich insight into the lives, history, culture and religion together with the daily toils in the field of its inhabitants. Shivapuri, Chisopani and Nagarkot trek is the best for those having less time to stay in Nepal. You can enjoy spectacular view of different mountain range including Langtang Himal, Jugal Himal, Ganesh Himal Gaurishankar Himal and so on along with watersheds and forest.
8. Explore villages in Kathmandu valley
Making a visit to villages in Kathmandu valley is to have a lifetime’s experience about the traditional way of living untouched by the modern development. Two of the most popular villages are Bungmati and Khokana free from traffics, pollution and urban sprawl.