Kathmandu is the national capital of Nepal, and is also the largest metropolitan area of the region. The history of this town traces back to some 2000 years ago when it was established on the site of a dried lake. A genealogy of Nepalese monarchs ruled over the land in ancient times, followed by the Licchavis and the Mallas. The modern era was marked by Gorkhas, who dubbed their empire as Nepal and made Kathmandu its capital. However, it was during the Rana regime that the town witnessed primary commercial developments.
Standing at an elevation of 1400 m, Kathmandu is bounded by four major Himalayan peaks, namely Shivapuri, Phulchowki, Nagarjun and Chandragiri. The city forms a part of its namesake Kathmandu Valley, along with the sister cities of Patan and Lalitpur. Lying on the north-western part of the bowl-shaped valley, Kathmandu is a hub for travellers in Nepal.
Boasting some of the finest street markets, fashion boutiques, shopping malls, departmental stores and bargain outlets, Kathmandu offers a shopping experience like no other. Shops lining the main streets of the town offer a sheer variety of silver jewellery and gemstones that are a must-buy for travellers. Nepalese handicrafts, antiques and metal works like statues and ornate knives are other popular items sold at Kathmandu. The town also offers a peculiar range of clothing for tourists, pashmina shawls being the speciality of the region.
Kathmandu has everything to satisfy the palate of food connoisseurs from luxury restaurants to roadside eateries. For a true taste of Nepali food, tourists can explore the eating joints clustered in districts like Thamel, Durbarmarg and Jhamsikhel among others. A must-eat for travellers is the popular momos that are available in every nook and corner of the town. There are plenty of restaurants in Kathmandu that serve international delicacies, such as Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Continental, Russian, Mexican, Italian and much more.
A hub for tourists in Nepal, Kathmandu is a treasure trove of cultural attractions like museums and galleries, heritage sites and shrines. Durbar Square, Swayambhu, Boudha Stupa, Narayanhiti Palace Museum and Pashupatinath are some of the must-visit places in Kathmandu. Nestled in the Kathmandu Valley, the town further allows its tourists to indulge in activities like trekking, mountain biking, rock climbing, rafting, bird-watching and golfing.
Unlike most parts of Nepal, Kathmandu has a fairly temperate climate characteristic of warm days and cool nights. The weather becomes rather unpredictable during the winter season, with temperatures dropping to as low as subzero levels. During summers and monsoons, it gets warm and humid due to excessive rainfall in the Kathmandu Valley. Tourists can plan a trip to Kathmandu anytime between September and November or February and April.
By Road: From all parts of Nepal, buses ply to Kathmandu. Overland tourists can enter the country by buses or private vehicles via entry points located on the Nepal-India border.
By Air: Kathmandu is served by the only international airport in the country, the Tribhuvan International Airport. Buses and taxis are available from outside the airport to travel to different parts of the destination.
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