An Impression of the real Kathmandu

The hustle and bustle of life, busy roads, traffic jams, tall buildings, markets, and luxurious restaurants, this is the very first impression that Kathmandu gives to any visitors. If you only know about this Kathmandu, then you might not be aware that there is a beautiful cultural and historical side of Kathmandu.

Kathmandu now is the capital and probably the largest city of Nepal. It is one of the three districts of the Kathmandu Valley. With urbanization, the city has changed into a pollution and traffic-congested city, which is quite challenging for visitors. But that doesn’t define Kathmandu at all.

The real Kathmandu still has a rich cultural heritage, and many historic sites, including ancient temples and palaces. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley and among them, four lie within the Kathmandu District. Those heritage sites are Swyambhunath Stupa, Bauddhanath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, Changu Narayan Temple, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, and Basantapur Durbar Square.

Bauddhanath Kathmandu
Bauddhanath Kathmandu Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

All of these sites are equally important in the essence of Nepalese history, culture, religion, art, and architecture. These sites depict the harmony between Buddhism and Hinduism in Nepal. Also, they showcase the skills and intelligence of our ancestors, who built such a large city and filled them with amazing art pieces.

Additionally, the city is surrounded by hill stations, offering stunning views of the snow-capped peaks, on a clear day. One can go for a hike, camping, short trek, or mountain biking at those hill stations.

Foreigners who visit Kathmandu get impressed by the city’s vibrant cultural scene, as well as its historical and religious significance. Many visitors are drawn to the city’s ancient temples and other sacred sites, which offer a glimpse into Nepal’s rich spiritual traditions.

Spiritual Kathmandu
Photo by Jonny James on Unsplash

However, foreign visitors may also find Kathmandu to be a challenging place, particularly in terms of the city’s air pollution, traffic congestion, and sometimes chaotic atmosphere. Despite these challenges, many foreigners who visit Kathmandu find the experience to be rewarding and memorable, thanks to the city’s unique culture and breathtaking natural surroundings.

Kathmandu is a complex city with a rich history and cultural heritage, and there is no definition of what constitutes the “real” Kathmandu. Some may argue that the true essence of the city lies in its ancient temples, palaces, and other historic sites, which offer a glimpse into Nepal’s rich spiritual and cultural traditions.

Pashupatinath Kathmandu
Pashupatinath Kathmandu Photo by Shaouraav Shreshtha on Unsplash

Others may point to the city’s bustling markets and colorful street life as representative of the real Kathmandu. At the same time, it’s important to remember that Kathmandu is a rapidly changing city, and the experiences of residents and visitors can vary widely depending on factors such as socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity, and more.

For some, the real Kathmandu may be found in the city’s vibrant music and arts scene, while for others it may be in the quiet courtyards of traditional Newari homes or in the natural beauty of the surrounding hills and mountains.

Ultimately, the real Kathmandu is likely a complex and multifaceted place, with different meanings and experiences for different people.

Now, here is a proper introduction to Kathmandu. Kathmandu is the capital city of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. You can find all the major government offices in this city including the legislative parliament.

Kathmandu city
Photo by Sujitabh Chaudhary on Unsplash

Kathmandu is not just a city that has all the government offices. But is a place with its own history and culture. You might find it difficult to believe but the hustle and bustle of the city have overshadowed the local lifestyle over here. On your arrival, your first impression of this city would be a nice place to hang out.

But, later on, upon your sightseeing in Kathmandu, you will find how distinct the lifestyle of Kathmandu is. Like, how they have feasts and festivals each month, and there are reasons behind celebrating them. How unique are their cuisine, their ethnic dresses, and traditions? How people over there are living in harmony, respecting each other’s culture and religions?

If you are interested in Nepalese cuisine and want to know more about them, then you can check out this article.

5 Must Try Food in Nepal

food in Kathmandu
Photo by Sajan Rajbahak on Unsplash

Yes, all of these things are still there, in Kathmandu. Well, there is not only culture, that can fascinate you. The history of this city is as interesting as the arts and architecture of the city. Before history, there comes a legend of an entire Kathmandu valley being a lake. It somehow is true too. The geographer says so.

But as per the legends, when Kathmandu was a lake, a saint named Mahamanjushree came to Nepal and cut the edge of the hill. That cut let the water of the lake pass down and now we know that place as the hill of Chobar. You can see a gorge over there.

After that, a settlement was started over here. And the land started to call Nepalmandal. Over time, many dynasties ruled over the land. There were Gopals, Mahispal, Kiratis, Lichhavi, and Mallas. Up until the reign of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, it was ruled by the Malla Kings.

Prithvi Narayan Shah was an ambitious Gorkha King. He embarked on a conquering mission that led to the defeat of all the kingdoms in the valley by 1769. Prithvi Narayan chose to relocate his capital to Kathmandu instead of annexing the newly conquered states to his kingdom of Gorkha, establishing the Shah dynasty. The Shah dynasty ruled a united Nepal from 1769 to 2008.

The Kathmandu City
The Kathmandu City Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

This thing proves that Kathmandu was well fascinating at that time too. This city was one of the three golden cities of Nepal in the medieval period. The Malla kings of the three kingdoms used to always compare each other which made these cities exceptional examples of art and architecture.

Besides the concrete buildings that you can see on the highway of Kathmandu, there is more in this city. If you walk around the center of the city (the Basantapur Palace area), you will find some of the most intricate architecture built in different reigns.

Moreover, the city still has that charm where it could attract thousands of people just for a glimpse of the living goddess, Kumari.

If you are interested in exploring more of Kathmandu’s destinations, then you can go for some Kathmandu Valley tours.