Sheltered in the foothills of the Himalayas is Kathmandu Valley, a melting pot for the nation’s population. Historically, Kathmandu Valley was a confederation known as Nepal Mandala. Today, it happens to be the most developed and populated place in Nepal, with the grandeur of the past rubbing shoulders with the latest technological advances.
Kathmandu Valley comprises the three ancient cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. According to historical sources, the Kathmandu Valley was inhabited as early as 300 BCE. The Gopala and Kirati dynasties were the earliest rulers of Kathmandu Valley, followed by the Licchavis. In the year 1979, Kathmandu Valley which has been categorised into seven different Monument Zones, was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There are at least 130 important monuments, including several pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists here.
Some of the must visit hotspots in Kathmandu Valley include:
• Kathmandu Durbar Square: Situated at Basantpur in Old Kathmandu, Durbar Square was built between the 12th and the 18th centuries by the ancient Malla kings of Nepal. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that since the Malla reign, the Durbar Square has been the social, religious and political focal point of the city. The Kathmandu Durbar Square includes Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace, Taleju Temple, Kal Bhairab, Nautalle Durbar among others.
• Pharping: Located at a distance of 18 km from Kathmandu, Pharping’s main attraction is an elaborate 17th-century temple, which is home to Goddess Bajra Jogini.
• Thamel: From bars, restaurants, souvenir shops to bookshops, this is the perfect tub for tourists. Thamel is a mere ten minute walk from Kathmandu.
• Swayambhunath Stupa: Perched on a hillock, it is one of the holiest Buddhist Chaityas in Nepal, which was created out of a primordial lake more than 2,000 years ago.
• Pashupatinath Temple: Renowned as one of the most sacred Lord Shiva shrines, it was created approximately around 400 A.D. Home to the sacred Shiva linga, the temple is in the form of a two-tiered pagoda with golden roofs and silver doors.
• Balaju Garden: Built in the eighteenth century, Balaju Garden is located on the foothills of Nagarjuna Hills. A replica of the stone image of Budhanilkantha is located in the centre of the garden.
In order to access Kathmandu Valley, the best option is to land at Tribhuvan International Airport and make Kathmandu the base point, at least for a day or two. Depending on the number of days you have and what you want to explore, you can then access the other tourist attractions. There is no dearth of accommodation options in and around Kathmandu Valley. Tourists can find hotels depending on their budget preferences.
As far as the best time to visit Kathmandu Valley is concerned,the summer months, that is the duration between May and September can get rather hot, with temperatures often crossing the 30 degree mark. Even in the usual winter months, that is from December to February, the daytime is bright with temperatures in the 20 degree range. However, the nights tend to get freezing in the winter months. Ultimately, it depends on the tourist
when she wishes to plan a vacation to the Kathmandu Valley, as the climatic conditions are no bar.
So if you’re looking for a pocket friendly vacation, Kathmandu Valley, with its diverse variety is the place to visit!