Kathmandu Valley is growing at 4 percent per year according to World Bank in , one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in South Asia, and the first region in Nepal to face the unprecedented challenges of rapid urbanization and modernization at a metropolitan scale.
Kathmandu, also known as the city of temples, with one of the oldest Pagodas known as Pashupatinath Temple, stands at an elevation of approximately 1, metres 4, feet above sea level in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley in central Nepal. The valley is historically termed as "Nepal Mandala" and has been the home of Newar people , a cosmopolitan urban civilization in the Himalayas foothills.
The city was the royal capital of the Kingdom of Nepal and hosts palaces, mansions and gardens of the Nepalese aristocracy. Today, it is the seat of government of the Nepalese republic established in and is part of the Bagmati province. Kathmandu is and has been for many years the centre of Nepal's history , art , culture , and economy.
It has a multi-ethnic population within a Hindu and Buddhist majority. It is also the home of the Newars. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Tourism is an important part of the economy. In , Kathmandu was ranked third among the top ten upcoming travel destinations in the world by TripAdvisor , and ranked first in Asia. The city is the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas and home to several world heritage sites : Durbar Square , Swayambhunath , Boudhanath and Pashupatinath.
Historic areas of Kathmandu were severely damaged by a 7. Some of the buildings have been restored and some are in the process of reconstruction until now. Indigenous Newari term for Kathmandu valley is Yei. The three-story structure was made entirely of wood and used no iron nails nor supports. According to legend, all the timber used to build the pagoda was obtained from a single tree. The older northern settlements were referred to as Yambi while the southern settlement was known as Yangala. The spelling "Katmandu" was often used in older English-language text.
More recently, however, the spelling "Kathmandu" has become more common in English. 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 AD. Archaeologists believe it is two thousand years old. In , they passed through Nepal on their way from Tibet to India , and reported that they reached "Cadmendu", the capital of Nepal kingdom.
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 named "Nagdaha", as it was full of snakes. The lake was cut drained by Bodhisatwa Manjusri with his sword, and the water was evacuated out from there. He then established a city called Manjupattan, and made Dharmakar the ruler of the valley land. After some time, a demon named Banasur closed the outlet, and the valley again turned into a lake.
Then lord Krishna came to Nepal , killed Banasur, and again drained out the water. He brought some Gopals along with him and made Bhuktaman the king of Nepal. Kotirudra Samhita of Shiva Purana , Chapter 11, shloka 18 refers to the place as Nayapala city, which was famous for its Pashupati Shivalinga. The name Nepal probably originates from this city Nayapala. Very few historical record exists of the period before medieval Licchavis rulers. During the Kirata era, a settlement called Yambu existed in the northern half of old Kathmandu.
In some of the Sino-Tibetan languages , Kathmandu is still called Yambu. Another smaller settlement called Yengal was present in the southern half of old Kathmandu, near Manjupattan. During the reign of the seventh Kirata ruler, Jitedasti, Buddhist monks entered Kathmandu valley and established a forest monastery at Sankhu. During this era, following the genocide of Shakyas in Lumbini by Virudhaka , the survivors migrated north and entered the forest monastery lora 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 city was surrounded by eight barracks guarded by Ajimas. One of these barracks is still in use at Bhadrakali in front of Singha Durbar.
The city served as an important transit point in the trade between India and Tibet, leading to tremendous growth in architecture. Descriptions of buildings such as Managriha, Kailaskut Bhawan, and Bhadradiwas Bhawan have been found in the surviving journals of travellers and monks who lived during this era. For example, the famous 7th-century Chinese traveller Xuanzang described Kailaskut Bhawan, the palace of the Licchavi king Amshuverma. The artistry of the Newar people—the indigenous inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley—became highly sought after during this era, both within the Valley and throughout the greater Himalayas.
Newar artists travelled extensively throughout Asia , creating religious art for their neighbours. For example, Araniko led a group of his compatriot artists through Tibet and China. 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.
These served as the capitals of the Malla confederation of Nepal. These states competed with each other in the arts, architecture, esthetics, and trade, resulting in tremendous development. The kings of this period directly influenced or involved themselves in the construction of public buildings, squares, and temples, as well as the development of waterspouts, the institutionalisation of trusts called guthis , the codification of laws, the writing of dramas, and the performance of plays in city squares.
Evidence of an influx of ideas from India, Tibet, China, Persia, and Europe among other places can be found in a stone inscription from the time of king Pratap Malla. Books have been found from this era that describe their tantric tradition e. Tantrakhyan , medicine e. Haramekhala , religion e. Mooldevshashidev , law, morals, and history. This marked the beginning of the modern era in Kathmandu. 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 neighbouring nations. Bhimsen Thapa supported France against Great Britain; this led to the development of modern military structures, such as modern barracks in Kathmandu.
The nine-storey tower Dharahara was originally built during this era. 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 first modern commercial road in the Kathmandu Valley, the New Road , was also built during this era. Trichandra College the first college of Nepal , Durbar School the first modern school of Nepal , and Bir Hospital the first hospital of Nepal were built in Kathmandu during this era.
Rana rule was marked by despotism, economic exploitation and religious persecution. Kathmandu is in the northwestern part of the Kathmandu Valley to the north of the Bagmati River and covers an area of To the north the urban area extends into several Village Development Committees. However, the urban agglomeration extends well beyond the neighbouring municipalities, e.
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, Hanumante Khola, and Tukucha Khola are predominant. The dominant tree species in this zone are oak , elm , beech , maple and others, with coniferous trees at higher altitude.
The green, vegetated slopes that surround the Kathmandu metro area light grey, image centre include both forest reserves and national parks. Kathmandu and adjacent cities are composed of neighbourhoods , which are utilized quite extensively and more familiar among locals.
However, administratively the city is divided into 32 wards, numbered from 1 to Earlier, there were 35 wards which made it the metropolitan city with the largest number of the wards. There is no officially defined agglomeration of Kathmandu. The urban area of the Kathmandu valley is split among three different districts collections of local government units within a zone , which extend very little beyond the valley fringe, except towards the southern ranges, which have comparatively small population.
They have the three highest population densities in the country. Within these 3 districts lie VDCs villages , 20 municipalities and 2 metropolitan municipality maha-nagarpalika: Kathmandu and lalitpur. The following data table describes these districts which likely would be considered an agglomeration:.
Five major climatic regions are found in Nepal. The average winter temperature is The city generally has a climate with warm days followed by cool nights and mornings. Rainfall has been recorded at about 1, millimetres The chart provides minimum and maximum temperatures during each month. The annual amount of precipitation was 1, millimetres This was mostly due to the annual variation of the southwest monsoon.