Set against the backdrop of the majestic Himalayan mountains lies a tranquil valley called Kathmandu. The capital city of Nepal is adorned with stunning temples, monasteries, and stupas. The city sees hundreds of Indian tourists and pilgrims every year to discover their spiritual calling and for various pilgrimages. Go explore the city for some exciting adventures with our ultimate Kathmandu travel guide which has everything you need for a wholesome trip!
According to local legend, the Kathmandu Valley was created by the Buddhist saint Manjushree. He used his sword to break the valley wall and drained the huge lake that filled the valley. About 10,000 years later, archaeologists discovered that the lake drained naturally.
Kathmandu has an extensive history and its golden era began in the 4th century AD, with the rise of the Licchavi kingdom. Subsequent decades saw the rise and fall of many successions and empires. Finally, the Malla kings gained control of the valley in the 11th century. With the Malla rule, the capital saw the construction of several temples, palaces, and stupas, rivaling the neighboring kingdoms of Patan and Bhaktapur.
Later in 1768, it was under Prithvi Narayan Shah’s rule that the three kingdoms were united. In 2008, the monarchy rule was abolished and the city saw a democratic government.
Kathmandu’s art, literature, music, and festivals all have religious and spiritual roots. The two main religions followed here are Hinduism and Buddhism. Visitors will find that every prominent Hindu and Buddhist festival is celebrated with great vigor here. Since religion is so intricately woven into Kathmandu’s tapestry, you’ll find stunning temples, shrines, monasteries, gompas, stupas, and palaces scattered throughout the city.
Apart from the obvious architectural wonders, Kathmandu has a lively art and music scene that is worth exploring. Moreover, the city’s cuisine is inspired by both Indian and Tibetan cuisines, making it a treat in itself. Some of the most popular dishes are Dal Bhat (a rice and lentil soup dish), Tibetan momos (steamed dumplings with vegetables or meat), and Thukpa (a Tibetan noodle soup).
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Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport is well-connected to countries from all over the world via 30 international airlines. The airport receives a great number of flights from Southeast Asia and Europe. You’ll find several direct flights from major Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Varanasi. Popular airlines that travel back and forth from Nepal to India include Air India, IndiGo, Jet Airways, and Nepal Airways.
There is no direct rail line from India to Kathmandu yet. But, India and Nepal are connected by a rail line from Jainagar in Bihar to Janakpur in Nepal. From Janakpur, you can reach Kathmandu either by road or flight. Flights are the fastest mode of transport and take about half an hour from Janakpur Airport to Kathmandu Airport. On the other hand, traveling by road is the cheaper option but will take you about 3.5 hours from Janakpur. You can either take a cab or travel by bus to reach Kathmandu.
Kathmandu and India is well-connected by buses and they are the easiest and cheapest way to travel. Buses start from Varanasi, Patna, and Gorakhpur to the Nepalese city Sunauli. From there, you can either take a local bus or hire a cab to reach Kathmandu city. There is a newly launched bus service from Delhi to Kathmandu which takes about 25 hours to reach.
The months between September and December are generally the best time to visit Kathmandu, owing to the pleasant climate. You’ll be welcomed into the city with clear skies, dry weather, and a plethora of cultural events during this time. The bright and sunny skies complement the view of the glaciers and mountains. The dry climate makes exploring the city and indulging in adventure activities quite easy and comfortable.
Another good time to visit Kathmandu is during the spring season from March through April. Though the temperatures are rising at this time, you’ll be able to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the valley with rhododendron flowers in full bloom.
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Traveling in and around Kathmandu is very easy with public transportation like buses, rickshaws, and taxis available at almost every corner of the city. The local buses are cheap and easy to navigate, and they connect most of the city. You can get buses from the Kathmandu Bus Station, which is the main bus station in the city.
You can also hail a cab from just about any part of the city. Taxis run all over the city, though they do not run on meter rates. So get your bargaining skills polished beforehand, to negotiate an affordable price. The taxis are usually white-colored Maruti Suzuki cars. Apart from this, you can even rent a car for yourself. Though this is on the more expensive side, it comes with the comfort of being able to travel easily without the hassle of looking for cabs and haggling for good prices.
Another mode of transport popular in the city is cycle-rickshaws. They are quite cheap and a fun way to travel, but are a little slow for obvious reasons. Just like you would with cabs in Kathmandu, up your bargaining game before hailing one of these.
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‘Kathmandu Is Exclusively A Religious And Spiritual Hub.’
Well, the city does have several temples, monasteries, stupas, gompas, and religious sculptures, which are the major tourist attractions here. However, Kathmandu has so much more to offer, especially if you’re looking for an adventure! For extreme sports lovers, the Everest Base Camp trek is the one you must experience. You can go hiking, trekking, river rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, rock climbing, zip-lining, and mountain biking as well.
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One of the largest stupas in the world, the Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most significant tourist attractions in Kathmandu. Located on the ancient trade route that comes in from Tibet, the stupa is a magnificent remnant of Buddhist culture. The monument showcases a white-washed dome and a beautifully gilded tower, painted with the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha. The stupa attracts hundreds of pilgrims every year, offering their prayers to the lord. It is also believed to hold the remains of the last Buddha, Kashyapa, while others claim it to be the tomb of Gautama Buddha.
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Hinduism is just as popular in Nepal as Buddhism. So, don’t be surprised to come across several Hindu temples and sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses here. Pashupatinath Temple is one such Hindu shrine in Kathmandu. It is located on the banks of the beautiful Bagmati River and is devoted to Lord Shiva. The temple is spread across a large area with several smaller temples and ashrams. The sanctum houses the head of one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. One can see the stunning collection of scriptures and images of the Hindu Gods on a walk around the monument.
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Sitting atop Semgu Hill on the outskirts of Kathmandu is one of the most important shrines of the city, the Swayambhunath Stupa. With a wide, white dome and several smaller shrines surrounding it, the stupa is an important architectural marvel of the region. The sanctum is one of the holiest sites among Buddhists and draws hundreds of devotees to its doors every year. The complex is home to the main stupa, several shrines, temples, a monastery, a museum, and a library. It is also called the Monkey Temple, owing to the several monkeys that have made the area their home.
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Thamel is the commercial corridor of Kathmandu and a haven for tourists looking to shop and taste some of the city’s finest. The lanes here have several shops, hotels, restaurants, pubs, and even temples located here. These narrow alleys have been around for over four decades and have everything from clothes, food, and music, to trekking gear and souvenir shops. This maze of street-side stalls and shops is worth a visit, especially if you love shopping, trying out new food, or both!
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The Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the three durbar squares in the country and has witnessed several rulers and reigns over its glorious life. The Durbar square highlights the remarkable legacy of Kathmandu’s architecture. The complex comprises Basantpur square, which is a former royal elephant stable, the main durbar square, and another durbar square near Hanuman Dhoka. Today, the site houses several souvenir stalls, temples, and beautiful walkways for the public.
Kathmandu is a stunning city with an interesting history and culture, all of which makes it worth visiting. Laden with magnificent architecture, religious structures, lip-smacking cuisine, and a whole lot of adventure activities, a Kathmandu trip is worth every penny. Planning your next holiday to the capital city of Nepal and don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, our Kathmandu travel guide has all that you will need!
Why Is Kathmandu Famous?
Kathmandu is famous for its religious monuments and relics. It is home to several temples, shrines, monasteries, stupas, and mythological sculptures that attract thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year.
Is Mount Everest Visible From Kathmandu?
Yes, one can see Mount Everest and other prominent mountain ranges of the Himalayas from the Kathmandu valley, especially during the spring and autumn months.
How Can I Go To Kathmandu From India?
You can get direct flights from major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Varanasi to the Kathmandu International Airport. Recently, a direct bus from Delhi to Kathmandu has also started, though the journey takes about 25 hours in total.
Which Are The Best Months To Visit Kathmandu?
The months from September to December are the best months to visit Kathmandu owing to the dry weather, clear skies, and the beginning of the festive season in the city. This time is perfect to go sightseeing and even indulge in adventurous activities like trekking and paragliding.
Do Indians Require Visa To Travel To Nepal?
No. Indian citizens can show either their Indian passport or Election Card issued by the Indian Election Commission to travel to Nepal.
What Language Is Spoken In Nepal?
The most spoken language in Nepal is Nepali, while the second language is Maithili (an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Northeast India and Nepal).
Do Indian SIM Cards Work In Nepal?
Yes, Indian SIM cards do work in Nepal. But make sure that you switch on your data roaming and are connected to active data. Though you cannot make use of Indian calling minutes and Talktime in Nepal and will be charged extra.
How Many Days Are Enough For Kathmandu?
3-4 days are good enough to explore Kathmandu city. This time is enough to check out the major attractions and have day trips to the historic monuments, and the marketplaces. If time permits, you could even try squeezing in one or two adventure activities.