KATHMANDU

Introduction

Info Kathmandu

introduction

Kathmandu is the capital and largest municipality of Nepal.  Kathmandu Metropolitan City has a population of 975,453 and measures 49.45 square kilometres (19.09 sq mi).

The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal.

Kathmandu is the gateway to tourism in Nepal. It is also the hub of the country's economy. It has the most advanced infrastructure of any urban area in Nepal, and its economy is focused on tourism. Tourism in Kathmandu declined thereafter during a period of political unrest, but since then has improved.

The city has a rich history, spanning nearly 2000 years, as inferred from inscriptions found in the valley. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Most of Kathmandu's people follow Hinduism and many others follow Buddhism. There are people of other religious beliefs as well, giving Kathmandu a cosmopolitan culture.

info

POPULATION : City: 975,453 
FOUNDED :  900s BC
TIME ZONE : Nepal Standard Time (UTC+5:45) 
LANGUAGE : Nepali , English ( understood by many)
RELIGION : Hindu, Buddhist , Muslim, Kirant
AREA : 49.45 km2 (19.09 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 1,400 m (4,600 ft)
COORDINATES : 27°42′N 85°20′E
SEX RATIO : Male: 48.40%  
 Female: 51.60%
ETHNIC : Newar (29.6%), Matwali (25.1% Sunuwar, Gurung, Magars, Tamang etc.), Khas Brahmins (20.51%),  Chettris (18.5%), Others 6.29%
AREA CODE : 01
POSTAL CODE : 44600 (GPO), 44601, 44602, 44604, 44605, 44606, 44608, 44609, 44610, 44611, 44613, 44614, 44615, 44616, 44617, 44618, 44619, 44620, 44621
DIALING CODE : +977 1
WEBSITE : Official Website

Tourism

Tourism is a major source of income for most of the people in the city, with several hundred thousand visitors annually. Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world visit Kathmandu's religious sites such as Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and Budhanilkantha. From a mere 6,179 tourists in 1961/62, the number jumped to 491,504 in 1999/2000. Following the end of the Maoist insurgency, there was a significant rise of 509,956 tourist arrivals in 2009. Since then, tourism has improved as the country turned into a Democratic Republic. In economic terms, the foreign exchange registered 3.8% of the GDP in 1995/96 but then started declining. The high level of tourism is attributed to the natural grandeur of the Himalayas and the rich cultural heritage of the country.

The neighbourhood of Thamel is Kathmandu's primary "traveller's ghetto", packed with guest houses, restaurants, shops, and bookstores, catering to tourists. Another neighbourhood of growing popularity is Jhamel, a name for Jhamsikhel coined to rhyme with Thamel.Jhochhen Tol, also known as Freak Street, is Kathmandu's original traveler's haunt, made popular by the hippies of the 1960s and 1970s; it remains a popular alternative to Thamel. Asan is a bazaar and ceremonial square on the old trade route to Tibet, and provides a fine example of a traditional neighbourhood.

With the opening of the tourist industry after the change in the political scenario of Nepal in 1950, the hotel industry drastically improved.Now Kathmandu boasts several luxury such as the Hyatt Regency, Dwarika's, theYak & Yeti, The Everest Hotel, Hotel Radisson, Hotel De L'Annapurna, The Malla Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel.


Tourist Information

  • Nepal Tourism BoardExhibition Rd (Right next to Bhrikuti Mandap Park (Bhrikutimandi)), +977 1-4256909. Daily 07.00-19.00

History

Archaeological excavations in parts of Kathmandu have found evidence of ancient civilizations. The oldest of these findings is a statue, found in Maligaon, that was dated at 185 AD.

The earliest Western reference to Kathmandu appears in an account of Jesuit Fathers Johann Grueber and Albert d'Orville. In 1661, they passed through Nepal on their way from Tibet to India, and reported that they reached "Cadmendu, the capital of the Kingdom of Necbal".


Ancient history

The ancient history of Kathmandu is described in its traditional myths and legends. According to Swayambhu Purana, present-day Kathmandu was once a huge and deep lake. The lake was cut drained by bodhisatwa Manjusri with his sword and the water was evacuated out from there and he established a city called Manjupattan and made Dharmakar the ruler of the valley land.


Medieval history

The Licchavis from the Indo-Gangetic plain migrated north and defeated the Kiratas, establishing the Licchavi dynasty. During this era, following the genocide of Shakyas in Lumbini by Virudhaka, the survivors migrated north and entered the forest monastery in Sankhu masquerading as Koliyas. From Sankhu, they migrated to Yambu and Yengal (Lanjagwal and Manjupattan) and established the first permanent Buddhist monasteries of Kathmandu. This created the basis of Newar Buddhism, which is the only surviving Sanskrit-based Buddhist tradition in the world.

The Licchavi era was followed by the Malla era. Rulers from Tirhut, upon being attacked by Muslims, fled north to the Kathmandu valley. They intermarried with Nepali royalty, and this led to the Malla era. The early years of the Malla era were turbulent, with raids and attacks from Khas and Turk Muslims. There was also a devastating earthquake which claimed the lives of a third of Kathmandu's population, including the king Abhaya Malla. These disasters led to the destruction of most of the architecture of the Licchavi era (such as Mangriha and Kailashkut Bhawan), and the loss of literature collected in various monasteries within the city. Despite the initial hardships, Kathmandu rose to prominence again and, during most of the Malla era, dominated the trade between India and Tibet. Nepali currency became the standard currency in trans-Himalayan trade.


Modern era

The Gorkha Kingdom ended the Malla confederation after the Battle of Kathmandu in 1768. This marked the beginning of the modern era in Kathmandu. The Battle of Kirtipur was the start of the Gorkha conquest of the Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu was adopted as the capital of the Gorkha empire, and the empire itself was dubbed Nepal. During the early part of this era, Kathmandu maintained its distinctive culture. Buildings with characteristic Nepali architecture, such as the nine-story tower of Basantapur, were built during this era. However, trade declined because of continual war with neighboring nations.

Rana rule over Nepal started with the Kot Massacre, which occurred near Hanuman Dhoka Durbar. During this massacre, most of Nepal's high-ranking officials were massacred by Jang Bahadur Rana and his supporters. Another massacre, the Bhandarkhal Massacre, was also conducted by Kunwar and his supporters in Kathmandu. During the Rana regime, Kathmandu's alliance shifted from anti-British to pro-British; this led to the construction of the first buildings in the style of Western European architecture. The most well-known of these buildings include Singha Durbar, Garden of Dreams, Shital Niwas, and the old Narayanhiti palace. The first modern commercial road in the Kathmandu Valley, the New Road, was also built during this era.

Climate

Kathmandu Valley is in the Warm Temperate Zone of Nepal (elevation ranging from 1,200–2,300 metres (3,900–7,500 ft)), where the climate is fairly temperate, atypical for the region.

This zone is followed by the Cool Temperate Zone with elevation varying between 2,100–3,300 metres (6,900–10,800 ft). Portions of the city with lower elevations have a humid subtropical climate, while portions of the city with higher elevations generally have a subtropical highland climate. In the Kathmandu Valley the average summer temperature varies from 28–30 °C (82–86 °F). The average winter temperature is 10.1 °C (50.2 °F).

The city generally has a climate with warm days followed by cool nights and mornings. Unpredictable weather is expected given temperatures can drop to 3 °C (37 °F) during the winter.

Rainfall is mostly monsoon-based (about 65% of the total concentrated during the monsoon months of June to August), and decreases substantially (100 to 200 cm (39 to 79 in)) from eastern Nepal to western Nepal.

 ClimateJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Daily highs (°C)192125282929282928272420
Nightly lows (°C)2581216192020191384
Precipitation (mm)1419346112423636333120051813

Geography

Kathmandu is located in the northwestern part of the Kathmandu Valley to the north of the Bagmati River and covers an area of 50.67 square kilometres (19.56 sq mi). The average elevation is 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) above sea level.

The city is directly bounded by several other municipalities of the Kathmandu valley: south of the Bagmati by Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City (Patan) with which it today forms one urban area surrounded by a ring road, to the southwest by Kirtipur Municipality and to the east by Madyapur Thimi Municipality. To the north the urban area extends into several Village Development Committees. However, the urban agglomeration extends well beyond the neighboring municipalities, e. g. to Bhaktapur and just about covers the entire Kathmandu valley.

Kathmandu is dissected by eight rivers, the main river of the valley, the Bagmati and its tributaries, of which the Bishnumati, Dhobi Khola, Manohara Khola, Hanumant Khola, and Tukucha Khola are predominant. The mountains from where these rivers originate are in the elevation range of 1,500–3,000 metres (4,900–9,800 ft), and have passes which provide access to and from Kathmandu and its valley.

Kathmandu and its valley are in the Deciduous Monsoon Forest Zone (altitude range of 1,200–2,100 metres (3,900–6,900 ft)), one of five vegetation zones defined for Nepal. The dominant tree species in this zone are oak, elm, beech, maple and others, with coniferous trees at higher altitude.

Economy

The location and terrain of Kathmandu have played a significant role in the development of a stable economy which spans millennia. The city is located in an ancient lake basin, with fertile soil and flat terrain. This geography helped form a society based on agriculture. This, combined with its location between India and China, helped establish Kathmandu as an important trading center over the centuries.

Kathmandu is the most important industrial and commercial center in Nepal. The Nepal Stock Exchange, the head office of the national bank, the chamber of commerce, as well as head-offices of national and international banks, tele-communication companies, the electricity authority, and various other national and international organizations are located in Kathmandu. The major economic hubs are the New Road, Durbar Marg, Ason and Putalisadak.

The economic output of the metropolitan area alone is worth more than one third of national GDP. Kathmandu exports handicrafts, artworks, garments, carpets, pashmina, paper; trade accounts for 21% of its finances. Manufacturing is also important and accounts for 19% of the revenue that Kathmandu generates. Garments and woolen carpets are the most notable manufactured products. Other economic sectors in Kathmandu include agriculture (9%), education (6%), transport (6%), and hotels and restaurants (5%). Kathmandu is famous for lokta paper and pashmina shawls.

Subdivisions

Kathmandu and adjacent cities are composed of neighborhoods, which are utilized quite extensively and more familiar among locals. However, administratively the city is divided into 35 wards, numbered from 1 to 35.

Internet, Comunication

Most cafes & restaurants in tourist areas have free Wi-Fi for customers. Computer/internet rentals are almost stacked on top of each other in Thamel & near the stupa at Boudha. You can surf to your heart's content for about 15NPR to 20NPR an hour (10NPR in Putalisadak). Though not adequate for video conferencing the 128-256kbit/s NTC backbone often used by the cafes is more than adequate for VOIP calling. Please avoid downloading anything large, as most connections are limited. ISD and STD telephone services are available in almost all internet cafes. Services such as Skype are available in most tourist areas.

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