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Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city of Nepal. It is located at an altitude of about 1300 meters above sea level in the valley of the same name, which is surrounded on three sides by the Makhabharat mountain ridge (or the Lesser Himalayas).
According to legend, where there is now Nepal, there used to be a large lake. The gods (or heroes - vary from religion, Hinduism or Buddhism) cut the mountain gorge with sharp swords, and all the water flowed out of the lake. In place of the bottom, Nepal was formed. Indeed, the state is located at the bottom of a former lake, whose water for some reason broke through the gorge and left the reservoir about 100,000 years ago.
The modern appearance of the capital of Nepal acquired in the Middle Ages. The first palace was built on the territory of the city at the beginning of the IX century, during the reign of Gunakam Deva (Thakuri dynasty), although Kathmandu is mentioned in written sources only since the XIV century. According to some historians, this palace, called Kastamandup (translated "tree house" ), gave the name to the city.
Kathmandu is located at an altitude of 1355 meters above sea level near the high mountains ( Tibet, the Himalayas ). Monsoon subtropical climate reigns on the territory.
In winter, strong winds blow from the mainland, but the influx of northern air masses is blocked by high mountains. With the winds dry weather comes with a large daily fluctuation (more than 15 ° C). In winter, snow is rarely seen in Kathmandu, but frosts occur quite often.
In the summer, monsoons predominate, which move from the direction of India and bring abundant precipitation. Therefore, the summer is humid, stuffy, but without a strong heat (it is almost none). Daily temperature fluctuations are small.
In the coldest month (January), the temperature reaches +10 ° C , in the warmest (June, July) - +24.4 ° C.
Kathmandu is located in the heart of the state. Not far from the capital - the highest peak of the planet, Jomolungma (in Nepalese - Sagarmatha ), whose height reaches 8848 meters. Nearby there are four more local giants - Makalu, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Kanchenjunga.
The city stands on the Bagmati River and is surrounded on all sides by mountains. Once this area and the slopes of the mountains were covered with dense vegetation, but today it is almost gone.
Kathmandu is a very ancient and spiritually rich city with a huge number of religious relics that attract tourists from all over the world.
Kathmandu has acquired unique individual features and a special architectural style due to the isolated development for several centuries. It can be called an open-air museum.
The historic center of the city - the area of Durbar ( "palace"), on which there are several palaces, pagodas, temples and other landmarks that create a unique and sophisticated architectural design.
The most famous, perhaps, is the palace of Hanuman Dhoka . Sometimes his name is the whole area. The palace consists of a network of chaotic courtyards, tombs, pagodas, statues and columns. At the corners of the palace towering towering four towers. The main entrance to the palace - the golden gate - is guarded by the statue of the monkey-god Hanuman (from which the name of the building was derived). The palace still has great cultural significance for Kathmandu and for foreigners.
A no less famous temple built in the 16th century was Taledzhu . Nearby is a rare octagonal pagoda Krishna Mandir .
There is also the temple-residence of the living goddess Kumari (Kumari Ghar). The goddess is chosen from the girls of a certain caste. According to Nepalese, Kumari moves to the body of the girl, where she remains until the first menstruation, after which the girl loses the sacred title and lives further, like ordinary people. Meanwhile, the priests continue to search for the new Kumari. The goddess in the guise of a girl leads a solitary way of life, rarely looking out the window of the residence. According to Nepalese, to see Kumari is a sign of great success, so that people stand under its windows for hours.
Near the residence of the living goddess, the famous temple of Kathmandu Ganesh , as well as the temple of Jaisi Deval , which is popular with its carved erotic figures, was erected .
On the street Indra Chowk , the main street of the city, is a tall three-story temple of the sky god. During the festival Indra Yatra (feast in honor of the deity rain), the image of the deity is hung out at the temple.
The Temple of Light is also interesting . It is a beautiful pagoda with a bronze two-tiered roof, sacrificial statues and a deity sitting on the altar, which is worshiped by both Buddhists and Hindus.
In the green zone of Kathmandu, in the Tundikhel area , urban and state holidays, festivals and parades are often held. On the territory of Tundikhel are located Ratna Park , and the stadium, and military headquarters, and the theater in the open air, and the pavilion of the Royal Army of Nepal.
An important attraction of Kathmandu is the palace of Narayanhiti , which houses the residence of the King of Nepal, and on the territory of the palace - the legendary source.
On the western outskirts of Kathmandu is a complex of temples Swayambhunath . Its main attraction is a white stupa on top of a hill. To get to it, you need to go up the ladder of 365 steps (their number corresponds to the number of days in the year). According to the Buddhist faith, the stupa stands in the most favorable place from the astral point of view of the whole valley. Therefore, it is believed that the prayers and mantras spoken here are "thirteen billion times" stronger than ordinary prayer.
East of Kathmandu is one of the most popular and largest stupa in Nepal - Bodnath . Thanks to its impressive size it can be seen from afar. Stupa is located in a residential quarter, which is filled with souvenir shops, gompami (complexes of Buddhist fortified buildings) and Tibetan monasteries. The base of the structure is a triangular mandala, which symbolizes the earth. Further, the dome rises - the image of water. The spire above the dome means fire, the umbrella on the spire is air. Earlier, Tibetan merchants stopped here to pray for the successful end of the dangerous and difficult passage through the Himalayas.
In different temple complexes and parks you can often meet sadhus - wandering ascetics, renouncing the world and practicing yoga. These people look pretty colorful, so that by paying them some money, you can take a picture of them.
Be sure to visit the museums of Kathmandu. In the national museum you can get acquainted with the rich collections of weapons and archaeological finds of modern, medieval and ancient Nepal. In the museum of natural history a very large collection of plants, butterflies, fish, birds, reptiles, mammals collected from all over the country is interesting.
There are many interesting places in the suburbs of Kathmandu. At 10 kilometers northeast of the capital on the shore of the sacred river Bagmati are the royal hunting grounds, or Gokarna safari park . During a walk on the elephants here you can see a spotty deer.
At the foot of Mount Sivapuri , 8 km from Kathmandu, there is the most famous place of pilgrimage of Hindus - Budhanilkanta . In the center of a small pond is a huge stone statue of Vishnu (V century), which rests on a bed of snakes. It seems that the statue is floating on the water.
5 km north-west of Kathmandu is the Balaju water garden . In the park there are 22 fountains, each of which is made in the form of a crocodile head. All of them were erected in the middle of the XVIII century. There is also a copy of the statue of a resting Vishnu from Budanilkantha.
9 kilometres to the south-east of Kathmandu is the most picturesque canyon of Chobar , through which all the waters of the valley flow. In the gorge often picnics are organized, go for walks.
In Kathmandu in any restaurant you can eat for $3. The most expensive in the menu will be beer.
Very delicious in Kathmandu Nepalese cuisine, especially the second dishes. Despite the basic products (rice and chicken), they differ in brightness and variety. Chicken marinated, fried, cooked in tandoor (special oven), stewed, made from it minced meat, etc.
Among the restaurants "Anatolia" stands out . He has a glass wall, so everything that's happening inside is visible, like in an aquarium. The interior is decorated with paintings by local artists. Prices are quite acceptable: as elsewhere, for the main course - about $ 3. We recommend local dishes of Indian cuisine, especially tandoori - roast chicken with onion salad and garlic cakes. Turkish cuisine is also amazing (the chef of the restaurant is the Turk who came to Nepal). There are also European cuisine (good salads) and Tibetan (soup tukla and pel'meni mamo).
Some cafes in Kathmandu also offer courses for cooking Nepalese dishes. If you are on a date, don't forget to buy some nice bouquet.
If for you a great role is played by the convenient location of the hotel, we recommend the Shanker Hotel - less than 500 meters from the historical centre of Kathmandu (that is, near many sights) and at the same distance from the airport. The hotel is a 4-star, very comfortable - will please even the most demanding guest.
Another convenient location for the hotel is Kathmandu - the 5-star Radisson Hotel Kathmandu , which is 5 kilometres from the airport. Among the advantages of the hotel you can note the pool bar, the safe, the presidential floor, a place for smoking. Staff can help arrange airport transfers. Overall, the Radisson Hotel Kathmandu is an excellent service.
An ideal starting point to the main attractions of Kathmandu - located in Thamel, just a couple of hundred meters from the centre, Nirvana Garden Hotel. Among the numerous services is a night concierge, a restaurant, a bar, free internet in the hotel.
In the capital you can find entertainment for every taste. Fans of theatre art like the views of both the classical genre and pop. In local cinemas, Indian and Nepalese feature films are shown. Many private and state art galleries periodically organize exhibitions of works, classical and modern, local masters. While in the capital, be sure to visit the famous circus of Kathmandu.
In the parks you will surely take a walk on the elephant, which will bring you an unforgettable experience.
Particularly popular in Kathmandu, as in all Nepal, is active rest. Pedestrian routes are laid in the Annapurna area , which are considered to be the most picturesque in the whole world. Here you can admire the most beautiful peaks of the mountains, gorges, waterfalls, flowering valleys and slopes, as well as religious monasteries, buildings, etc.
Another developed direction in Kathmandu is rafting. In any local travel agency offer a full range of rafting services.
Of extreme rest, you can also highlight parachute jumps and hang-gliding flights.
Business in Kathmandu is better developed than in some European capitals.
In the main city of Nepal is just a myriad of shops and shops. Most of them are concentrated in the Thamel - tourist area of the capital. Of all the diversity is worth noting shops selling sports and tourist equipment: it is here 3-4 times cheaper than in Moscow.
In Kathmandu there are a lot of bookshops, including second-hand booksellers. Those who are interested in printed publications will be able to find a lot of interesting things for themselves. It is worth, however, note that the new books are quite expensive.
You can move to Kathmandu in a variety of ways, depending on the means and preferences - on buses, trolleybuses, taxis, bike and motor rickshaws, shuttle buses.
The cheapest and slowest mode of transport is trolleybuses and buses. If you save time, it is better to take a taxi. In Kathmandu, this type of transportation is very convenient and relatively inexpensive. The taxi will bring you to any point not only of the city, but also of the suburbs. Usually, to call a taxi, you do not need to call and order a car, as taxi drivers themselves ply around the city and are looking for customers. Be sure to negotiate with taxi drivers about the cost of the trip before it starts, in order to avoid misunderstandings. If you are not guided in the cost of the trip, just ask the driver to count you on the counter. The night rate usually differs from the daily rate by 50%.
Motorcycle services are used by those who want to save money, but in general this mode of transport is not quite pleasant - not very comfortable and very smoky. On the price of negotiating before the start of the journey, bargain - it can significantly reduce the cost of the trip.
Much more expensive services trishaws. Usually it is used for local transportation in the suburbs or smaller towns.
In fixed-route taxi, a fixed fee, like a route. You can stop the machine anywhere you need.
A specific way of traveling to Kathmandu is tuk-tuk, which tourists called "bugs". Tuk-tuk - something in between a motorbike and a minibus. This type of transport plays the role of a fixed-route taxi, which accommodates up to 10 people.
The main mobile communication operator in Kathmandu is Nepal Telecom , which covers only the area of the capital. At least two local GSM networks are operated by Beeline. Roaming here is not cheap.
Throughout the capital there are payphones with access to international calls.
Kathmandu is considered to be a fairly safe city. And yet it is strongly recommended in public places to keep valuables in a purse around your neck, since pickpockets can be used in a crowd.
If you are going to go from Kathmandu on foot, then according to the law you must get permission in the Department of Immigration Affairs - for greater security. In addition, tourists must be accompanied by guides (or Sherpas).
Do not use tap water, or at least filter it and boil it. However, it is optimal to buy bottled, tightly packed water. It is also recommended to brush your teeth and wash.
Today, the Nepalese government is actively encouraging foreign investment and private enterprise, which leaves the country's economy on a liberal path, and the private sector occupies an important place in the economy.
In the 1990s, a number of legislative acts were adopted in Nepal, which contributed to the maximum openness of the business environment for both local and foreign investors. According to one of these documents, foreign businessmen can register their company and conduct its business only within the framework of a private enterprise or a limited liability company. As for the share of foreign capital, its size can reach 100%. In addition, virtually every sphere of the economy of Nepal is available to a foreign investor.
Recently, tourism and construction have become the main business directions in Nepal. They are the main source of foreign exchange earnings in the country. Therefore, foreigners prefer to invest in these reliable sectors of the economy.
Most residents of Nepal want to move to Kathmandu. However, real estate is sought not only by them, but also by foreign investors and buyers who have long realized: for tourists, the capital of Nepal is one of the most attractive and attractive places on earth, which provides a reliable and stable source of income.
In addition, Kathmandu is the financial and economic center of Nepal. And the first thing that investors do is buy real estate in Kathmandu. And not residential (although it is profitable to buy it, but the quality of living in local houses is inferior to European-style apartments), and commercial - restaurants, hotels, hotels, etc.
The cost of real estate in Kathmandu depends on the area, each with its own unique architecture (territorially the city was composed of several settlements).
When buying residential property, it is worth considering that usually almost all housing in apartment buildings is rented and to buy an apartment in such a house is almost impossible. The only way out is to buy the whole house, not a separate apartment. The cost of the house, of course, is great, however, and the profit from its lease will be appropriate.
In Kathmandu, you can also purchase a plot of land on which you can later build your facility.
Pharmacies sell all medications that are familiar to Europeans. Apothecaries are qualified enough to provide the necessary assistance and counsel. Although Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine is traditional here, based on the diversity and richness of local vegetation.
If you are poisoned, do not self-medicate (in local realities activated charcoal and antidiarrhoeal medicines may not be of use), but immediately visit the doctor.
In Kathmandu, as in all Nepal, their own rules of conduct, which are peculiar only for this area. Hardly you can study them all in a short time before the trip to Kathmandu, so be very observant and watch how and what others do. So you can avoid many problems and just awkward situations. Despite the fact that the residents of Kathmandu are patient enough to make mistakes and misses of tourists, nevertheless, if you want to avoid unpleasant moments and embarrassment, read the unspoken taboos.
Indignation can cause open legs (both female and male); Outfits causing or out of place; Bare man's torso (even if it's hot outside); Shorts and trousers on ladies.
A fleeting touch of the feet (even if you accidentally stepped on someone's foot) is perceived by Nepalese as an insult. To apologize, suggest that the offended person touch your hand or any other part of the body in response, and then touch your head.
Manifestations of feelings between a woman and a man, even a minimal one, are considered indecent. However, this does not apply to people of the same sex. For example, a man and a boy walking by the hand, women holding each other by the arm or hugging, will never cause a negative.
Despite the fact that most of the local people will only be happy to be photographed with you, be sure to ask permission from them, especially if you are going to take pictures of something related to religion or the process of bathing.
It is inadmissible to enter the temple in shoes - leave it at the entrance. Dressing in the temple should always be modest.
Remember that for some religious reasons, all residents of Nepal call each other sisters and brothers, despite the presence of kinship between them. It is worth taking into account and acting in a similar way.
If you want to improve the quality of service in a restaurant, hotel or any other place, add to the name "-ji" (a suffix meaning respect). This will not only be polite on your part, but will also add to you the authority of the local population.