It is said
that king Gun Kamdev founded Kathmandu in the year 723 AD. If you go
by the legend, the area was a lake in the past. A Buddhist deity named
Manjushri liked the place and wanted habitation there. The Buddhist
god then bifurcated the hill to the south and allowed the water to
flow out. As the water flowed out, the region became habitable. Of
course, this is a Buddhist tradition and is different from the one by
Hindus. The origin of the name is still unclear and historians spin
new theories every other day according to their whim and fancies.
Nevertheless one of the more likely theories is that it was named
after Kastha-Mandap ("temple of wood" in Sanskrit). King Laxmi
Narashingha Malla commissioned a pagoda carved from the single tree in
1596 and it might be possible that the same pagoda is behind its
Airport at Kathmandu is the sole international airport in Nepal.
Kathmandu has a good
road network. There are several land routes that you may take from
India to reach Kathmandu. From Gorakhpur, there are several modes
of land transport that take you across to Nepal and Kathmandu in
The hilltop Stupa of Swayambhunath, considered 2,000 years old, is one
of the holiest places for Newari Buddhists. The hilltop is a pleasant
spot to view the valley and is home to hordes of monkeys. On major
Buddhist festivals like Buddha Punima or Tibetan Losar (New Year),
Buddhists throng to the stupa.
The Pashupatinath Temple, situated on the banks of River Baghmati
around 8 km from the city, is one of the holiest Hindu shrines. The
presiding deity here is Shiva, who is worshipped in the form of the
lingam. However, only Hindus are allowed inside. An annual pilgrimage
on the occasion of Shivaratri is organised here every year in the
month of February.
Boudnath is one of the largest stupas in the world and an important
Buddhist pilgrimage. Today, Boudnath bustles with Tibetan population,
busy with carpet manufacture, trade, and prayers at the several
monasteries belonging to different sects of Tibetan Buddhism.
The name of the old royal palace has been derived from the statue of
Hanuman (the monkey god of Hindu mythology) that guards the entrance.
The building has remained uninhabited from the days of its first
construction in the 13th century. Most of the older structures are now
gone and the present building is a highly modified version of the
earlier one. It is now used mainly for royal ceremonies. The main
attractions here include the Nasal Chowk, Tribhuvan Memorial Museum
(the section open to public), Basantpur Tower, Mahendra Memorial
Museum, and a stone inscription.
hh - heritage hotel ; ph -
palace hotel ; bh - boutique hotel ; gh - guest house ; hs - home stay