Kathmandu (Nepal)

According to ITYPEMBA, Kathmandu is the capital and largest city of Nepal with a population of over 850 thousand people. It is located in the Kathmandu valley at an altitude of about 1300 m above sea level. The valley itself is surrounded on three sides by mountain ranges of the Mahabharat ridge, the main water artery of the valley is the Bagmati River, which flows through the entire valley from north to south and through the city itself. For the Nepalese, Bagmati is considered a sacred river, as it not only originates in the mountains near the Kathmandu valley, but also then flows into the Ganges. Kathmandu valley and the city itself, which occupies its center, lie in the temperate climatic zone, but nevertheless, the influence of the monsoon is noticeable here too. In the summer months, from May to September, the rainy season lasts, during which up to 80% of all annual precipitation falls. In Kathmandu, on average, 1125 mm of precipitation falls during the monsoon, while in total about 1440 mm falls annually. At the same time, during the rainy season, the average daytime temperature fluctuates around 27-28 o C, and at night it does not fall below 19-20 o C. Therefore, the most favorable for visiting Kathmandu are the spring and autumn months, when there is no sweltering heat (the average temperature during the day is 23-25 oC), the sun is shining brightly, and there is not much precipitation. The winter months are also quite comfortable for visiting (the average temperature during the day is 18-20 o C), however, there are frosts at night, and low clouds and fog descend from the mountains in the afternoon. In general, in the Kathmandu valley, climatic conditions are among the most comfortable in the country, and in combination with natural protection in the form of mountain ranges, made this area the most densely populated part of Nepal.

The first palace on the territory of modern Kathmandu was built in the 9th century during the reign of the ruler Gunakam Dev from the Thakuri dynasty. According to one version, the name of the palace “Kastamandup” (House of Trees) is the origin of the modern name of the capital of Nepal.. Be that as it may, but the very name of Kathmandu is mentioned in the annals only from the 14th century. For several centuries of isolated development, Kathmandu has acquired individual and unique features and its own special architectural style. It has turned into a kind of historical and architectural open-air museum. Basically, the appearance of the capital has been preserved since the 17th-18th centuries, when during the reign of the Malla dynasty, the three principalities in the Kathmandu valley competed with each other in the wealth of palaces and temples.

The historical center of Kathmandu, like many other Nepalese cities, is Durbar Square., but in our palace. There are several palaces, temples, pagodas and other architectural monuments on it, forming a complex and intricate pattern on the square. One of the most famous palaces located on the square is Hanuman Dhoka, its name is sometimes used to refer to the square as a whole, so confusion can arise. The palace includes an intricate network of randomly connected courtyards, pagodas, tombs, numerous columns and statues. In the corners of the palace are four high towers, built by order of the ruler by artisans from different cities of the Kathmandu valley. All of them make a strong impression, but the Bazantapur tower, built by the inhabitants of Kathmandu itself, was still the highest. You can climb the tower and enjoy the panorama of the roofs of the old city, and in good weather you can see the mountains surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. The main entrance to the palace, the golden gate, is guarded by a statue of Hanuman, the monkey god, hence the name of the palace. The palace itself now houses several museums, including the Dynasty Museum, the Numismatic Museum, and the Tribhuvan Museum. And some courts still play an important role in the cultural life of the country, for example, Nasal Chowk (chok – court) is used for the coronation of rulers, and Mul Chowk for sacrifices during the Dasain holiday. The square also houses the Taleju temple, built in the 16th century by the ruler Mahendra from the Malla dynasty. Opposite the entrance to the Hanuman Dhoka Palace stands the Krishna Mandir., an example of one of the few octagonal pagodas in Nepal.

Not far from Hanuman Dhoka is the Kumari Ghar temple. – the residence of the living goddess Kumari. The Nepalese believe that Kumari moves into a girl from a certain caste and stays until she bleeds for the first time. When this happens, the girl loses her sacred status as a living incarnation of the goddess and continues to live an ordinary life, and the clergy look for a new incarnation of Kumari. The living goddess lives in seclusion in her residence, only occasionally looking out of the window, closed at normal times by dense carved shutters. Nepalese believe that the appearance of Kumari brings good luck, and can stand for hours under the windows of her palace. Near the temple palace of Kumari there are several interesting temples and pagodas, among them a small temple in honor of Ashok Vinayak, also known as Kathmandu Ganesh or Maru Ganesh and Jaishi Dewal Buddhist Temple notable for its erotic carvings.

On the main shopping street of Kathmandu, Indra Chuok, there is a three-story temple Akash Bhairav, dedicated to the god of heaven. His image is hung on the temple during the celebration of Indra Yatra, a festival in honor of the god of rain. On Mahendra Bahal, between Indra Chowk and Asan streets, there is a temple of light – Mahendra Nath. This beautiful pagoda features an interesting two-tiered bronze roof. There are sacrificial statues in the courtyard, and the deity Mahendra, or otherwise Padmapani Avalokiteshvor, is depicted on the altar, deified by both Hindus and Buddhists. Tundikhel District, bordering on one side with the old city, is a green area intended for celebrations, parades, festivals and sports competitions. On one side of Tundikhel are Ratna Park, an open-air theater and the pavilion of the Royal Nepal Army, on the other – the military Headquarters and the Dasharat Stadium (Dasharat Rangashala). To the west of Tundikhel is the Mahakal Temple. In Tundikhel, you can also see the 60-meter Dharahara Tower, built by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa in 1832. Golden fountains were built at the foot of the tower at the same time. In the eastern part of Tundikhel is the temple of the goddess Bhadrakali. It is also known as the Lumarhi temple and is one of the most important Bhagavati temples in Kathmandu.. Between the Dharahara Tower and the Bhadrakali Temple is the Martyrs’ Memorial Gate, decorated with statues of King Tribhuvan and the Four Martyrs.

One of the attractions of Kathmandu is the Singh Palace, built in neoclassical style during the reign of the Rana dynasty. Now the secretariat of the government is located there. Also known is Narayanhiti Palace, which is currently the residence of the King of Nepal. The legendary spring of Narayanhiti is located on the territory of the palace. On this, perhaps, one can end the enumeration of the sights of the central part of Kathmandu, although each street here keeps its own monuments of architecture and art.

8 km north of Kathmandu, at the foot of Mount Sivapuri, is a famous Hindu pilgrimage site, Budhanilkanta. There, in the center of a small pond, is a colossal statue of Vishnu resting on a bed of snakes. It looks like the statue is floating on water. This is one of the masterpieces of stone sculpture of the 5th century of the Licchavi period. The Balaju Water Garden is located about 5 km northwest of Kathmandu, at the foot of Mount Nagajun. The park in Balaju, Balaju Uddyan or Mahendra Park, is famous for its 22 crocodile head fountains built in the middle of the 18th century. Inside the garden is a statue of Vishnu resting – a copy of the statue from Buddhalikant.

Fans of cognitive rest will find a lot of interesting things not only in the numerous palaces and temples, but also in the museums of Kathmandu. The National Museum contains a remarkable collection of weapons, as well as archaeological finds from ancient, medieval and modern Nepal. The Natural History Museum, the only museum of its kind in Nepal, contains unique collections of butterflies, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, plants and various fossils collected throughout the country. In the museum you can get acquainted with the scientific work carried out on the study of alpine flora and fauna, alpine birds. Both museums are located to the west of the palace square, not far from the sacred hill of Swayambhu, where one of the most famous stupas of Nepal is located. The Swayambhunath Buddhist temple complex is located on the western outskirts of Kathmandu., three kilometers from the tourist district of Thamel, on top of Swayambhu hill. The very word “Swayambunath” (Swayambhunath) means “created himself from nothing a million million years ago for everyone and forever.” The center of the complex and the main attraction is a white stupa, standing on top of a hill. From below, 365 steps lead to it according to the number of days in a year. According to Buddhist beliefs, the Swayambhunath stupa was built in the most favorable place in the Kathmandu valley from the point of view of astral forces.. Therefore, it is believed that the mantras and prayers uttered here have “thirteen billion times” greater power. Many small pagodas and temples have been built on the slopes of the hill. Hindus, who also revere Swayambhunath, also have their own sanctuary. But above all the buildings rises a stupa in the center with a high conical dome topped with a copper-plated spire. The base of the spire, as usual, on four sides is decorated with the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha with a sign denoting one in the middle. A monkey grove is spread around the hill, in which a huge number of semi-wild monkeys have taken root, fed by monks, pilgrims and tourists.

In the east of Kathmandu there is another famous and also the largest stupa in Nepal – Boddhanath.. Unlike the Swayambhunath stupa, it is located not on a hill, but in a residential area, but due to its size, it is visible from afar and determines the life of not only the area surrounding it, but the entire area filled with Tibetan monasteries, gompas and souvenir shops. A white stupa towering above the square and decorated with traditional multi-colored flags gives the surrounding world an atmosphere of celebration, and mantras, prayer wheels and the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha – an atmosphere of mystery. The base of the Boddatath stupa is made in the form of a three-level mandala, symbolizing the earth. Above the base rises the domed part of the stupa, symbolizing water. The spire rising above the dome symbolizes fire. An umbrella mounted on a spire symbolizes the air. Above the umbrella rises the tip, denoting the ether. All-seeing eyes of Buddha depicted on each of the four sides of the rectangular base of the spire of the stupa, look vigilantly in the direction of the four cardinal points. The steeple consists of thirteen steps, representing the thirteen stages on the path to liberation from samsara. Several dozen monasteries were built around the stupa, representing almost all the traditions and directions of Tibetan Buddhism. After all, it was the Buddhanath stupa that met the Tibetans in front of the entrance to Kathmandu, who walked along the most important trade route that connected Lhasa with the capital of Nepal. Tibetan merchants stopped here to offer prayers for the successful completion of the difficult and dangerous crossing of the Himalayas.

On the way to the Bodhnath stupa there is another small stupa – Chabakhil, even more ancient. It was built by Charumati, the daughter of the Indian emperor Ashoka, in the 3rd century BC, after her marriage to the local prince Devapala. That is why Chabakhil is also called Devapatan. There are several ancient statues around the stupa.

On the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu, there is another attraction of the capital – a large Hindu temple complex Pashupatinath. The temple complex is located on both banks of the Bagmati River, sacred to Hindus. It is dedicated to Shiva in the guise of Pashupati, the king of animals, or otherwise the lord of living beings. The main temple of Pashupatinath, considered a masterpiece of Hindu architecture, was built in the 19th century. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims from Nepal and Indiacome here every day.. The main temples and buildings of the complex are located on the western shore of Bagmati, only Hindus are allowed to enter here. However, the architecture of temples and funeral rites, especially attracting tourists, can be observed from the eastern shore, open to all comers. Many temples of Pashupatinath are located in the park, where there are special paths for tourists. Monkeys and other animals feel quite at ease in this park, being under the auspices of Pashupati. Also in the park and near the temples you can meet numerous sadhus, wandering worshipers of Shiva, practicing yoga and performing various vows. Usually they look very colorful and allow themselves to be photographed for money. Near Pashupatinath there is another historical and sacred temple – Guheshvari. It was built in honor of the goddess Sati (Parvati) – the wife of Shiva. However, there is not a single image of the goddess inside the temple. Entry is also allowed only to Hindus.

In the suburbs of Kathmandu, there are also interesting places to visit, such as the hunting grounds of the royal family, also known as the Gokarna Safari Park. They are located about 10 km northeast of Kathmandu on the banks of the Bagmati River. Lots of wild animals such as sika deer can be seen during the elephant ride. In the northern part of Gokarna, on the way to Sundarijal, is the Gokarneshwor Mahadev Pagoda, standing on the edge of the Bagmati Gorge. And 9 km southeast of Kathmandu is the Chobar Gorge. This place is famous for the picturesque gorge through which all the waters of the Kathmandu valley flow. According to legend, Bodhisattva Manjushri cut through this gorge to drain the valley. Kathmandu, which at that time was a lake. At the top of the hill is a small but picturesque temple of Adinat. From the top there is an extraordinary view of the snow-covered peaks. Just beyond the Chobhar Gorge is the Jal Vinayak temple. The image of the deity is carved on a massive rock, extending beyond the temple. The depiction in Jal Vinayak is different from other depictions of Ganesh. Many places near Kathmandu, due to the scenic views, are great for picnics and hiking.

Kathmandu (Nepal)