Kathmandu is the beating heart of Nepal and the centre of its history, art, and culture. A thriving city of over a million people, it can both overwhelm and intrigue in equal measure. Known as the ‘City of Temples’ because of its vast number of gilded stupas, pagodas, and the endless temples lining the narrow winding backstreets; Kathmandu is a spiritual city with a rich living history of Buddhist & Hindu worshippers going about their lives much as they have for centuries.
At its ancient core is the famous Durbar Square, surrounded by the palaces of the Malla & Shah kings. More than fifty temples, 106 monastery courtyards (bahals) and countless shrines line its narrow, cobbled backstreets. Settle onto one of the terraced platforms of the Manju Devul tower to watch the exotic bustle of marigold sellers, saffron-clad sadhus, stray cows and pigeons - a scene little changed in centuries. From there journey out to the Boudhanath Stupa located on the old trade route to Tibet, up to the hilltop ‘Monkey Temple’ of Swayambhunath, and down to the banks of the Bagmati River to the Shiva temple of Pashupatinath.
Kathmandu also has a more contemporary side, seen in the vibrant live music, food and art scene, shopping districts and the persistent construction projects. The mix of old and new makes for fascinating walking tours, as atmospheric alleyways full of iconic shrines lead into hectic local markets and busy roadways.