Kathmandu will enchant you with its uniquely beautiful Newar architecture and the spiritual charm of its imposing stupas. Buddhist places of worship meet Hindu temples that attract pilgrims from all over the world. As part of the Kathmandu Valley, the Nepalese capital has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
Once the hippie movement helped Kathmandu to find a place on our travel atlas: Go on a voyage of discovery and get to know a metropolis that combines past and future in an unprecedented way. Centuries-old art meets the lively life of a big city. Less
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Includes more than 490 temples
With one of the largest stupas in the world
The Swayambhunath Stupa is the oldest Buddhist temple in Nepal. How great its spiritual and religious significance really is, you will experience as soon as you stand in front of the magnificent, golden shining "Temple of the Apes". Throughout the year countless Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims gather around Swayambhunath to pay homage to the artistically crafted Buddha images. The entire complex is located about three kilometres from the historic centre of Kathmandu. Several temples, monasteries and statues form this magical place. The view you can enjoy from here is also beautiful. Swayambhunath is situated on a hilltop from where you can admire the Kathmandu valley. Before you can enjoy the panorama, you first have to climb 365 stone steps, which lead quite steeply to the site.
The Durbar Square of Kathmandu is a vast area with several temples and courtyards decorated with statues. Like the other two royal squares of Patan and Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, only a few temples and royal buildings are open to visitors. One reason for this is that the richly decorated Newar-style architecture is to be preserved in the best possible way after many buildings fell victim to the severe earthquake in 2015. However, the imposing facades alone, with their religious representations, create a venerable and spiritual atmosphere: take enough time on your Kathmandu trip to explore Durbar Square. Be sure to visit the temple of Taleju, the courtyard of Kumari Bahal and the fortress-like tower of Basantapur.
To understand Kathmandu and the great past of the Nepalese capital, there is no way around Hanuman Dhoka. In the complex consisting of several squares and temples is also the royal palace, which was the home of the Malla and Shah Dynasty. The name-giving Hanuma Dhoka Palace is dedicated to the Hindu deity Hanuman. The word 'dhoka' means "gate". Today a large part of the palace is used as a museum. This mainly describes the Shah Dynasty, which ruled Nepal until 2006. Hanuman Dhoka is divided into wings, each of which includes temples, squares and other religious sites. An unbelievable density of spiritual Buddhist and Hindu representations, romantically hidden courtyards and two- to three-storey pagodas that tower over the entire area await you.
Pashupatinath is located just four kilometres outside the historic old town of Kathmandu. The temple complex is one of the most important places of worship of the goddess Shiva in the Hindu faith. For people who do not belong to the Hindu faith, a visit to the main temple complex is strictly forbidden. Nevertheless, a detour to this beautiful place is worthwhile for you. You will also be fascinated by the outdoor facilities of Pashupatinath: Here you will experience other Buddhist and Hindu temples, which are open to visitors. Another highlight is to watch believers performing their ritual practices at the holy river Bagmati, where the complex is located. In total, Pashupatinath comprises more than 490 temples that will introduce you to the culture and rituals of the Hindu faith.
The way to Bodnath, a suburb of the city, is a must on your Kathmandu journey. Already from a distance you will notice the huge stupa, which shows you the direction with its white shining and gilded top. The stupa of Bodnath is with a height of 36 meters one of the biggest stupas in the world. Also because of its size it is one of the most important destinations for Buddhist pilgrims. It is especially worth a visit in the morning and evening hours: Then the pilgrims pray clockwise around the mandala-like base of the stupa. This ritual practice is called 'kora'. Enjoy the sight of this unique spectacle from a respectful distance. Especially at sunset the white painted Stupa starts to glow fire-red.
Away from the historical and Buddhist sites, the secular and modern Kathmandu unfolds. One of the centres is the northern district of Thamel. Since its reconstruction after an earthquake, it is considered the most popular shopping and nightlife district in the Nepalese capital. Whether spices, clothes, souvenirs or trekking equipment - you will find what you are looking for in Thamel. The narrow streets and winding alleys awaken the spirit of discovery in you. Thamel is a lively and busy town, but since large parts of the district have been traffic-free, you can explore this exciting place on foot in a relaxed manner. You will find some of the best restaurants in town, which will spoil you with typical Nepalese food. Thamel was also strongly influenced by the hippie movement, whose culture can still be felt in many places today.
As a counterpoint to the lively streets of Thamel, the "Garden of Dreams" near the royal palace offers a real oasis for relaxation and walking. The elegant park was designed in neo-classical style following the Edwardian model: Shady pavilions, an amphitheatre, lushly planted pergolas and dreamy ponds transform the "Garden of Dreams" into a fairy tale come true. The complex borders directly on Thamel - perfect for relaxing after a tour of the town. Listen to the singing of the numerous birds that inhabit the bushes and trees of the garden. In the small garden café you can enjoy a romantic atmosphere with coffee or tea. Less