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Kathmandu ( , ) is the capital and the largest metropolitan city of Nepalmarker. The city is situated in Kathmandu Valleymarker, which also contains two other cities - Lalitpur and Bhaktapurmarker. Nepali is the common language of the city, though many speak Newari as it is the center of the Newar people and culture. English is understood by all of the educated population of the city. Literacy rate is 98% in the city. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1400 m in valley surrounded by four major mountains, Shivapuri, Phulchowki, Nagarjun and Chandragiri and is inhabited by 671,846 (2001). Kathmandu is considered to have the most advanced infrastructure among urban areas in Nepalmarker.


The earliest known inscription in the Kathmandu Valleymarker is dated 185 AD. The oldest firmly dated building in the earthquake-prone valley is almost 1,992 years old. Four stupas around the city of Patanmarker, said to have been erected by Charumati, attest to the ancient history present within are in Patan near kendra Hiranyavarna Mahavihara (called "Patukodon"). The Licchavi Dynasty whose earliest inscriptions date back to 464 AD were the next rulers of the valley. It was during the Malla period that the cultural complex that is today referred to as Newari developed and reached its peak under the patronage of the Malla rulers, who ruled Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding area from the 12th century till the 17th century, when the Shah Dynastymarker founder Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the valley as he created present-day Nepal. Most of ancient Nepali Architecture present in Nepalmarker today is from the Malla/Newar era.

The city of Kathmandu is named after a structure in Durbar Square called Kaasthamandap. In Sanskrit, Kaasth ( ) is "wood" and Mandap ( ) is "covered shelter." This unique temple, also known as Maru Sattal, was built in 1596 AD by King Laxmi Narsingh Malla. The entire structure contains no iron nails or supports and is made entirely from wood. Legend has it that the timber used for this two-story pagoda was obtained from a single tree .

Kathmandu is also sometimes called "Kantipur". "Kanti" is an alternate name of the Goddess Laxmi, and "pur" means the place where such a goddess resides. Thus, the name Kantipur demonstrates the ancient belief that it is the place where Laxmi dwells .


The old palace of the Newar kings at Durbar Square is listed as a UNESCOmarker world heritage site. Nearby is Freak Street, which was the popular hippie spot during the 1970s. The former Shah King's Palace stands just east of Thamel - the tourist hub of the country. It consists of two parallel streets catering to tourists with shops, restaurants and little hotels. The palace is at the northern end of Durbar Marg, a major street lined with various shops and larger hotels.

The "old" city is noted for its many Buddhist and Hindu temples and palaces, most dating to the 17th century. Many of these landmarks have been damaged by earthquakes and pollution. Kathmandu has two important Buddhist stupas, Swayambhunathmarker and Boudhanathmarker, and a famous Hindu shrine, Pashupatinath templemarker. Since 2003 the sites have been added to the World Heritage List as being "in danger" out of concern for the ongoing loss of authenticity and the outstanding universal value of the cultural property.

Kathmandu has been popular with western tourists since the 1960s, when it became a key stop along the hippie trail. For the hippies during the 60s, once in India they went to many different destinations but gathered in large numbers in Kathmandu to spend months in search of tranquility and Nirvana. Most of the hippies hung out in the tranquil surroundings of Freak Street. Cultural change, as well as a government crackdown on some of the activities, eliminated hippie movement activities in Kathmandu. Today there is a more conventional type of tourism, although it is also a jumping off location for trekking and mountaineering activities in the Himalayan region. Kathmandu has also been the subject of a popular Bob Seger song for the same reason.

Tribhuvan International Airportmarker is located at the eastern edge of the city, about 6 km from the city center, offering domestic and international flights.

Geography and climate

The city is located in the northwestern part of Kathmandu Valleymarker. The Kathmandu Valleymarker covers an area of 565 sq. kilometres. It is situated at 1336 m above the sea level. The Bagmati, Bishnumati, Dhobikhola, and Tukucha rivers wind through the city.It falls in the central development region and it is the headquarters of the region.

Administrative divisions

A crowded street (Jamal) in Kathmandu.
The metropolitan has been divided into around 5 sectors by metropolitan authorities as follows

Central sector

The central sector consists of wards 1, 5, 11,12(Growing Business Area), 19, 28, 31, 32 and 33.

East sector

The east sector consists of wards 6 (Bouddha), 7([Chabahil][2436]), 8(Gaushala), 9, 10 (Baneshwor), 34 (Shantinagar) and 35 (Koteshwor).

North sector

The north sector consists of wards 2, 3, 4, 16, and 29.

City core

This is the most densely populated part of the city. This part consists of most of the historical and cultural monuments of the city.

West sector

The west sector consists of wards 12,13, 14 and 15.


According to 2001 census, there are 235,387 households in the metropolitan city. Kathmandu metropolitan authorities estimate the number of people living in the city in 2006 at 777,795 people, in 2011 at 915,071 and in 2021 at 1,319,597. In 2001 the population of the Kathmandu valley was 995,966, of Kathmandu district 1,081,845. By 2020 the population of the valley is estimated to reach 2,5 million. The largest ethnic groups are Newars, Brahmins and Kshetris. The major languages are Nepali and Nepal Bhasa. The major religions are Hinduism and Buddhism. The city has also a significant and growing Muslim population.


Madhav Kumar Nepal of the Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML)is the Prime Minister of the country who has Nepali Congress as its main ally. Other minor parties are also involved in the ruling government.In total, there are 18 Ministries in the government of which Home Ministry is the major one. The new budget that has been presented spends the most on Education. Tourism has also been given special emphasis, with the ongoing obstacles the industry is facing.

The city is looked after by Kathmandu metropolitan city office. The city hosts Singhadarbar, the government seat of Nepal (with office of Prime Minister). Majority of the ministries are located in the Singha Darbar premises. The Shital Niwas has the president's office and Birendra International Convention Center holds the constituent assembly meetings.

Economy and Business

Tourism, sometimes said to be the 'third religion' of Nepal, is the country's most important industry, and plays a large role in the economic activity of Kathmandu. It is a major source of income for much of the city's people. The neighborhood of Thamel is Kathmandu's primary 'traveler's ghetto,' packed with guest houses, restaurants, shops and bookstores catering to tourists from abroad. Freak Street, also known as Jochhen Tole, is Kathmandu's original traveler's haunt made popular by the hippies of the 1970s and remains a popular alternative to Thamel.In addition, Kathmandu houses most of the banks, business houses, offices, organizations and share market of Nepal. The busiest economic centers are New Road, Ason, Putalisadak and Darbar Marg. New Road is regarded as financial hub with presence of most of the banks in this street.

Kathmandu is linked to India and nearby hill regions by an expanding highway network.

Notable landmarks

Cultural impact

The city has been referenced in numerous songs, including works by Cat Stevens "Katmandu", Mona Bone Jakon (1970)), Bob Seger ("Katmandu", Beautiful Loser (1975)), Rush ("A Passage to Bangkok" ("Pulling into Kathmandu"), 2112, 1976), Krematorij ("Kathmandu", Three Springs (2000)), Fito Páez ("Tráfico por Katmandú" -- "Traffic through Kathmandu"); Will Ackerman ("A Happy Home in Kathmandu", The Opening of Doors (1993)); Tantra ("The Hills of Katmandu", early 1980s); and Godiego ("Coming Together in Kathmandu", 1980).

Numerous works of literature have been set in Kathmandu, including Kim Stanley Robinson's 1989 work, Escape from Kathmandu. Recently, the book ("Arresting God in Kathmandu") by Samrat Upadhyay received international acclaim, as well as the non-fictional book written by Manjushree Thapa "Forget Kathmandu". Pico Iyer, a famous American writer, also has a non-fiction book named "Video nights in Kathmandu", although only one chapter of the book is dedicated to Kathmandu.

In some travelogues, the Kathmandu valley has been referred to as the "Emerald Valley".

The location is mentioned in the film Bewitched as the title of a fictional movie Will Ferrell's character stars in prior to his role in the Bewitched remake.

Cameron Diaz's character also mentions Kathmandu as a place that she really wants to visit, in the movie There's Something about Mary.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, A Video Game Sequel by Sony Entertainment, is based on Nepal and shows the inner Kathmandu, with a vivid pagoda-style temple and old Newari houses.


Politicians from Kathmandu

See also


External links

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