Temples and palaces, suffocating smog and the smell of incense, a living goddess, the roar of horns, a whirlpool of people and an extravaganza of colors – all this is the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. Arising at the crossroads of trade routes in a wide mountain valley, the city became the residence of the royal Malla dynasty in the Middle Ages. Until 1951, its White Gates were closed to foreigners. But now Kathmandu can no longer be called a lost kingdom, and even sacred cows have to put up with crazy traffic on the roads. For Nepal climate and geography, please check TopPharmacySchools.
The terrible earthquake of 2015 divided the history of Kathmandu into “before” and “after”. Today the city is recovering, but very slowly. Some attractions no longer exist. Instead, there are fenced ruins and a photo of the place before destruction. But there is still something to see here. The temple complex of Pashupatinath, the ancient sanctuary of Shiva, has survived, the monkey temple of Swayambhunath has been restored, and the Boudhanath stupa raised from the ruins still attracts Buddhists from all over the world.
The largest concentration of hotels is in the tourist area of Thamel and the adjacent areas of Jatha and Chhetrapati. A double room in a cheap guesthouse with cardboard partitions, noisy neighbors and a shared toilet can be rented for 800 NPR. The most popular accommodation option is democratic, but quite comfortable hotels with conditional three “stars”. Their rooms are air-conditioned, there is a restaurant, the cost is 3500 NPR per night.
Nepalese luxury – three dozen expensive 4-5 * hotels scattered throughout the city with spacious rooms, modern plumbing, two or three restaurants, jewelry stores, fitness centers and evening entertainment programs; from 7,000 to 20,000 NPR per day.
One of the most authentic is the legendary Yak&Yeti Hotel.
Staying there is like spending the night in a palace. However, this is the royal palace. In the early 1950s with him and the Russian emigrant Boris Lissanevich, the discovery of a mysterious country by Europeans began. Personally acquainted with the king, he convinced him to give an entire wing of the palace for the first hotel in Nepal. The cost of rooms in it starts from 14,000 NPR, and the restaurant still serves dumplings and beef stroganoff “A la Boris”.
What to bring
It is unlikely that you will be able to return from Kathmandu without shopping, even if shopping is not included in the trip program. Shelves of souvenir shops and shops literally bend under the weight of bronze Buddhas, big-nosed Geneshas and multi-armed Shivas. Ritual masks, wood carvings, handmade dolls can become a worthy decoration of the interior.
A real Nepalese souvenir – Tibetan singing bowls. They are used for meditation and in various medical practices. High-quality ones are made of bronze, the larger they are, the deeper the sound and the higher the price.
An unusually good tanka is a Tibetan painting on a cotton or silk cloth of a sacral nature. Handmade is worth a lot, like any work of art. This must be sought near the monasteries or in the Tibetan quarters.
Nepal is famous for pashmina, less expensive cashmere and very cheap yak wool. But with the choice of woolen things, you should be careful not to buy acrylic synthetics. A gift for men can be a kukri knife – a Gurkha edged weapon with a characteristic blade profile. For women – colorful Nepalese dresses and saris made of silk or chiffon. Turquoise, topaz and aquamarine jewelry, which Nepal is rich in, will suit them. Everywhere in Kathmandu there are shops selling beadwork – beads, bracelets, embroidered panels and bags. The largest selection is at the famous Bead Market near Akash Bhaira Temple.
Cuisine and restaurants in Kathmandu
It is hardly worth considering all the inhabitants of Kathmandu as vegetarians. In the absence of religious prohibitions, they willingly eat buffalo meat, chicken, lamb and very tender goat meat. Gourmets will surely appreciate “gorkali” – spiced lamb meat with potato curry or thick rich soup “tukpu” with noodles, vegetables, yak meat or chicken. In the menu of any establishment, regardless of the price category, there is always “dal-bat”. It is served on a large round tray, on which bowls of rice, thick lentil soup, vegetable curry, slices of fresh cucumbers, radishes or carrots are arranged. As a rule, this is a vegetarian dish, but its meat variants are also possible, for example, with spicy masala chicken. No less popular are large Tibetan dumplings “mo-mo” with minced meat or with cheese and vegetables.
The highest concentration of food in tourist Thamel. The prices are pleasantly surprising. Dinner in a good restaurant with moderate alcohol will cost only 1200 NPR per person. And this despite the extortionate markup to the cost of 23%. The average check for lunch in a cafe is 400 NPR, in a street eatery – half the price.
Unlike food, alcohol is relatively expensive in Kathmandu – just one bottle of beer can double the cost of a meal.
Street food should be treated with caution, preferring food prepared in front of you. Popular fast food options are triangular spicy samosa patties with potatoes and beans (20 NPR) and sekoua, small skewers of pork, lamb or chicken with red sauce.