Newar language, Sherpa, Tamang, Limbu,
Gurung, Magar, Sunuwar/Kiranti, Tibetan
44600 (GPO), 44601, 44602, 44604, 44605, 44606, 44608, 44609, 44610,
44611, 44613, 44614, 44615, 44616, 44617, 44618, 44619, 44620, 44621
20.8 Very Low
Kathmandu (/ˌkætmænˈduː/; Nepali: काठमाडौं,
Nepal Bhasa: ये: Yei, Nepali pronunciation: [kaʈʰmaɳɖu]) is
the capital city of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. It is
the largest metropolis in Nepal, with a population of 1.5 million in
the city proper, and 3 million in its urban agglomeration across the
Kathmandu Valley, which includes the towns of Lalitpur, Kirtipur,
Bhaktapur and the municipalities across Kathmandu
Kathmandu is also the largest metropolis in the Himalayan hill
The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600
feet) above sea level in the bowl-shaped
Kathmandu Valley of central
Nepal. The valley is historically termed as "
Nepal Mandala" and has
been the home of
Newar culture, a cosmopolitan urban civilization in
the Himalayan foothills. The city was the royal capital of the Kingdom
Nepal and hosts palaces, mansions and gardens of the Nepalese
aristocracy. It has been home to the headquarters of the South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) since 1985. Today, it is
the seat of government of the Nepalese republic established in 2008;
and is part of the province 3 in Nepalese administrative geography.
Kathmandu has been the center of Nepal's history, art, culture and
economy. It has a multiethnic population within a
Hindu and Buddhist
majority. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the
lives of people residing in Kathmandu.
Tourism is an important part of
the economy as the city is the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas.
There are also seven casinos in the city. In 2013,
ranked third among the top ten upcoming travel destinations in the
world by TripAdvisor, and ranked first in Asia. Historic areas of
Kathmandu were devastated by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April
2015. Nepali is the most spoken language in the city, while English is
understood by the city's educated residents.
Bidya Sundar Shakya
Bidya Sundar Shakya is the
city and Hari Prabha Khadgi of Nepalese Congress is the deputy mayor.
2.1 Ancient history
2.1.1 Licchavi era
2.1.2 Malla era
2.2 Modern era
2.2.1 Early Shah rule
2.2.2 Rana rule
4 Air quality
6 Government and public services
6.1 Civic administration
6.2 Law and order
6.3 Fire service
6.4 Electricity and water supply
6.5 Waste management
7.1 Ethnic groups
8 Architecture and cityscape
8.1 Durbar squares
8.2 Pashupatinath temple
8.5 Rani Pokhari
9.1.2 Art galleries
9.1.4 Cinema and theatre
9.6 Kirat Mundhum
11 Medical colleges
16 International organisations
17 International relations
17.1 Twin towns – Sister cities
18 Notable people
19 See also
22 External links
The city of
Kathmandu is named after
Kasthamandap temple, that stands
in Durbar Square. In Sanskrit, Kāṣṭha (काष्ठ) means
"wood" and Maṇḍap (/मण्डप) means "covered shelter". This
temple, also known as Maru Satta: in the
Newar language, was built in
1596 by Biseth in the period of King Laxmi Narsingh Malla. The
two-story structure was made entirely of wood and used no iron nails
nor supports. According to legend, all the timber used to build the
pagoda was obtained from a single tree. The structure collapsed
during a major earthquake on 25 April 2015.
The colophons of ancient manuscripts, dated as late as the 20th
century, refer to
Kathmandu as Kāṣṭhamaṇḍap Mahānagar in
Nepal Mandala. Mahānagar means "great city". The city is called
"Kāṣṭhamaṇḍap" in a vow that
Buddhist priests still recite to
this day. Thus,
Kathmandu is also known as Kāṣṭhamaṇḍap.
During medieval times, the city was sometimes called Kāntipur
(कान्तिपुर). This name is derived from two Sanskrit
words – Kānti and pur. "Kānti" is a word that stands for "beauty"
and is mostly associated with light and "pur" means place. Thus,
giving it a meaning as "City of light".
Among the indigenous
Kathmandu is known as Yeṃ Deśa
(येँ देश), and Patan and
Bhaktapur are known as Yala Deśa
(यल देश) and Khwopa Deśa (ख्वप देश). "Yen"
is the shorter form of Yambu (यम्बु), which originally
referred to the northern half of Kathmandu.[clarification needed]
History of Kathmandu
History of Kathmandu and Timeline of Kathmandu
Manjushree, with Chandrahrasa, the
Buddhist deity said to have created
Archaeological excavations in parts of
Kathmandu have found evidence
of ancient civilizations. The oldest of these findings is a statue,
found in Maligaon, that was dated at 185 AD. The excavation of
Chaitya uncovered a brick with an inscription in Brahmi script.
Archaeologists believe it is two thousand years old. Stone
inscriptions are a ubiquitous element at heritage sites and are key
sources for the history of Nepal.
The earliest Western reference to
Kathmandu appears in an account of
Johann Grueber and Albert d'Orville. In 1661, they
Nepal on their way from
Tibet to India, and reported
that they reached "Cadmendu", the capital of
The ancient history of
Kathmandu is described in its traditional myths
and legends. According to
Swayambhu Purana, present-day
once a huge and deep lake named "Nagdaha", as it was full of snakes.
The lake was cut drained by Bodhisatwa
Manjusri with his sword, and
the water was evacuated out from there. He then established a city
called Manjupattan, and made Dharmakar the ruler of the valley land.
After some time, a demon named Banasur closed the outlet, and the
valley was again turned to a lake. Then lord
Krishna came to Nepal,
killed Banasur, and again drained out the water. He brought some
Gopals along with him and made Bhuktaman the king of Nepal.
Kotirudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, Chapter 11, shloka 18 refers to the
place as Nayapala city, which was famous for its
Nepal probably originates from this city Nayapala.
Very few historical record exists of the period before medieval
Licchavis rulers. According to Gopalraj Vansawali, a genealogy of
Nepali monarchy, the rulers of
Kathmandu Valley before the Licchavis
were Gopalas, Mahispalas, Aabhirs, Kirants, and Somavanshi.
The Kirata dynasty was established by Yalamber. During the Kirata era,
a settlement called Yambu existed in the northern half of old
Kathmandu. In some of the Sino-Tibetan languages,
Kathmandu is still
called Yambu. Another smaller settlement called Yengal was present in
the southern half of old Kathmandu, near Manjupattan. During the reign
of the seventh Kirata ruler, Jitedasti,
Buddhist monks entered
Kathmandu valley and established a forest monastery at Sankhu.
Map of Kathmandu, 1802
The Licchavis from the
Indo-Gangetic plain migrated north and defeated
the Kiratas, establishing the Licchavi dynasty, circa 400 AD. During
this era, following the genocide of Shakyas in
Lumbini by Virudhaka,
the survivors migrated north and entered the forest monastery in
Sankhu masquerading as Koliyas. From Sankhu, they migrated to Yambu
and Yengal (Lanjagwal and Manjupattan) and established the first
Buddhist monasteries of Kathmandu. This created the basis of
Newar Buddhism, which is the only surviving Sanskrit-based Buddhist
tradition in the world. With their migration, Yambu was called
Koligram and Yengal was called Dakshin Koligram during most of the
Eventually, the Licchavi ruler
Gunakamadeva merged Koligram and
Dakshin Koligram, founding the city of Kathmandu. The city was
designed in the shape of Chandrahrasa, the sword of Manjushri. The
city was surrounded by eight barracks guarded by Ajimas. One of these
barracks is still in use at Bhadrakali (in front of Singha Durbar).
The city served as an important transit point in the trade between
India and Tibet, leading to tremendous growth in architecture.
Descriptions of buildings such as Managriha, Kailaskut Bhawan, and
Bhadradiwas Bhawan have been found in the surviving journals of
travelers and monks who lived during this era. For example, the famous
7th-century Chinese traveler
Xuanzang described Kailaskut Bhawan, the
palace of the Licchavi king Amshuverma. The trade route also led
to cultural exchange as well. The artistry of the
indigenous inhabitants of the
Kathmandu Valley—became highly sought
after during this era, both within the Valley and throughout the
Newar artists traveled extensively throughout Asia,
creating religious art for their neighbors. For example,
Araniko led a
group of his compatriot artists through
Tibet and China. Bhrikuti, the
Nepal who married Tibetan monarch Songtsän Gampo, was
instrumental in introducing
Buddhism to Tibet.
Skyline of Kathmandu, circa 1793
Kathmandu Durbar Square, 1852
The Licchavi era was followed by the Malla era. Rulers from Tirhut,
upon being attacked by Muslims, fled north to the
They intermarried with Nepali royalty, and this led to the Malla era.
The early years of the Malla era were turbulent, with raids and
Khas and Turk Muslims. There was also a devastating
earthquake which claimed the lives of a third of Kathmandu's
population, including the king Abhaya Malla. These disasters led to
the destruction of most of the architecture of the Licchavi era (such
as Mangriha and Kailashkut Bhawan), and the loss of literature
collected in various monasteries within the city. Despite the initial
Kathmandu rose to prominence again and, during most of the
Malla era, dominated the trade between
India and Tibet. Nepali
currency became the standard currency in trans-Himalayan trade.
During the later part of the Malla era,
Kathmandu Valley comprised
four fortified cities: Kantipur, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, and Kirtipur.
These served as the capitals of the Malla confederation of Nepal.
These states competed with each other in the arts, architecture,
aesthetics, and trade, resulting in tremendous development. The kings
of this period directly influenced or involved themselves in the
construction of public buildings, squares, and temples, as well as the
development of waterspouts, the institutionalization of trusts (called
guthis), the codification of laws, the writing of dramas, and the
performance of plays in city squares. Evidence of an influx of ideas
from India, Tibet, China, Persia, and
Europe among other places can be
found in a stone inscription from the time of king Pratap Malla. Books
have been found from this era that describe their tantric tradition
(e.g. Tantrakhyan), medicine (e.g. Haramekhala), religion
(e.g. Mooldevshashidev), law, morals, and history. Amarkosh, a
Nepal Bhasa dictionary from 1381 AD, was also found.
Architecturally notable buildings from this era include Kathmandu
Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square,
Bhaktapur Durbar Square, the
former durbar of Kirtipur, Nyatapola, Kumbheshwar, the
The now demolished old royal palace in 1920
Early Shah rule
Gorkha Kingdom ended the Malla confederation after the Battle of
Kathmandu in 1768. This marked the beginning of the modern era in
Kathmandu. The Battle of
Kirtipur was the start of the Gorkha conquest
Kathmandu was adopted as the capital of the
Gorkha empire, and the empire itself was dubbed Nepal. During the
early part of this era,
Kathmandu maintained its distinctive culture.
Buildings with characteristic Nepali architecture, such as the
nine-story tower of Basantapur, were built during this era. However,
trade declined because of continual war with neighboring nations.
Bhimsen Thapa supported
France against Great Britain; this led to the
development of modern military structures, such as modern barracks in
Kathmandu. The nine-storey tower
Dharahara was originally built during
Rana rule over
Nepal started with the Kot Massacre, which occurred
Hanuman Dhoka Durbar. During this massacre, most of Nepal's
high-ranking officials were massacred by
Jang Bahadur Rana
Jang Bahadur Rana and his
supporters. Another massacre, the Bhandarkhal Massacre, was also
conducted by Kunwar and his supporters in Kathmandu. During the Rana
regime, Kathmandu's alliance shifted from anti-British to pro-British;
this led to the construction of the first buildings in the style of
Western European architecture. The most well-known of these buildings
include Singha Durbar, Garden of Dreams, Shital Niwas, and the old
Narayanhiti palace. The first modern commercial road in the Kathmandu
Valley, the New Road, was also built during this era. Trichandra
College (the first college of Nepal), Durbar School (the first modern
school of Nepal), and
Bir Hospital (the first hospital of Nepal) were
Kathmandu during this era. Rana rule was marked by despotism,
economic exploitation and religious persecution.
Kathmandu is in the northwestern part of the
Kathmandu Valley to the
north of the
Bagmati River and covers an area of 50.7 km2
(19.6 sq mi). The average elevation is 1,400 metres
(4,600 ft) above sea level. The city is bounded by several
other municipalities of the
Kathmandu valley: south of the
Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City (Patan), with which it forms one urban
area surrounded by a ring road, to the southwest by Kirtipur
Municipality and to the east by Madyapur Thimi Municipality. To the
north the urban area extends into several Village Development
Committees. However, the urban agglomeration extends well beyond the
neighboring municipalities, e.g. to Bhaktapur, and nearly covers the
Places adjacent to Kathmandu
Tokha / Budhanilkantha
Kathmandu Metropolitan City
Kathmandu is dissected by eight rivers, the main river of the valley,
Bagmati and its tributaries, of which the Bishnumati, Dhobi Khola,
Manohara Khola, Hanumante Khola, and Tukucha Khola are predominant.
The mountains from where these rivers originate are in the elevation
range of 1,500–3,000 metres (4,900–9,800 ft), and have passes
which provide access to and from
Kathmandu and its valley.
An ancient canal once flowed from Nagarjuna hill through Balaju to
Kathmandu; this canal is now extinct.
Kathmandu and its valley are in the Deciduous
Monsoon Forest Zone
(altitude range of 1,200–2,100 metres (3,900–6,900 ft)), one
of five vegetation zones defined for Nepal. The dominant tree species
in this zone are oak, elm, beech, maple and others, with coniferous
trees at higher altitude.
Urban expansion in
Kathmandu (Mar. 2015)
The green, vegetated slopes that surround the
Kathmandu metro area
(light gray, image centre) include both forest reserves and national
New road, is the shopping district of Kathmandu.
Kathmandu and adjacent cities are composed of neighborhoods, which are
utilized quite extensively and more familiar among locals. However,
administratively the city is divided into 35 wards, numbered from 1 to
There is no officially defined agglomeration of Kathmandu. The urban
area of the
Kathmandu valley is split among three different districts
(collections of local government units within a zone), which extend
very little beyond the valley fringe, except towards the southern
ranges, which have comparatively small population. They have the three
highest population densities in the country. Within these 3 districts
lie VDCs (villages), 20 municipalities and 2 metropolitan municipality
Kathmandu and lalitpur). The following data table
describes these districts which likely would be considered an
Administrative district (Nepali: जिल्ला; jillā)
Population (2001 Census)
Population (2011 Census)
Population density (/km²)
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Five major climatic regions are found in Nepal. Of these, Kathmandu
Valley is in the Warm Temperate Zone (elevation ranging from 1,200 to
2,300 metres (3,900 to 7,500 ft)), where the climate is fairly
temperate, atypical for the region. This zone is followed by the Cool
Temperate Zone with elevation varying between 2,100 and 3,300 metres
(6,900 and 10,800 ft). Under Köppen's climate classification,
portions of the city with lower elevations have a humid subtropical
climate (Cwa), while portions of the city with higher elevations
generally have a subtropical highland climate. In the Kathmandu
Valley, which is representative of its valley's climate, the average
summer temperature varies from 28 to 30 °C (82 to 86 °F).
The average winter temperature is 10.1 °C (50.2 °F).
The city generally has a climate with warm days followed by cool
nights and mornings. Unpredictable weather is expected, given that
temperatures can drop to 1 °C (34 °F) or less during the
winter. During a 2013 cold front, the winter temperatures of Kathmandu
dropped to −4 °C (25 °F), and the lowest temperature was
recorded on 10 January 2013, at −9.2 °C (15.4 °F).
Rainfall is mostly monsoon-based (about 65% of the total concentrated
during the monsoon months of June to August), and decreases
substantially (100 to 200 cm (39 to 79 in)) from eastern
Nepal to western Nepal. Rainfall has been recorded at about 1,400
millimetres (55.1 in) for the
Kathmandu valley, and averages
1,407 millimetres (55.4 in) for the city of Kathmandu. On average
humidity is 75%. The chart below is based on data from the
Nepal Bureau of Standards & Meteorology, "Weather Meteorology" for
2005. The chart provides minimum and maximum temperatures during each
month. The annual amount of precipitation was 1,124 millimetres
(44.3 in) for 2005, as per monthly data included in the table
above. The decade of 2000–2010 saw highly variable and
unprecedented precipitation anomalies in Kathmandu. This was mostly
due to the annual variation of the southwest monsoon.
For example, 2003 was the wettest year ever in Kathmandu, totalling
over 2,900 mm (114 in) of precipitation due to an
exceptionally strong monsoon season. In contrast, 2001 recorded only
356 mm (14 in) of precipitation due to an extraordinarily
weak monsoon season.
Climate data for
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, World
Meteorological Organization (precipitation days)
Danish Meteorological Institute (sun and relative
humidity), Sistema de Clasificación Bioclimática Mundial
Air pollution is a major issue in Kathmandu. According to
the 2016 World Health Organization's Ambient Air Pollution
Database, the annual average
PM2.5 concentration in 2013 was 49
μg/m3, which is 4.9 times higher than recommended by the World Health
Organization. for annual average PM2.5. Starting in early
2017, the Nepali Government and US Embassy have monitored and publicly
share real-time air quality data.
Hotel Shanker is one of the city's popular heritage hotels
Central Bank of Nepal
The Kathmandu-based billionaire
Binod Chaudhary is listed by
Nepal's richest man
The location and terrain of
Kathmandu have played a significant role
in the development of a stable economy which spans millennia. The city
is in an ancient lake basin, with fertile soil and flat terrain. This
geography helped form a society based on agriculture. This, combined
with its location between
India and China, helped establish Kathmandu
as an important trading center over the centuries. Kathmandu's trade
is an ancient profession that flourished along an offshoot of the Silk
Road which linked
India and Tibet. From centuries past, Lhasa Newar
Kathmandu have conducted trade across the
contributed to spreading art styles and
Buddhism across Central
Asia. Other traditional occupations are farming, metal casting,
woodcarving, painting, weaving, and pottery.
Kathmandu is the most important industrial and commercial center in
Nepal Stock Exchange, the head office of the national bank,
the chamber of commerce, as well as head offices of national and
international banks, telecommunication companies, the electricity
authority, and various other national and international organizations
are in Kathmandu. The major economic hubs are the New Road, Durbar
Marg, Ason and Putalisadak.
The economic output of the metropolitan area alone is worth more than
one third of national GDP around $6.5billion in terms of nominal GDP
NR.s 550 billion approximately per year $2200 per capita income approx
three times national average.
Kathmandu exports handicrafts,
artworks, garments, carpets, pashmina, paper; trade accounts for 21%
of its finances.[which?] Manufacturing is also important and
accounts for 19% of the revenue that
Kathmandu generates. Garments and
woolen carpets are the most notable manufactured products. Other
economic sectors in
Kathmandu include agriculture (9%), education
(6%), transport (6%), and hotels and restaurants (5%). Kathmandu
is famous for lokta paper and pashmina shawls.
Hyatt Regency, Kathmandu
Tourism is considered another important industry in Nepal. This
industry started around 1950, as the country's political makeup
changed and ended the country's isolation from the rest of the world.
In 1956, air transportation was established and the
Raxaul (at India's border), was started.
Separate organizations were created in
Kathmandu to promote this
activity; some of these include the
Tourism Development Board, the
Tourism and the Civil Aviation Department. Furthermore,
Nepal became a member of several international tourist associations.
Establishing diplomatic relations with other nations further
accentuated this activity. The hotel industry, travel agencies,
training of tourist guides, and targeted publicity campaigns are the
chief reasons for the remarkable growth of this industry in Nepal, and
Kathmandu in particular.
Since then, tourism in
Nepal has thrived. It is the country's most
Tourism is a major source of income for most
of the people in the city, with several hundred thousand visitors
Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world visit
Kathmandu's religious sites such as Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath,
Boudhanath and Budhanilkantha. From a mere 6,179 tourists in 1961/62,
the number increased to 491,504 in 1999/2000. Following the end of the
Maoist insurgency, there was a significant rise of 509,956 tourist
arrivals in 2009. Since then, tourism has improved as the country
turned into the Democratic Republic. In economic terms, the foreign
exchange registered 3.8% of the GDP in 1995/96 but then started
declining[why?]. The high level of tourism is attributed to the
natural grandeur of the Himalayas and the rich cultural heritage of
The neighbourhood of
Thamel is Kathmandu's primary "traveller's
ghetto", packed with guest houses, restaurants, shops, and bookstores,
catering to tourists. Another neighbourhood of growing popularity is
Jhamel, a name for Jhamsikhel that was coined to rhyme with
Thamel. Jhochhen Tol, also known as Freak Street, is Kathmandu's
original traveler's haunt, made popular by the hippies of the 1960s
and 1970s; it remains a popular alternative to Thamel. Asan is a
bazaar and ceremonial square on the old trade route to Tibet, and
provides a fine example of a traditional neighbourhood.
With the opening of the tourist industry after the change in the
political scenario of
Nepal in 1950, the hotel industry drastically
Kathmandu boasts several luxuries such as the Hyatt
Regency, Dwarika's, theYak & Yeti, The Everest Hotel, Hotel
Radisson, Hotel De L'Annapurna, The Malla Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel
(which is not operated by the
Shangri-La Hotel Group) and The Shanker
Hotel. There are several four-star hotels such as Hotel Vaishali,
The Blue Star and Grand Hotel. The Garden Hotel, Hotel
Ambassador, and Aloha Inn are among the three-star hotels in
Kathmandu. Hotels like Hyatt Regency, De L'Annapurna, and Hotel Yak
& Yeti are among the five-star hotels providing casinos as
Government and public services
Office of the Prime Minister of Nepal
Kathmandu Municipal Corporation (KMC) is the chief nodal agency for
the administration of Kathmandu. The Municipality of
upgraded to incorporated in 1994.
SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is divided into five sectors: the Central
Sector, the East Sector, the North Sector, the City Core and the West
Sector. For civic administration, the city is further divided into 35
administrative wards. The Council administers the
Metropolitan area of
Kathmandu city through its 177 elected representatives and 20
nominated members. It holds biannual meetings to review, process and
approve the annual budget and make major policy decisions. The
ward's profile documents for the 35 wards prepared by the Kathmandu
Metropolitan Council is detailed and provides information for each
ward on population, the structure and condition of houses, the type of
roads, educational, health and financial institutions, entertainment
facilities, parking space, security provisions, etc. It also includes
lists of development projects completed, on-going and planned, along
with informative data about the cultural heritage, festivals,
historical sites and the local inhabitants. Ward 16 is the largest,
with an area of 437.4 ha; ward 26 is the smallest, with an area
of 4 ha.
Kathmandu is the headquarters of the surrounding
The city of
Kathmandu forms this district with
and some 57 Village Development Committees. According to the 2001
census, there are 235,387 households in the metropolitan city.
Law and order
Metropolitan Police is the main law enforcement agency in the
city. It is headed by a commissioner of police. The Metropolitan
Police is a division of the
Nepal Police, and the administrative
control lies with the National Home Ministry.
Kathmandu hosts 28 diplomatic missions
The fire service, known as the Barun Yantra Karyalaya, opened its
first station in
Kathmandu in 1937 with a single vehicle. An iron
tower was erected to monitor the city and watch for fire. As a
precautionary measure, firemen were sent to the areas which were
designated as accident-prone areas. In 1944, the fire service was
extended to the neighboring cities of Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. In 1966,
a fire service was established in
Kathmandu airport. In 1975, a
West German government donation added seven fire engines to
Kathmandu's fire service. The fire service in the city is also
overlooked by an international non-governmental organization, the
Firefighters Volunteer Association of
Nepal (FAN), which was
established in 2000 with the purpose of raising public awareness about
fire and improving safety.
Electricity and water supply
Kathmandu is regulated and distributed by the NEA Nepal
Electricity Authority. Water supply and sanitation facilities are
provided by the
Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL). There is
a severe shortage of water for household purposes such as drinking,
bathing, cooking and washing. People have been using mineral water
bottle and mineral water tanks for all the purposes related to water.
Melamchi water supply project will deliver 170 million litres per day
of water by the end of 2017.
There is no proper waste management in Kathmandu, so rubbish piles up
on roads, pavements and in waterways.
Waste management may be through composting in municipal waste
management units, and at houses with home composting units. Both
systems are common and established in
India and neighbouring
Kathmandu's urban cosmopolitan character has made it the most populous
city in Nepal, recording a population of 671,846 residents living in
235,387 households in the metropolitan area, according to the 2001
census. According to the National Population Census of 2011, the
total population of
Kathmandu city was 975,543 with an annual growth
rate of 6.12% with respect to the population figure of 2001. 70% of
the total population residing in
Kathmandu are aged between 15 and 59.
Over the years the city has been home to people of various
ethnicities, resulting in a range of different traditions and cultural
practices. In one decade, the population increased from 427,045 in
1991 to 671,805 in 2001. The population was projected to reach 915,071
in 2011 and 1,319,597 by 2021. To keep up this population growth, the
KMC-controlled area of 5,076.6 hectares (12,545 acres) has expanded to
8,214 hectares (20,300 acres) in 2001. With this new area, the
population density which was 85 in 1991 is still 85 in 2001; it is
likely to jump to 111 in 2011 and 161 in 2021.
The largest ethnic groups are
Newar (29.6%), Mongoloid (50.7%), Kirat,
Gurung, Magar, Tamang, Sherpa etc.),
Brahmins (20.51%), and
Chettris (18.5%). Tamangs originating from surrounding hill
districts can be seen in Kathmandu. More recently, other hill ethnic
Caste groups from
Terai have come to represent a
substantial proportion of the city's population. The major languages
are Nepali and
Nepal Bhasa, while English is understood by many,
particularly in the service industry. The major religions in Kathmandu
Buddhism 20% and other 10%.
The linguistic profile of
Kathmandu underwent drastic changes during
the Shah dynasty's rule because of its strong bias towards the Hindu
Sanskrit language therefore was preferred and people were
encouraged to learn it even by attending
Sanskrit learning centers in
Sanskrit schools were specially set up in
Kathmandu and in the
Terai region to inculcate traditional
Hindu culture and practices
originated from Nepal.
Architecture and cityscape
Main article: Architecture of Kathmandu
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site (WHS) Seven Monuments and
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square in 1920•
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square in 2007
Pashupatinath • Changunarayan
Patan Durbar •
The ancient trade route between
Tibet that passed through
Kathmandu enabled a fusion of artistic and architectural traditions
from other cultures to be amalgamated with local art and
architecture. The monuments of
Kathmandu City have been influenced
over the centuries by
Buddhist religious practices. The
architectural treasure of the
Kathmandu valley has been categorized
under the well-known seven groups of heritage monuments and buildings.
In 2006 UNESCO declared these seven groups of monuments as a World
Heritage Site (WHS). The seven monuments zones cover an area of 189
hectares (470 acres), with the buffer zone extending to 2,394 hectares
(5,920 acres). The Seven Monument Zones (Mzs) inscribed originally in
1979 and with a minor modification in 2006 are Durbar squares of
Hanuman Dhoka, Patan and Bhaktapur,
Hindu temples of Pashupatinath and
Buddhist stupas of
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square and
The literal meaning of
Durbar Square is a "place of palaces". There
are three preserved Durbar Squares in
Kathmandu valley and one
unpreserved in Kirtipur. The
Durbar Square of
Kathmandu is in the old
city and has heritage buildings representing four kingdoms (Kantipur,
Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kirtipur); the earliest is the Licchavi dynasty.
The complex has 50 temples and is distributed in two quadrangles of
the Durbar Square. The outer quadrangle has the Kasthamandap, Kumari
Ghar, and Shiva-Parvati Temple; the inner quadrangle has the Hanuman
Dhoka palace. The squares were severely damaged in the April 2015
Hanuman Dhoka is a complex of structures with the Royal Palace of the
Malla kings and of the Shah dynasty. It is spread over five acres. The
eastern wing, with ten courtyards, is the oldest part, dating to the
mid-16th century. It was expanded by King
Pratap Malla in the 17th
century with many temples. The royal family lived in this palace until
1886 when they moved to Narayanhiti Palace. The stone inscription
outside is in fifteen languages.
Kumari Ghar is a palace in the center of the
Kathmandu city, next to
Durbar square where a Royal Kumari selected from several Kumaris
resides. Kumari, or Kumari Devi, is the tradition of worshipping young
pre-pubescent girls as manifestations of the divine female energy or
devi in South Asian countries. In
Nepal the selection process is very
rigorous. Kumari is believed to be the bodily incarnation of the
goddess Taleju (the Nepali name for Durga) until she menstruates,
after which it is believed that the goddess vacates her body. Serious
illness or a major loss of blood from an injury are also causes for
her to revert to common status. The current Royal Kumari, Matina
Shakya, age four, was installed in October 2008 by the Maoist
government that replaced the monarchy.
Kasthamandap is a three-storeyed temple enshrining an image of
Gorakhnath. It was built in the 16th century in pagoda style. The name
Kathmandu is a derivative of the word Kasthamandap. It was built
under the reign of King Laxmi Narsingha Malla.
Kasthamandap stands at
the intersection of two ancient trade routes linking
India and Tibet
at Maru square. It was originally built as a rest house for travelers.
Main article: Pashupatinath temple
Panorama of the
Pashupatinath Temple from the other bank of Bagmati
Junction point of Koteshwor, Baneshwor and Gaushala
Pashupatinath Temple is a famous 5th century
dedicated to Lord Shiva (Pashupati). On the banks of the
in the eastern part of Kathmandu,
Pashupatinath Temple is the oldest
Hindu temple in Kathmandu. It served as the seat of national
deity, Lord Pashupatinath, until
Nepal was secularized. However, a
significant part of the temple was destroyed by Mughal invaders in the
14th century and little or nothing remains of the original 5th-century
temple exterior. The temple as it stands today was built in the 19th
century, although the image of the bull and the black four-headed
Pashupati are at least 300 years old. The temple is a
UNESCO World Heritage Site. Shivaratri, or the night of Lord
Shiva, is the most important festival that takes place here,
attracting thousands of devotees and sadhus.
Believers in Pashupatinath (mainly Hindus) are allowed to enter the
temple premises, but non-
Hindu visitors are allowed to view the temple
only from the across the
Bagmati River. The priests who perform
the services at this temple have been
Brahmins from Karnataka, South
India since the time of Malla king Yaksha Malla. This tradition is
believed to have been started at the request of
Adi Shankaracharya who
sought to unify the states of
Bharatam (Unified India) by encouraging
cultural exchange. This procedure is followed in other temples around
India, which were sanctified by Adi Shankaracharya.
The temple is built in the pagoda style of architecture, with cubic
constructions and carved wooden rafters (tundal) on which they rest,
and two-level roofs made of copper and gold.
Buildings around Boudha Stupa
Boudhanath (also written as Bouddhanath, Bodhnath, Baudhanath or
the Khāsa Chaitya), is one of the holiest
Buddhist sites in Nepal,
along with the Swayambhu. It is a very popular tourist site.
Boudhanath is known as Khāsti by
Newars and as Bauddha or Bodhnāth
by speakers of Nepali. About 11 km (7 mi) from the
center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa's massive
mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.
Boudhanath became a UNESCO
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site in 1979.
Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest in Nepal. It is showing during
renovations following the 2015 earthquake.
The base of the stupa has 108 small depictions of the Dhyani Buddha
Amitabha. It is surrounded with a brick wall with 147 niches, each
with four or five prayer wheels engraved with the mantra, om mani
padme hum. At the northern entrance where visitors must pass is a
shrine dedicated to Ajima, the goddess of smallpox. Every year the
stupa attracts many Tibetan
Buddhist pilgrims who perform full body
prostrations in the inner lower enclosure, walk around the stupa with
prayer wheels, chant, and pray. Thousands of prayer flags are
hoisted up from the top of the stupa downwards and dot the perimeter
of the complex. The influx of many Tibetan refugees from
seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan gompas (monasteries) around
Main article: Swayambhunath
Swayambhu is a
Buddhist stupa atop a hillock at the northwestern part
of the city. This is among the oldest religious sites in Nepal.
Although the site is considered Buddhist, it is revered by both
Buddhists and Hindus. The stupa consists of a dome at the base; above
the dome, there is a cubic structure with the eyes of Buddha looking
in all four directions.[clarification needed] There are pentagonal
Toran above each of the four sides, with statues engraved on them.
Behind and above the torana there are thirteen tiers. Above all the
tiers, there is a small space above which lies a gajur.
Main article: Ranipokhari
Ranipokhari which is translated as "Queen's Pond" is a historic
artificial pond that nestled in the heart of Kathmandu. It was built
by king Pratap Mall in 1670 AD for his beloved queen after she lost
her son who couldn't recover from her loss. A large stone statue
of an elephant in south signifies the image of
Pratap Malla and his
two sons. Balgopaleshwor Temple stands still inside the temple above
Rani Pokhari is opened once a year during the final day of
Tihar i.e. Bhai Tika and Chhath festival. The world largest Chhath
takes place every year in Ranipokhari. The pond is one of Kathmandu's
most famous landmarks and is known for its religious and aesthetic
Main article: Culture of Kathmandu
A man in one of the Nepalese national dress
Stone carvings, called Chaityas, seen in street corners and courtyards
Kathmandu valley is described as "an enormous treasure house of art
and sculptures", which are made of wood, stone, metal, and terracotta,
and found in profusion in temples, shrines, stupas, gompas, chaityasm
and palaces. The art objects are also seen in street corners, lanes,
private courtyards and in open ground. Most art is in the form of
icons of gods and goddesses.
Kathmandu valley has had this art
treasure for a very long time, but received worldwide recognition only
after the country opened to the outside world in 1950.
The religious art of
Kathmandu in particular consists of an
iconic symbolism of the Mother Goddesses such as: Bhavani, Durga,
Gaja-Lakshmi, Hariti-Sitala, Mahsishamardini, Saptamatrika (seven
mother goddesses), and Sri-Lakshmi(wealth-goddess). From the 3rd
century BCE, apart from the
Hindu gods and goddesses, Buddhist
monuments from the Ashokan period (it is said that
Nepal in 250 BC) have embellished
Nepal in general and the valley
in particular. These art and architectural edifices encompass three
major periods of evolution: the Licchavi or classical period (500 to
900 AD), the post-classical period (1000 to 1400 AD), with
strong influence of the Palla art form; the Malla period (1400
onwards) that exhibited explicitly tantric influences coupled with the
art of Tibetan Demonology.
A broad typology has been ascribed to the decorative designs and
carvings created by the people of Nepal. These artists have maintained
a blend of
Hinduism and Buddhism. The typology, based on the type of
material used are: stone art, metal art, wood art, terracotta art, and
Kathmandu is home to a number of museums and art galleries, including
the National Museum of
Nepal and the Natural History Museum of Nepal.
Nepal's art and architecture is an amalgamation of two ancient
Hinduism and Buddhhism. These are amply reflected in the
many temples, shrines, stupas, monasteries, and palaces in the seven
well-defined Monument Zones of the
Kathmandu valley are part of a
UNESCO World Heritage Site. This amalgamation is also reflected in the
planning and exhibitions in museums and art galleries throughout
Kathmandu and its sister cities of Patan and Bhaktapur. The museums
display unique artifacts and paintings from the 5th century CE to the
present day, including archeological exportation.
Kathmandu museums and art galleries include:
The National Museum
The Natural History Museum
Hanumandhoka Palace Complex
The Kaiser Library
The National Art Gallery
The NEF-ART (
Nepal Fine Art) Gallery
Nepal Art Council Gallery
Narayanhity Palace Museum
The Taragaon Museum
National Museum of Nepal
The National Museum is in the western part of Kathmandu, near the
Swayambhunath stupa in an historical building. This building was
constructed in the early 19th century by General Bhimsen Thapa. It is
the most important museum in the country, housing an extensive
collection of weapons, art and antiquities of historic and cultural
importance. The museum was established in 1928 as a collection
house of war trophies and weapons, and the initial name of this museum
was Chhauni Silkhana, meaning "the stone house of arms and
ammunition". Given its focus, the museum contains many weapons,
including locally made firearms used in wars, leather cannons from the
18th–19th century, and medieval and modern works in wood, bronze,
stone and paintings.
The Natural History Museum is in the southern foothills of
Swayambhunath hill and has a sizeable collection of different species
of animals, butterflies, and plants. The museum is noted for its
display of species, from prehistoric shells to stuffed animals.
Tribhuvan Museum contains artifacts related to the King Tribhuvan
(1906–1955). It has a variety of pieces including his personal
belongings, letters and papers, memorabilia related to events he was
involved in and a rare collection of photos and paintings of Royal
family members. The Mahendra Museum is dedicated to king Mahendra
Nepal (1920–1972). Like the
Tribhuvan Museum, it includes his
personal belongings such as decorations, stamps, coins and personal
notes and manuscripts, but it also has structural reconstructions of
his cabinet room and office chamber. The Hanumandhoka Palace, a
lavish medieval palace complex in the Durbar, contains three separate
museums of historic importance. These museums include the Birendra
museum, which contains items related to the second-last monarch,
Birendra of Nepal.
The enclosed compound of the
Narayanhity Palace Museum is in the
north-central part of Kathmandu. "Narayanhity" comes from Narayana, a
form of the
Hindu god Lord Vishnu, and Hiti, meaning "water spout"
(Vishnu's temple is opposite the palace, and the water spout is east
of the main entrance to the precinct). Narayanhity was a new palace,
in front of the old palace built in 1915, and was built in 1970 in the
form of a contemporary Pagoda. It was built on the occasion of the
marriage of King Birenda Bir Bikram Shah, then heir apparent to the
throne. The southern gate of the palace is at the crossing of
Prithvipath and Darbar Marg roads. The palace area covers (30 hectares
(74 acres)) and is fully secured with gates on all sides.
This palace was the scene of the Nepali royal massacre. After the fall
of the monarchy, it was converted to a museum.
The Taragaon Museum presents the modern history of the Kathmandu
Valley. It seeks to document 50 years of research and cultural
heritage conservation of the
Kathmandu Valley, documenting what
artists photographers architects anthropologists from abroad had
contributed in the second half of the 20th century. The actual
structure of the museum showcases restoration and rehabilitation
efforts to preserve the built heritage of Kathmandu. It was designed
by Carl Pruscha (master-planner of the Kathmandy Valley) in 1970
and constructed in 1971. Restoration works began in 2010 to
rehabilitate the Taragaon hostel into the Taragaon Museum. The design
uses local brick along with modern architectural design elements, as
well as the use of circle, triangles and squares. The museum is
within a short walk from the Boudhnath stupa, which itself can be seen
from the museum tower.
Buddhist statue display in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is a center for art in Nepal, displaying the work of
contemporary artists in the country and also collections of historical
artists. Patan in particular is an ancient city noted for its fine
arts and crafts. Art in
Kathmandu is vibrant, demonstrating a fusion
of traditionalism and modern art, derived from a great number of
national, Asian, and global influences. Nepali art is commonly divided
into two areas: the idealistic traditional painting known as Paubhas
Nepal and perhaps more commonly known as Thangkas in Tibet, closely
linked to the country's religious history and on the other hand the
contemporary western-style painting, including nature-based
compositions or abstract artwork based on Tantric elements and social
themes of which painters in
Nepal are well noted for.
Internationally, the British-based charity, the
Art Centre is involved with promoting arts in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu contains many notable art galleries. The NAFA Gallery,
operated by the Arts and crafts Department of the
Nepal Academy is
housed in Sita Bhavan, a neo-classical old Rana palace.
The Srijana Contemporary Art Gallery, inside the Bhrikutimandap
Exhibition grounds, hosts the work of contemporary painters and
sculptors, and regularly organizes exhibitions. It also runs morning
and evening classes in the schools of art. Also of note is the
Moti Azima Gallery, in a three-storied building in Bhimsenthan which
contains an impressive collection of traditional utensils and handmade
dolls and items typical of a medieval
Newar house, giving an important
insight into Nepali history. The J Art Gallery is also in
Kathmandu, near the Royal Palace in Durbarmarg,
Kathmandu and displays
the artwork of eminent, established Nepali painters. The
Council Gallery, in the Babar Mahal, on the way to Tribhuvan
International Airport contains artwork of both national and
international artists and extensive halls regularly used for art
The National Library of
Nepal is in Patan. It is the largest library
in the country with more than 70,000 books. English, Nepali, Sanskrit,
Nepal Bhasa books are found here. The library is in
possession of rare scholarly books in
Sanskrit and English dating from
the 17th century AD.
Kathmandu also contains the Kaiser Library, in
the Kaiser Mahal on the ground floor of the Ministry of Education
building. This collection of around 45,000 books is derived from a
personal collection of Kaiser Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana. It
covers a wide range of subjects including history, law, art, religion,
and philosophy, as well as a
Sanskrit manual of Tantra, which is
believed to be over 1,000 years old. The 2015 earthquake caused
severe damage to the Ministry of Education building, and the contents
of the Kaiser Library have been temporarily relocated.
The Asa Archives are also noteworthy. They specialize in medieval
history and religious traditions of the
Kathmandu Valley. The
archives, in Kulambhulu, have a collection of some 6,000 loose-leaf
handwritten books and 1,000 palm-leaf manuscripts (mostly in Sanskrit
Nepal Bhasa) and a manuscript dated to 1464.
Cinema and theatre
Kathmandu is home to Nepali cinema and theaters. The city contains
several theaters, including the National Dance Theatre in Kanti Path,
the Ganga Theatre, the Himalayan Theatre and the Aarohan Theater Group
founded in 1982. The M. Art Theater is based in the city. The Gurukul
School of Theatre organizes the
Kathmandu International Theater
Festival, attracting artists from all over the world. A mini
theater is also at the Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, established by the
Durbar Conservation and Promotion Committee.
Kathmandu has a number of movie theatres (old single screen
establishments and some new multiplexes) showing Nepali, Bollywood,
and Hollywood films. Some old establishments include Vishwajyoti
Cinema Hall, Jai
Nepal Hall, Kumari Cinema Hall, Gopi
Hall and Guna Cinema Hall.
Kathmandu also houses some international
standard cinema theatres and multiplexes, such as QFX Cinemas, Cine De
Chef, Fcube Cinemas, Q's Cinemas Big Movies, BSR Movies etc.
Buddhist musical performance during Gunla
Kathmandu is the centre of music and dance in Nepal, and these art
forms are integral to understanding the city. Musical performances are
organized in cultural venues. Music is a part of the traditional
aspect of Kathmandu.
Gunla is the traditional music festival according
Newar music originated in Kathmandu. Furthermore,
music from all over
Nepal can be found in Kathmandu.
A number of hippies visited
Kathmandu during the 1970s and introduced
rock and roll, rock, and jazz to the city.
Kathmandu is noted
internationally for its jazz festival, popularly known as Jazzmandu.
It is the only jazz festival in the Himalayan region and was
established in March 2002. The festival attracts musicians from
countries worldwide, such as Australia, Denmark, United States, Benin,
and India.
The city has been referenced in numerous songs, including works by Cat
Mona Bone Jakon
Mona Bone Jakon (1970)),
Bob Seger ('Katmandu',
Beautiful Loser (1975)), Rush ('A Passage to Bangkok', Pulling into
Kathmandu; 2112, 1976),
Krematorij ('Kathmandu', Three Springs (2000))
Fito Páez (Tráfico por Katmandú – "Traffic through
One of the typical Nepali meal
Dal bhat in Kathmandu
The staple food of most people in
Kathmandu is dal bhat. This consists
of rice and lentil soup, generally served with vegetable curries,
achar and sometimes Chutney. Momo, a type of Nepali version of Tibetan
dumpling, has become prominent in
Nepal with many street vendors and
restaurants selling it. It is one of the most popular fast foods in
Kathmandu. Various Nepali variants of momo including buff (i.e.
buffalo) momo, chicken momo, and vegetarian momo are famous in
Most of the cuisines found in
Kathmandu are non-vegetarian. However,
the practice of vegetarianism is not uncommon, and vegetarian cuisines
can be found throughout the city. Consumption of beef is very uncommon
and considered taboo in many places. Buff (meat of water buffalo) is
very common. There is a strong tradition of buff consumption in
Kathmandu, especially among Newars, which is not found in other parts
of Nepal. Consumption of pork was considered taboo until a few decades
ago. Due to the intermixing with Kirat cuisine from eastern Nepal,
pork has found a place in
Kathmandu dishes. A fringe population of
devout Hindus and Muslims consider it taboo. The Muslims forbid eating
buff as from
Quran while Hindus eat all varieties except Cow's meat as
they consider Cow to be a goddess and symbol of purity. The chief
breakfast for locals and visitors is mostly Momo or Chowmein.
Kathmandu had only one western-style restaurant in 1955. A large
number of restaurants in
Kathmandu have since opened, catering Nepali
cuisine, Tibetan cuisine,
Chinese cuisine and
Indian cuisine in
particular. Many other restaurants have opened to accommodate locals,
expatriates, and tourists. The growth of tourism in
Kathmandu has led
to culinary creativity and the development of hybrid foods to
accommodate for tourists such as American chop suey, which is a
sweet-and-sour sauce with crispy noodles with a fried egg commonly
added on top and other westernized adaptations of traditional
cuisine. Continental cuisine can be found in selected places.
International chain restaurants are rare, but some outlets of Pizza
KFC have recently opened there. It also has several outlets of
the international ice-cream chain Baskin-Robbins
Kathmandu has a larger proportion of tea drinkers than coffee
drinkers. Tea is widely served but is extremely weak by western
standards. It is richer and contains tea leaves boiled with milk,
sugar and spices. Alcohol is widely drunk, and there are numerous
local variants of alcoholic beverages. Drinking and driving is
illegal, and authorities have a zero tolerance policy.
thwon (alcohol made from rice) are the alcoholic beverages of
Kathmandu, found in all the local bhattis (alcohol serving eateries).
Chhyaang, tongba (fermented millet or barley) and rakshi are alcoholic
beverages from other parts of
Nepal which are found in Kathmandu.
However, shops and bars in
Kathmandu widely sell western and Nepali
Buddhist festival during which statues of Buddhas from the
ancient monasteries are displayed together. Note the statue of Hanuman
next to the Buddhas in the picture, a common example of religious
harmony in Kathmandu.
Ram Baran Yadav
Ram Baran Yadav observing the street festival
of Yenya, which literally means "festival of Kathmandu"
Nepali Lakhe dancer
Kathmandu valley from Halchowk hill in Dipawali 2013
Most of the fairs and festivals in
Kathmandu originated in the Malla
period or earlier. Traditionally, these festivals were celebrated by
Newars. In recent years, these festivals have found wider
participation from other Kathmanduites as well. As the capital of the
Republic of Nepal, various national festivals are celebrated in
Kathmandu. With mass migration to the city, the cultures of
the west, Kirats from the east, Bon/Tibetan from the north, and
Mithila from the south meet in the capital and mingle harmoniously.
The festivities such as the Ghode (horse) Jatra, Indra Jatra, Dashain
Durga Puja festivals,
Shivratri and many more are observed by all
Buddhist communities of
Kathmandu with devotional fervor and
enthusiasm. Social regulation in the codes enacted incorporate Hindu
traditions and ethics. These were followed by the Shah kings and
previous kings, as devout Hindus and protectors of
Cultural continuity has been maintained for centuries in the exclusive
worship of goddesses and deities in
Kathmandu and the rest of the
country. These deities include the Ajima, Taleju (or Tulja Bhavani),
Digu taleju, and Kumari (the living goddess). The
artistic edifices have now become places of worship in the everyday
life of the people, therefore a roster is maintained to observe annual
festivals. There are 133 festivals held in the year.
Some of the traditional festivals observed in Kathmandu, apart from
those previously mentioned, are Bada Dashain, Tihar, Chhath, Maghe
Sankranti, Naga Panchami, Janai Poornima, Pancha Dan, Teej/Rishi
Panchami, Pahan Charhe,
Jana Baha Dyah Jatra
Jana Baha Dyah Jatra (White Machchhendranath
Jatra), and Matatirtha Aunsi.
Assumedly, together with the kingdom of Licchhavi (c. 400 to 750),
Hinduism and the endogam social stratification of the
Kathmandu Valley. The Pashupatinath Temple, Changu
Narayan temple (the oldest), and the
Kasthamandap are of particular
importance to Hindus. Other notable
Hindu temples in
Kathmandu and the
surrounding valley include Bajrayogini Temple,
Guhyeshwari Temple, and the Sobha Bhagwati shrine.
Bagmati River which flows through
Kathmandu is considered a holy
river both by Hindus and Buddhists, and many
Hindu temples are on the
banks of this river. The importance of the
Bagmati also lies in the
fact that Hindus are cremated on its banks, and Kirants are buried in
the hills by its side. According to the Nepali
Hindu tradition, the
dead body must be dipped three times into the
cremation. The chief mourner (usually the first son) who lights the
funeral pyre must take a holy riverwater bath immediately after
cremation. Many relatives who join the funeral procession also take
bath in the
Bagmati River or sprinkle the holy water on their bodies
at the end of cremation as the
Bagmati is believed to purify people
Buddhism in Nepal
Buddhism started in
Kathmandu with the arrival of
during the time of Buddha (c. 563 – 483 BCE). They started a
forest monastery in Sankhu. This monastery was renovated by Shakyas
after they fled genocide from Virudhaka (rule: 491–461 BCE).
Hindu Lichchavi era (c. 400 to 750), various monasteries
and orders were created which successively led to the formation of
Newar Buddhism, which is still practiced in the primary liturgical
language of Hinduism, Sanskrit.
Bhrikuti (7th-century) and artist Araniko
(1245–1306 CE) from that tradition of
Kathmandu valley played a
significant role in spreading
Tibet and China. There are
over 108 traditional monasteries (Bahals and Bahis) in
Newar Buddhism. Since the 1960s, the permanent Tibetan Buddhist
Kathmandu has risen significantly so that there are now
over fifty Tibetan
Buddhist monasteries in the area. Also, with the
Newar Buddhism, various Theravada Bihars have been
Main article: Kirat Mundhum
Mundhum is one of the indigenous animistic practices of Nepal.
It is practiced by Kirat people. Some animistic aspects of Kirant
beliefs, such as ancestor worship (worship of Ajima) are also found in
Newars of Kirant origin. Ancient religious sites believed to be
worshipped by ancient Kirats, such as Pashupatinath, Wanga Akash
Bhairabh (Yalambar) and
Ajima are now worshipped by people of all
Dharmic religions in Kathmandu. Kirats who have migrated from other
Mundhum in the city.
Sikhism is practiced primarily in Gurudwara at Kupundole. An earlier
Sikhism is also present in
Kathmandu which is now defunct.
Jainism is practiced by a small community. A Jain temple is present in
Gyaneshwar, where Jains practice their faith. According to the records
of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Nepal, there are
approximately 300 Baha'is in
Kathmandu valley. They have a National
Office in Shantinagar, Baneshwor. The Baha'is also have classes for
children at the National Centre and other localities in Kathmandu.
Islam is practised in
Kathmandu but Muslims are a minority, accounting
for about 4.2% of the population of Nepal. It is said
Kathmandu alone there are 170 Christian churches. Christian
missionary hospitals, welfare organizations, and schools are also
operating. Nepali citizens who served as soldiers in Indian and
British armies, who had converted to Christianity while in service, on
Nepal continue to practice their religion. They have
contributed to the spread of Christianity and the building of churches
Nepal and in Kathmandu, in particular.
The oldest modern school in
Nepal is Durbar High School, and the
oldest college, Tri Chandra College, are both in
Kathmandu city. The
largest (according to number of students and colleges), oldest and
most distinguished university in
Nepal is in
Kirtipur and is called
Tribhuvan University. The second largest university, Kathmandu
University (KU), is in Dhulikhel, Kavre on the outskirts of Kathmandu.
It is the second oldest university in Nepal, established in November
1991. Not surprisingly the best schools and colleges of
Kathmandu and its adjoining cities. Every year thousands of
students from all over
Nepal arrive at
Kathmandu to get admission in
the various schools and colleges. One of the key concerns of
educationists and concerned citizens is the massive outflux of
Nepal to outside
Nepal for studies. Every year thousands
of students apply for No objection certificates for studying abroad.
specialising in preparing students to go abroad can be found in all
prominent locations. The reason for such an outflux range from
perceived low quality of education, political instability, less
opportunities in job market, opportunities of earning while learning
abroad and better job prospects with an international degree.
Institute of Medicine, the central college of Tribhuwan
the first medical college of
Nepal and is in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu.
It was established in 1972 and started to impart medical education
from 1978. Other major institution include Patan Academy of Health
Kathmandu Medical College,
Nepal Medical College, KIST
Nepal Army Institute of Health Sciences, National
Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) and
Kathmandu University School of
Medical Sciences (KUSMS), are also in or around Kathmandu.
Dasarath Rangashala Stadium in Kathmandu
Football and cricket are the most popular sports among the younger
Nepal and there are several stadiums in the city.
The sport is governed by the National Sports Council from its
headquarters in Kathmandu. The only international football stadium in
the city is the Dasarath Rangasala Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium
used mostly for football matches and cultural events, in the
neighborhood of Tripureshwor. It is the largest stadium in
a capacity of 25,000 spectators, built in 1956. Martyr's Memorial
League is also held in this ground every year. The stadium was
renovated with Chinese help before the 8th
South Asian Games were held
Kathmandu and had floodlights installed.
Kathmandu is home to the
oldest football clubs of
Nepal such as RCT, Sankata and NRT. Other
prominent clubs include MMC, Machhindra FC,
Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC)
Kathmandu is also home of some of the oldest cricket clubs in Nepal,
such as Yangal Sports Club.
Kathmandu has the only recognised
international cricket ground in the country, TU Cricket Ground at the
University in Kirtipur. The Mulpani Cricket Stadium is the
under-construction cricket stadium in Mulpani,
Kathmandu which will be
the largest cricket stadium in the country with capacity of 30,000.
An international stadium for swimming events is in Satdobato,
Lalitpur, near Kathmandu. The ANFA Technical Football Center is just
adjacent to this stadium.
Aerial view of a road in Kathmandu
The total length of roads in
Nepal is recorded to be (17,182 km
(10,676 mi)), as of 2003–04. This fairly large network has
helped the economic development of the country, particularly in the
fields of agriculture, horticulture, vegetable farming, industry and
also tourism. In view of the hilly terrain, transportation takes
Kathmandu are mainly by road and air.
Kathmandu is connected
Tribhuvan Highway to the south,
Prithvi Highway to the west and
Araniko Highway to the north. The BP Highway, connecting
the eastern part of
Nepal is under construction.
The main international airport serving
Kathmandu and thus
Nepal is the
Tribhuvan International Airport, about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from
the city centre. Operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal
it has two terminals, one domestic and one international. At present,
about 26 international airlines connect
Nepal to other destinations in
Asia and the Middle East, to cities such as Istanbul, Delhi,
Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Dhaka,
Paro, Lhasa, Chengdu, and Guangzhou. Since 2013, Turkish Airlines
Istanbul to Kathmandu.
Oman Air also connects
Kathmandu since 2010. Regionally, several Nepali airlines operate
from the city, including Buddha Air,
Nepal Airlines and Yeti Airlines,
to other major towns across Nepal.
Sajha Yatayat provides regular bus services throughout
the surrounding Valley. Other bus companies including micro-bus
companies operate several unscheduled routes.
Trolleybusses used to operate on the route between Tripureshwor and
Surya Binak on a 13 kilometer route.
Ropeways are another important transportation means in hilly
terrain. A ropeway operated between
Hetauda over a
length of 43 km (27 mi) which carried 25 tonnes of goods per
hour. It has since been discontinued due to poor carrying capacity and
maintenance issues. During the Rana period, a ropeway was constructed
Kathmandu (then Mathathirtha) to Dhorsing (Makawanpur) of over
22 km (14 mi) in length, which carried cargo of 8 tonnes per
hour. Now there is a cable car operated in
Kathmandu in Chandragiri
Kathmandu is the most developed in Nepal, and the city
and surrounding valley is home to some of the best hospitals and
clinics in the country.
Bir Hospital is the oldest, established in
July 1889 by Bir Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana. Notable hospitals include
Nepal Mediciti hospital, Tribhuwan
of Medicine (Teaching Hospital), Patan Hospital,
Hospital, Scheer Memorial Hospital, Om Hospital, Norvic Hospital,
Grande International Hospital, Nobel Hospital,
Nepal medical college
and teaching hospital.
The city is supported by specialist hospitals/clinics such as Shahid
Shukra Tropical Hospital, Shahid Gangalal Foundation, Kathmandu
Nepal Eye Hospital, Kanti Children's Hospital,
Nepal International Clinic (Travel and Mountain medicine center),
Neuro Center, Spinal Rehabilitation center and
Hospital. Most of the general hospitals are in the city centre,
although several clinics are elsewhere in
Tilganga Institute of
Ophthalmology is an Ophthalmological hospital in
Kathmandu. It pioneered the production of low cost intraocular lenses
(IOLs), which are used in cataract surgery. The team of Dr. Sanduk
Ruit in the same hospital pioneered sutureless small-incision cataract
surgery (SICS), a technique which has been used to treat 4
million of the world's 20 million people with cataract blindness.
Nepali language magazine cover in 1951
Kathmandu is the television hub of Nepal.
established in 1985, is the oldest and most watched television channel
in Nepal, as is government-owned NTV 2 Metro, Channel Nepal, Image
Kantipur Television, Sagarmatha TV, Himalayan Television and
The headquarters of many of the country's news outlets are also in the
Kathmandu Tribune, the government-owned Gorkhapatra,
the oldest national daily newspaper in Nepal, The
Kantipur Publications and its paper Kantipur, the
Nepali language paper, The Himalayan Times, the
largest selling English broadsheet in Nepal, Karobar Economic Daily
and Aarthik Abhiyan National Daily are the only economic daily in
Nepal and Jana Aastha National Weekly.
Nepal Republic Media, the publisher of MyRepublica, joined a
publishing alliance with the
International Herald Tribune
International Herald Tribune (IHT), to
Asia Pacific Edition of IHT from
Kathmandu from 20 July
2011. There is a state-run National News Agency (RSS).
Nepal is a state-run organization which operates national and
regional radio stations. These stations are: Hits FM (Nepal), HBC 94
FM, Radio Sagarmatha,
Kantipur FM and Image FM. The BBC also has an FM
broadcasting station in Kathmandu. Among them small part of FM radio
Community radio Station, that are Radio Pratibodh F.M. –
102.4 MHz, Radio Upatyaka – 87.6 MHz etc.
Kathmandu is home to several international and regional organizations,
including the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), in order to promote international
relations has established an International Relations Secretariat
(IRC). KMC's first international relationship was established in 1975
with the city of Eugene, Oregon, United States. This activity has been
further enhanced by establishing formal relationships with 8 other
cities: Motsumoto City of Japan, Rochester of the USA, Yangon
(formerly Rangoon) of Myanmar,
Xi'an of the People's Republic of
Minsk of Belarus, and
Pyongyang of the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea. KMC's constant endeavor is to enhance its
SAARC countries, other International agencies and
many other major cities of the world to achieve better urban
management and developmental programs for Kathmandu.
Twin towns – Sister cities
Kathmandu is twinned with:
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Eugene, United States
Johannesburg, South Africa
Miami, United States
Pyongyang, DPR Korea
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Québec City, Canada
Amrita Acharia, professional actress
Narendra Man Singh, professional footballer
Prakash Neupane, rapper and activist
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kathmandu.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kathmandu.
Geographic data related to
Kathmandu at OpenStreetMap
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