11 Most Popular Places to Visit in Kathmandu (2022)

Last Updated on May 19th, 2022

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal located in the Bagmati Province of Nepal. it is located at the alleviation of 1600 feet or 1400 meters above sea level, at the coordinates of 27.7172° N, 85.3240° E. Kathmandu shares its border with Lalitpur south, Bhaktapur in its northwest, and Kavare Palanchowk in the eastern direction.

Kathmandu is named after a temple called Kaasthamandap which is made entirely from the wood of a single tree. Over the years, it has been called various names such as Kantipur, a brick city by the foreigners for its brick-paved streets. It has also been known as the city of pagodas.

This city has a long history along with some myths as well and a lot of world heritage sites. But despite being the most developed city in Nepal, it is still filled with culture and traditions that are found nowhere in the world.

Besides these, Kathmandu has rich art and economy built by its residents from all over Nepal – hence it is called the melting pot of Nepal.

History

As per the myth, the valley was once a huge lake named Nagdaha (home of the serpents). It was cut and drained by the Bodhishatwa ( person who is on the path towards Buddhahood ) named Manjushree at Chovar with his flaming sword.

He then established a city called Manjupattan and made Dharmarkar the ruler of the Valley. But all good things must come to an end. Soon enough a demon called Banasur came to the valley, invaded and blocked off the George made by Manjushree, and turned this newly settled land back into a valley. 

Then the Lord Krishan defeated the evil monster and brought the Gopals along with him to settle in the valley. This is where the line between myth and history is a bit blurred. Over a period of time, different dynasties ruled in Kathmandu valley. Gopal Dynasty was the first dynasty that ruled over the Kathmandu valley.

Different Dynasty who ruled over the Kathmandu valley are:

Political/Administrative Division

Kathmandu district has 11 local government bodies with 10 municipalities and 1 metropolitan city. Similarly, it has 10 electoral constituencies.

Mayors with their respective municipalities are as follows:

S.NMunicipalitiesMayor
1Kathmandu Metropolitan CityBidya Sunder Shakya
2Budhanilkantha Urban MunicipalityUddhav Kharel
3Chandragiri Urban MunicipalityGhanashyam Giri
4Dakshinkali Urban MunicipalityMohan Basnet
5Gokarneshwor Urban Municipality
Santosh Chalise
6Kageshwori Manahara Urban MunicipalityKrishnahari Thapa
7Kirtipur Urban MunicipalityRamesh Maharjan
8Nagarjun Urban Municipality Mohan Basnet
9Shankharapur Urban MunicipalitySuwarna Shrestha
10Tarkeshwor Urban MunicipalityRameshwor Bohara
11Tokha Urban MunicipalityPrakash Adhikari

Members of the House of Representatives or Pratinidhi Sabha from Kathmandu District with their respective constituencies are as follows:

Constituency No.Members of Parliament
1Prakash Man Singh
2Madhav Kumar Nepal
3Krishna Rai
4Gagan Thapa
5Ishwor Pokharel
6Bhimsen Das Pradhan
7Ram Bir Manandhar
8Jeevan Ram Shrestha
9Krishna Gopal Shrestha
10Rajan KC

Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is divided into 32 wards, each represented by an elected ward member. The mayor and deputy mayor are also elected through popular vote.

Budhanilkantha Municipality, Gokarneshwor Municipality, Chandragiri Municipality, Tokha Municipality, Budhanilakantha Municipality, Dakshinkali Municipality, Kageshwori Manahora Municipality, Kirtipur Municipality, Nagarjun Municipality, and Shankharapur Municipality are 10 municipalities of Kathmandu.

Places to visit in Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a very popular tourist destination in Nepal. Tourists come to Kathmandu for a variety of reasons and there are a lot of things to see and do in the city. If you ever find yourself in Kathmandu just make sure to check these out.

Pashupatinath

Pashupatinath is the most popular and famous Hindu temple in Nepal. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a golden dome. The Pashupatinath Temple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

The temple is famous for its gold-plated roof, silver doors, and woodcarvings of the finest quality decorate the pagoda inside and out. The temple has two layers of roofs, one made from copper and the other from gold. One of the major Festivals of the temple is Maha Shivaratri on which day over 700,000 devotees visit from Nepal and India.

Boudhanath stupa

Boudhanath Temple is the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal, which is also listed as a World Heritage Site. The temple is located on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu at Bouddha. The stupa holds great value to Buddhists because it was built to memorialize the visit of Lord Buddha to this region from Kapilvastu.

Budhanilkantha statue

The Budhanilkantha Temple is famous for its unique attraction, a huge sleeping Vishnu statue. The statue is one of the largest stone carvings in Nepal, and it is also known as Narayan. It lies in a pond called Shesh Narayan, which means “the resting place of Vishnu.

Read Also : 10 Reasons Why Nepal Should Be Your Next Holiday Destination

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is a complex of palaces, courtyards, and temples that was once the seat of the ancient Malla and Shah Kings who ruled over the Kathmandu city.

Along with these palaces, you will see beautiful temples dedicated to different Hindu gods like Shiva and Vishnu. There are also temples that are dedicated to Kumari (living goddess) who are still worshipped by people from many parts of Nepal.

Dharhara

Dharhara is the tallest tower in Nepal built by Bhimsen Thapa, the Prime Minister of Nepal in 1832. It is located in the heart of Kathmandu city. Dharhara is also known as Bhimsen Stambha. It is about 60 meters tall and has nine floors.

Dharhara is famous for its beauty and elegance. You can see the beautiful view of Kathmandu valley from Dharahara.

Swayambhunath

Swayambhunath stupa is one of the oldest temples in Nepal, located on the top of a hillock. This hilltop is called Swayambhunath, which means “Self-Created” or “Self-Existent.”

Swayambhunath

Swayambhu also holds one of the greatest views of Kathmandu in all directions and is surrounded by several temples, shrines, and monasteries.

The stupa is also known as The Monkey Temple due to the many monkeys that inhabit it. This is what makes it one of my favorite places to visit in Nepal.

Hiking in Kathmandu

Besides this, you can also take a trip to Nagarkot and enjoy a chill and peaceful day on the hike or make a plan and start a trekking route to Nagarkot. It is filled with breathtaking scenarios and is a few difficult trails for those who are not used to all of this. If Nagarkot seems a bit too hard for you, you can take a hike to Sundari Jal as well. Some popular hiking spots of Kathmandu Includes:

Stroll in the Street Streets

You can visit local and traditional cafes and food halls to enjoy local cuisines. There are tons of local cafes and food stalls in Kathmandu each with its own specialties and stories. This is also a great way to know the city from the inside and know the local people, their lifestyle, and how they act on a daily basis.

Parks and Picnic spots in Kathmandu

Kathmandu is a city with many parks and picnic spots. These spots are always crowded with people for picnics or for hanging out. They are also great places for chilling out and enjoying your weekend.

The parks and picnic spots in Kathmandu are listed below:

  • Bishnumati Park(Bishnumati Khalanga)
  • Budhanilkantha Temple
  • Christ’s Kutir, Satungal
  • Garden of Dreams, Thamel
  • Indra Sarovar(Taudaha), Kirtipur
  • Jhamsikhel Park(Muktinath Park)
  • Nag Pokhari Garden
  • Narayanhiti Palace Museum Garden, Kathmandu
  • National Natural History Museum, Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu
  • Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, Budhanilkantha

Major rivers and Lakes in Kathmandu

Just like a country, the capital city also has many rivers and ponds. A number of rivers flow through Kathmandu Valley including

  • Bagmati River
  • Bishnumati River,
  • Rudramati (Dhobikhola) River,
  • Manohara River
  • Tukucha River

Some of the popular lakes and ponds in Kathmandu are

  • Indra Daha
  • Shesh Narayan kund
  • Matatirtha kund
  • Taudaha Lake
  • Rani pokhari
  • Kamal pokhari
  • Naga pokhari
  • Gahana pokhari

Culture and Ethnic Groups

Did you know that the natives of Kathmandu Valley are Newars? Well, this may not be big news to you but did you know that despite being the natives they only occupy 30% of the total population of the valley- or to be more specific Kathmandu City?

While Newari people are the natives, ever since King Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered Kathmandu in his campaign of Unifying Nepal, the people of other ethnic groups have slowly but steadily established their home in Nepal.

As of 2021, the ethnic distribution of Kathmandu city is at 30% Newari, 25% Matwali, 20% Khas Brahmins, 18.5% Chhetris, and the rest from other ethnic groups.

Due to the Diverse Culture Frstilabs of this city have also diversified over the course of time. While the festivals of Newari people still take a lot of festivals celebrated in Kathmandu, you can also find Rai, Brahman, and other festivals taking place in the streets of this City. 

These Festivals Includes

Dashain and Tihar 

This is the national festival of Nepal and is widely celebrated by just about every community. Needless to say, it is celebrated with a big bang in Kathmandu – the Capital of Nepal

Buddha Jayanti

This is a festival meant to celebrate the birth of Lord Buddha. While not specific to any ethnic groups, many Matwai groups which include Tamang, Manar, Gurung, etc and Newari celebrate this festival as one of their major ones.

Gai Jatra

Similar to Buddha Jayanti, this festival is not specific to any specific ethnic group but is rather specific to religion – Hinduism. This is a festival meant to pray for the safe passage of the deceased soul – based on the legend/myth of a cow (which is considered a holy animal in Hinduism) helping the deceased soul to cross the river that divides the boundary of life and death to eternal peace. 

Obviously, these are not all of the festivals that are celebrated in Kathmandu but just 3 of the noteworthy ones. You will need to Visit Kathamndu and stay here for a year to know all of the festivals celebrated in his place. Even then you may barely get a glimpse into the life of the Kathmandu Citizens. 

Hotels and Holiday Packages

Kathmandu is home to a ton of different hotels and all of them offer a wide range of holiday packages. So listing them out all there will be a pain. Don’t worry though as we have got another one covering that. For now just know that Kathmandu is home to some of the top hotels like Soaltee Crown Plaza, Hyatt Regency, and Yak and Yeti.

Besides these famous hotels, we also have some lesser-known but superb hotels like Hotel Nepalaya and Hotel Shanker. 

Popular Hotels Near kathmandu

  • Soaltee Hotel

As for the holiday packages, just take a look at this:

PackageNo of DaysPrice
Short Escape to Nepal3nights/4days11,999
Divine Kathmandu3nights/4days15,899
Beautiful Nepal3nights/4days16,900
Picturesque Nepal5nights/6days20,999

These are just some of the holiday packages but you get the gist of it. The price is determined by how long you stay and the services that you require.

Population of Kathmandu

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the population of Kathmandu in 2011 was 17,44,245.

As per Census 2011, there are total 9,13,001 men and 8,31,239 women in Kathmandu Metropolitan City. The number of households (HH) is 4,36,344. The age structure of Kathmandu Metropolitan City is as follows:

0–14 years: 20% (male 74,690/female 70,955)

15–24 years: 14.1% (male 53,745/female 50,816)

25–54 years: 39.2% (male 147,121/female 138,097)

55–64 years: 9% (male 35,693/female 30,564)

65 years and over: 10%

Climate

While the city has somewhat mild temperatures all over the year, the summer can get a bit hot on the roads. During summers, it is best to stick to the ally and the gallis.

As the spring comes, so does the rain. Be careful of the puddles as the city ally is filed with them. Along with that, there is also the occasional random downfall as well.

Read Also: Best Time To Visit Nepal

As for the winter, the streets are bone dry and the early morning wind is chilling. While not as cold as in the mountains – it still is cold enough to make people sick in a few days. The following is the average temperature range of Kathmandu each month.

  JanFebMarAprMayJuneJulyAugSepOctNovDec
KathmanduHigh18°C19°C25°C28°C30°C29°C29°C28°C28°C27°C23°C19°C
Low2°C4°C7°C12°C16°C19°C20°C20°C19°C13°C7°C3°C

Transportation

It is safe to say that being the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is not immune to traffic jams and other minor issues. Despite that, there are a few major transportation options that any local, or visitor can choose

Bus/tempo (fixed-route transport)

These are the simplest method of transport for those who don’t know the entire route. While public busses can get a bit crowded and have a fixed route, it has more accommodation than any other forms of transport and they are quick. Meanwhile, while the tempo is slow and has a smaller route than the public busses, they are less crowded and reach the inner parts of the cities.

Pathao and Taxi

While Taxi is by no means a new service, Pathao is and both of them serve the same function. You pay them and they travel to the destination of your will. The only difference is that taxi is a four-wheeler transport service that you can find on any major road and Pathao (along with similar services like this) is booked online and is a two-wheeled ride.

Renting a Vehicle

If one knows the route, they can either hire a cab, rent a taxi or hire a bicycle. While these are a bit more expensive than the bus, they will have full control over the route and the destination where you are traveling to. 

If all else fails people can just take the local microbus and experience the jam-packed life of the average Kathmandu citizen.

Destruction by 2015 Earthquake

On April 25th, 2015 Nepal was struck by a devastating earthquake that measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was east of Gorkha District at Barpak, Gorkha, and its hypocenter was at a depth of approximately 15 km. The quake destroyed Many historic buildings and many people lost their lives as houses collapsed around them.

Several major buildings like Dharahara and UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley were destroyed, including some at Pashupatinath, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, and the Changu Narayan temple.

Conclusion

In short, Kathmandu is one of the amazing cities of Nepal filled with its own niche diversity within the culture. It is a small world in itself filled with from weird to wonderful. Being the capital of Nepal, it is no doubt one of the most developed cities in Nepal but just because it is developed doesn’t mean that it has strayed away from its core culture – in fact, Kathmandu is filled with them to this day.

Hope you enjoyed this. If you have any suggestions for us, do let us know in the comments below. And as always, thank you for reading till the end. 

Quick Facts on Kathmandu
ProvinceBagmati Province
Coordinates27.710473° N, 85.348921° E
Total Area49.45 km2 (19.09 sq mi)
Elevation1,400 m (4,600 ft)
Mayor Balendra ( Balen ) Shah
Deputy mayorSunita Dangol
Total Population1,744,240
Zip Code44600


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