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Things to do in kathmandu


Capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, Kathmandu is an old city steeped in a veritable Buddhist lineage with colorful backstreets, hidden temples, quirky wall art, and old-world boutiques. It is easy to get lost in Kathmandu’s maze of traffic, its army of touts, but you will always come to appreciate the spirit of the city that endured the destruction by the 2015 earthquake. A fun activity in Kathmandu would be to ride a rickshaw through the backpacker district of Thamel, a haven for western backpackers lined with shops selling Tibetan singing bowls, glass pipes, Kukri swords, prayer flags, incense, secondhand books, jackets and woolens, to an assortment of delish eats. From its hippie days in the 70s, Thamel has drawn great crowd for its cheap buys and cozy backpacker dens. European fare is typically served in Thamel, from pasta, risotto, pizza to buffalo steaks and banana pancakes. But there are also a few interesting Buddha bars and restaurants serving typical Nepali or Indian fare.

Among things to do in Kathmandu, a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Durbar Square is warranted. Though parts of it have been devastated by the earthquake, it still remains largely unscathed. An erstwhile royal palace of the Kathmandu Kingdom renowned for its sprawling courtyards, temples and typical Himalayan architecture, Durbar Square brings in plenty of history lovers to its scared portals. To get a sense of Kathmandu’s street-life, stroll the backstreets and experience its timeless culture and artistic heritage revealed in an assortment of temples with open gardens, patches of marigold blossoms, little cafes selling buffalo dim sums and soups, tiny artisan workshops, and quaint souvenir shops selling t-shirts, trinkets, perfume oil, lampshades, hand-painted tea boxes among other bric-a-brac.

On a sightseeing tour, there are several places to visit in Kathmandu, but of them the Pashupatinath Temple and the Bodhnath Stupa should top your itinerary. Both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Tibetan Buddhist stupa give you a peek into Nepal’s spiritual traditions. Find out more about the daily rituals in both the cultures, meet with a monk and learn his story. This structure from the 17th century along the banks of River Bagmati is an iconic monument to Hindus and Buddhists from all over the world. There are plenty of rooftop cafes in the vicinity, and once you wrap up your tour, it isn’t a bad idea to grab some traditional lunch at one such place, overlooking the stupa.