Ancient History and a Thriving, Modern Culture
The history of Kathmandu is full of tall tales and myths, and the old stories say that the city was created when Manjushree, a Buddhist saint, used his sword to break the wall of the valley and drain a giant lake. Scientists and archaeologists have since found that the lake actually drained away roughly 10,000 years ago – but civilization only really appeared on the remaining land in around the 2nd century, BC. Since then, Kathmandu has seen the rise and fall of many civilizations and regimes, from the Licchavi and Malla era, to the times of early Shah rule, and the later Rana rule.
Kathmandu may be best known for its history, but a surprising fact about the city is that it’s home to some amazing food. Specifically, Kathmandu is the best place in the whole country to try momos, which include minced meat or vegetables wrapped up in dough, before being steamed or deep fried. Accompanied by spicy sauces, momos are a delicious meal whether you purchase them from one of the many street vendors, or in cafes and restaurants. Kathmandu chefs also serve up delicious fried chicken and pork, so you’ll never be without something delicious to eat.
To get the best view of the city, be sure to click the three hundred (or more) steps to reach the Swayambhu. This is a golden and ancient stupa, a hemispherical building that contains ancient relics. At the top, you’ll have an incredible 360-degree of the entire city and the surrounding mountains and Kathmandu Valley, which is a sight you’ll always remember. Be aware, however – the stupa is often called the “Monkey Temple,” because of the large number of monkeys in the area. Be sure to keep your food protected, because monkeys can be quite forward!
Durbar Square is another tourist hotspot that is well worth seeing. It’s a popular plaza in the center of the old town, and it’s packed full of royal architecture and medieval buildings. The Three Buddha Park, which is located to the west of the “Monkey Temple,” is a popular park that has three large Buddha statues. Each of the statues are 20 meters high, and the garden is an amazing place to relax during the daytime. It’s the perfect place to stop and rest your feet after a day walking around Kathmandu’s many attractions.