Kathmandu is the capital and largest municipality of Nepal. It is the only city of Nepal with the administrative status of Mahanagarpalika (Metropolitan City), as compared to Up-Mahanagarpalika (Sub-Metropolitan City) or Nagarpalika (Municipality). Kathmandu is the core of Nepal’s largest urban agglomeration located in the Kathmandu valley consisting of Lalitpur, Kirtipur, Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur and a number of smaller communities.
The city of Kathmandu was named after Kasthamandap temple, that stands in Durbar Square. In Sanskrit, Kastha means “wood” and Mandap means “covered shelter”. This temple, also known as Maru Satal, was built in 1596 by King Laxmi Narsingh Malla. The two-storey structure is made entirely of wood, and uses no iron nails nor supports. According to legend, all the timber used to build this pagoda was obtained from a single tree.
The colophons of ancient manuscripts, dated as late as the 20th century, refer to Kathmandu as Kasthamandap Mahanagar in Nepal Mandala. Mahanagar means “great city”. The city is called “Kasthamandap” in a vow that Buddhist priests still recite to this day. Thus, Kathmandu is also known as Kasthamandap. During medieval times, the city was sometimes called Kantipur. This name is derived from two Sanskrit words – Kanti and pur. “Kanti” is one of the names of the Goddess Lakshmi, and “pur” means place.
Among the indigenous Newar people, Kathmandu is known as Yen Desa, and Patan and Bhaktapur are known as Yala Desa and Khwopa Desa. “Yen” is the shorter form of Yambu which originally referred to the northern half of Kathmandu.
Important places of attraction in Kathamandu are broadly categorized as below :-
- Local Kathamandu Sightseeing Places
- Pashupatinath Temple
- Swaymbhunath Temple
- Hanuman Doka
- Kumari Mata Temple
- Bhadrakali Temple
- Durbar Sqaure
- Royal Palace
- Outer Kathamandu Sightseeing Places
- Doleshwar Mahadev
- Swami Changu Narayan
- Dakshin Kali
- Patan Durbar