Kathmandu - city of glory
Kathmandu is a unique place to be, a city of glory and a must-see this season! Here are the highlights.
There are three thousand temples in Kathmandu and probably as many monuments. You may not be aware that Nepal has the highest concentration of World Heritage Sites in the world, with the Kathmandu Valley alone having 7 World Heritage Sites in one place. Boudhnath (pictured above) and Swyambhunath Stupas are the most visited places.
Kathmandu is also a gateway to the Himalayas and eight of the highest peaks of the world are situated in Nepal. Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest, 8848m) is the highest peak on earth and begins from Kathmandu.
Initially, Kathmandu was known as Kantipur, meaning city of glory and there are many legends about it. Despite political turmoil, Kathmandu attracts a large number of tourists compared to many big cities in Asia. The reason is not only because of its beautiful surroundings but it also serves some unique food.
Kathmandu is a hub for cheap fast food such as chicken or meat dumplings and there is a unique food available only to Kathmandu, which every discerning visitor should try - the Nepali people call it momo.
Momo is prepared with a mincemeat filling but in recent years this has changed and the fillings have become more elaborate. These days momo is prepared with virtually any combination of ground meat and vegetables. One of the best things about the dish is the pickles that come with it, which are prepared from a secret mix of spices only known to Nepalese chefs!
Kathmandu's history is as unique as the food. According to the legend, the city was a lake in the past but Manjushri, a disciple of the Buddha, cut open a hill to the south and allowed the water to flow out, making the region hospitable for people.
The origin of the present name is unclear but one of the more likely theories is that it was named after Kastha-Mandap (temple of wood in Sanskrit), which is a pagoda carved from a single tree on the order of the King in 1596. You can still see a kasth-mandap temple made from a single tree in the heart of Kathmandu.
It is possible to fly to Kathmandu from all major destinations around the globe and it is also a convenient place to pass through if you want to travel to Tibet. You can easily book a flight from Kathmandu to Tibet or an overland tour instead.