I think I’m going to Katmandu That’s really, really where I’m going to If I ever get out of here That’s what I’m gonna do K-k-k-k-k-k Katmandu I think that’s really where I’m going to If I ever get out of here I’m going to Katmandu
The lyrics of the famous song ‘KATMANDU’ was written and recorded by American rock star Bob Segar in 1975. We don’t know for sure if Bob ever visited Kathmandu, but we do know that every time someone listens to this song, they want to go to Kathmandu!
The Capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is an ancient city well known to the outside world as the city of temples. Kathmandu is also the largest metropolis and stands at an elevation of 1400 meters approximately above sea level. There are several other municipalities (kingdoms in their own right in ancient days) that bound Kathmandu valley. Lalitpur metropolitan city (Patan) lies towards the south of the river Bagmati, towards the southwest we have Kirtipur municipality and to the east we have Madhyapur Thimi municipality. There are eight important rivers that run through the valley and they are; Bagmati, Bishnumati, Manohara Khola, Hanumante Khola, Tukucha Khola And Dhobi Khola.
Kathmandu tourism is totally dependent on the well-being and harmony of all the four municipalities. All four of them are home to some extraordinary history, precious UNESCO world heritage sites, temples, art and architecture, religion and of course multiple ethnicities.
Today we are here to discuss the most important and interesting places to visit while you are in Kathmandu valley.
Interesting Places To Visit While In Kathmandu
#1 All Three Durbar Squares: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar Square
Kathmandu city has three charming Durbar Squares; Kathmandu Durbar Square is located right in the heart of the old town. This place is also popularly known as Hanuman Dhoka or Basantapur. The Durbar Square is a collection of temples, palaces and museums. The popular sites to check out in Kathmandu Durbar Square are Seto(white) Bhairav, Taleju Temple, Jagannath Temple, Kumari Ghar, Indrapur Temple etc.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is another magnificent spot to time travel back to the past and indulge your senses to some fine art and architecture. There are some really interesting and unique monuments here. The ones to look out for are, Nyatapola Temple, Bhairavnath Temple, Vatsala Temple, Lun Dhwakha (golden gate) to name a few. While you are at it, you could also explore the little newar alleyways and corridors and revel in the aesthetics of the place.
Patan Durbar Square is perhaps the most well-maintained and less unharmed after the devastating earthquake of 2015. Like all the other durbar squares of Kathmandu valley, Patan also boasts to have been the royal residence of the then Malla kings. Some important landmarks that you shouldn’t miss out on are Krishna mandir, Bhimsen temple, Taleju Bhawani Temple, Keshav Narayan Chowk, Sundari Chowk etc. While you are at it, don’t forget to try some of the famous Newari cuisine found in the area. Patan Durbar Square Museum is also another attraction for history and art lovers.
#2 Boudhanath Stupa
Boudanath Stupa dominates the skyline of Kathmandu as it is one of the largest and unique stupas in the world. A UNESCO world heritage site like all three Durbar Squares, Boudanath is an important religious site for Tibetan Buddhism. Many legends are associated with the stupa, one being that the stupa entombs the remains of Kassapa Buddha.
Travel Tip- Don’t forget to check out all the different shops in and around the Stupa and also indulge your taste buds to some comforting Tibetan cuisine.
#3 Pashupatinath Temple
The importance of Pashupatinath temple surpasses the reputation of all the other sites within the Kathmandu valley. Lord Pashupatinath or Shiva is also the patron protector of Kathmandu city. To know how important this temple is to Hindu people, just ask any devotee in and around the temple, you’ll get the answer. Among the seven UNESCO world heritage sites within the valley, Pashupatinath temple holds a special place among the people of Kathmandu.
Travel tip: Maha Shivratri festival, which usually falls in the month of February or March is the best time to visit the temple. If you are planning to visit the temple, we would suggest you do so in the evening after sunset.
#4 Swayambhunath – the Monkey Temple
The watchful Swayambhunath eyes look down on the vast valley below as if it were protecting the city. The stupa of Swayambhunath is closely related to the formation of the city Kathmandu. The stupa resides on top of a hill and as the name suggests it is supposed to have sprung up from the ground by itself. The stupa is also home to hundreds of monkeys and they are not just any monkey. They are holy and considered guardians of the stupa. It is one of the oldest religious sites of Nepal and of course a UNESCO world heritage site.
Travel Tip: Don’t carry any food while climbing the stairs to the stupa. The monkeys on the hill may be considered sacred but that does not stop them from snatching your food.
#5 Asan Tole
From all the markets in Kathmandu, Ason perhaps takes the title ‘the king of all markets in Kathmandu’. Located in the city center, very close to Kathmandu Durbar Square, Asan is a traditional Asian bazaar jammed with all kinds of goods like spices, vegetables, yak tails, dried fish, wooden handcrafted souvenirs, metal work, clothes and many more. Six streets converge and lead straight to market, thus giving the market its strategic location. Indra Chowk, which holds many temples and is an important tourist destination is just next to the market and is a must-visit.
Interesting fact: Another popular song named ‘Katmandu’ written by Cat Stevens was written in some hippie tea house in Asan Tole.
Travel Tip: Thamel Kathmandu, the very popular nightlife zone of Kathmandu is located a stone throw away from Ason. After your market tour, head to Thamel for a drink.
Nagarkot is located 32 km east of Kathmandu in Bhaktapur district. At an elevation of 2195m/7201ft, it is considered to be the most scenic destination. You can enjoy the view of the Himalayan ranges right from your hotel room. Nagarkot also boasts to have the broadest views of the Himalayas with about eight ranges visible. They are Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Jugal, Everest, and Rowaling ranges. Nagarkot sunrise is very popular and both locals and tourists drive up from Kathmandu before dawn to catch the mesmerizing sunrise from Nagarkot view tower.
Travel tip: While on your way back from Nagarkot, you can also visit the very popular Vishnu temple called Changu Narayan. This temple is the oldest temple of Nepal and holds many ancient sculptures, artifacts and a rich history.
If you have plenty of time and don’t want to leave without having visited all the other important and interesting spots in Kathmandu, then you will have to add more time to the time you already have. This is because Kathmandu valley has so many places of history, art, architecture, tradition that your hands are going to be full.
List of Places to Visit in Kathmandu Valley
Here is a list of all the other places that you could visit while in Kathmandu valley: