Kathmandu is a magically romantic place where fact entwines with fiction, myth with legend, religion with mysticism, adventure with meditation. It is also a pulsating tourist centre with a hectic nightlife. The area around the Kathmandu Guest House has mutated into a throbbing little quarter in the evenings. The Thamel and Freak Street bars attract many budget travellers. The fancier nightclubs outside Thamel attract a more diverse clientele. All in All, Kathmandu will unfold to you whichever aspect you are looking for: religious, adventurous, meditative, mystic or entertaining.
Bang in the middle of Kathmandu sits the Durbar Square. It is a complex of beautiful temples and shrines, both Hindu and Buddhist. The Old Royal Palace or the Hanuman Dhoka lies on the eastern edge of the square and was the former royal residence.
The House of the Living Goddess, the Kumari, is also located within this square. The Kumari is usually a pre-pubescent girl of tender years who ceases to be venerated as Goddess once the menstrual cycle sets in. Another child then takes her place.
The Kasthamandap is a wooden pavilion at the southwestern end of Durbar Square. It is believed to be one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. This lovely pagoda served as a resting spot on the Tibet road and gave its name to Kathmandu.
The Pashupatinath Temple is considered the holiest temple in Nepal by Hindus. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva in his avatar as the Master of all beasts. Beautifully built, it is a sight to behold.
This huge temple is perched on a hill 2 km west of Thamel. The gigantic hilltop temple is overrun with pilgrims and monkeys and is the most profound expression of Buddhist symbolism in Nepal.
A few kilometres from Kathmandu stands the huge and impressive Bouddhanath Stupa. An active centre of Tibetan Buddhism, it is frequented by Tibetans in exile.
Godavari Royal Botanical Gardens
These Botanical gardens lie 19km south of Kathmandu and can easily be reached by road. Numerous species of trees, shrubs and beautiful orchids make it an idyllic setting and a great place to picnic in.