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Kathmandu Pictures Guide - A Blend Of History, Culture, And Resilience

Kathmandu, the vibrant capital of Nepal, is an eclectic mix of ancient history, diverse culture, and modern dynamism. Despite the colossal earthquake of April 2015, which brought significant challenges, this spirited city has bounced back, welcoming visitors with open arms and countless stories to tell.

Author:Velma Battle
Reviewer:Michael Rachal
Jul 06, 2024
Kathmandu, the vibrant capital of Nepal, is an eclectic mix of ancient history, diverse culture, and modern dynamism. Despite the colossal earthquake of April 2015, which brought significant challenges, this spirited city has bounced back, welcoming visitors with open arms and countless stories to tell.

Importance Of Visual Documentation

Engaging Storytelling

  • Capturing Emotions:Photographs can capture emotions and moments that words alone might miss. A single image of a smiling child or a bustling market can convey the energy and spirit of Kathmandu.
  • Enhanced Understanding:Visuals help people understand stories better. They provide context and details that enhance written or spoken narratives, making the stories more relatable and memorable.

Cultural Preservation

  • Recording Traditions:Visual documentation preserves Kathmandu's rich cultural heritage. Photographs of festivals, traditional dances, and ceremonies ensure that these practices are remembered and respected.
  • Historical Records:Images serve as historical records. They document changes in architecture, fashion, and daily life, providing future generations with a visual history of Kathmandu.

Tourism Promotion

  • Attracting Visitors:Stunning images of Kathmandu’s landmarks, such as the Swayambhunath Stupa and Durbar Squares, attract tourists. Visual appeal plays a significant role in travel decisions, encouraging people to visit and explore the city.
  • Showcasing Diversity:Photographs highlight the diverse experiences Kathmandu offers, from vibrant street markets to serene mountain views, enticing a wide range of travelers.

Educational Value

  • Learning Tool:Photos are powerful educational tools. They help students and learners understand and appreciate the cultural and historical significance of different places and events.
  • Interactive Learning:Visual aids make learning more engaging. They can be used in classrooms, presentations, and educational materials to illustrate points and provide real-world examples.

Creating Memories

  • Personal Keepsakes:Photographs serve as personal keepsakes, capturing individual experiences and adventures. They allow people to relive their trips and share their stories with others.
  • Shared Experiences:Sharing photos on social media and other platforms allows people to connect over shared experiences, fostering a sense of community among travelers and locals alike.

Inspiring Creativity

  • Artistic Inspiration:Seeing beautifully composed photos of Kathmandu can inspire other photographers and artists. It encourages them to explore their creativity and experiment with different styles and techniques.
  • Promoting Photography:Highlighting local photographers and their work can promote the art of photography in Kathmandu, encouraging more people to pick up a camera and document their surroundings.

Photojourney Through Kathmandu

Thamel, Kathmandu Market

A market street filled with people buying and selling
A market street filled with people buying and selling
Thamel is a lively neighborhood in Kathmandu, Nepal. It's known as the main tourist hub of the city. For many visitors, Thamel is the first place they go when they arrive in Kathmandu.

What To Expect

Thamel is full of life, with narrow streets packed with shops, restaurants, and hotels. You can find everything here, from trekking gear to traditional handicrafts. It's also a great place to buy souvenirs like pashmina shawls, jewelry, and handmade paper products.
  • Food and Drink:Thamel offers a wide variety of food options. You can enjoy traditional Nepali dishes like momo (dumplings) and dal bhat (lentil soup with rice), as well as international cuisine, including Italian, Chinese, and Indian food. There are many cafes and bars where you can relax with a cup of coffee or a cold drink.
  • Accommodation:Thamel has a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets. Whether you're looking for a budget guesthouse or a luxury hotel, you'll find plenty of choices. Many places offer free Wi-Fi and other amenities.
  • Entertainment and Nightlife: Thamel is also known for its vibrant nightlife. There are numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues where you can enjoy a night out. It's a great place to meet fellow travelers and experience the local nightlife scene.

Durbar Squares

The Kathmandu Valley boasts three grand Durbar Squares, Hanuman Patan, and Bhaktapur. These squares are a testament to Nepal’s architectural brilliance, showcasing intricate woodwork, ancient temples, and palaces that date back centuries. Each square has its unique charm, offering a peek into the past and a bustling present.

Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square

Inside Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square filled with people around it
Inside Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square filled with people around it
Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square is a historical gem located in the heart of Kathmandu, Nepal. It was once the royal palace of the Malla kings and later the Shah dynasty. Here are some highlights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site:
  • Ancient Architecture: The square is surrounded by stunning examples of Newari architecture, including intricately carved wooden windows and doors, pagoda-style temples, and palace courtyards.
  • Hanuman Dhoka Palace: The Hanuman Dhoka Palace, from which the square gets its name, is an impressive structure featuring a 16th-century statue of Hanuman, the monkey god, at its entrance.
  • Kumari Ghar: The Kumari Ghar is a prominent attraction where the living goddess, Kumari, resides. Visitors can catch a glimpse of Kumari during her daily appearances at a designated window.
  • Temples: The square is home to several temples, including the Taleju Temple, Jagannath Temple, and Kal Bhairav Temple, each with its unique architecture and religious significance.
  • Museums: There are museums within the palace complex that display artifacts, art, and historical relics related to the Kathmandu Valley’s rich heritage.
  • Cultural Performances: You may have the opportunity to witness traditional Newari cultural performances and rituals in the square, adding to the authentic experience.

Patan Durbar Square

A large city filled with busy people
A large city filled with busy people
Patan Durbar Square is another UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Lalitpur, just south of Kathmandu. It is known for its well-preserved architectural marvels:
  • Patan Museum: The Patan Museum, located within the square, houses an exceptional collection of traditional Nepali art, sculptures, and artifacts.
  • Krishna Mandir: The Krishna Mandir is a beautiful stone temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and is known for its exquisite carvings and detailed craftsmanship.
  • Patan Durbar: The palace complex of Patan Durbar Square is an architectural masterpiece that showcases Newari architecture and culture.
  • Golden Temple (Hiranya Varna Mahavihar): This Buddhist monastery is adorned with intricate woodwork and a golden roof, making it a stunning sight to behold.
  • Mangal Bazar: The nearby Mangal Bazar is a bustling market area where you can explore local handicrafts, art, and traditional Newari cuisine.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

A carrying a small handbag and walking in front of Bhaktapur Durbar Square
A carrying a small handbag and walking in front of Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the ancient city of Bhaktapur, which is often referred to as the “City of Devotees.” It offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley:
  • 55-Window Palace: The 55-Window Palace is an iconic structure known for its remarkable woodcarvings and the intricacy of its architecture.
  • Nyatapola Temple: Nyatapola Temple is a five-story pagoda-style temple dedicated to Siddhi Lakshmi, and it stands as one of the tallest pagodas in Nepal.
  • Bhairab Nath Temple: The Bhairab Nath Temple, dedicated to the fearsome deity Bhairab, is an imposing structure with a towering statue.
  • Pottery Square: Bhaktapur is renowned for its pottery, and you can observe local potters at work in Pottery Square, creating traditional clay pots and vessels.
  • Taumadhi Square: Taumadhi Square is another picturesque area within Bhaktapur Durbar Square, surrounded by temples, cafes, and local shops.

Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple)

A large Cathedral with so may birds at d roof top and people standing around it
A large Cathedral with so may birds at d roof top and people standing around it
Swayambhunath Stupa, often referred to as the Monkey Temple, is one of the most iconic and sacred sites in Kathmandu, Nepal. Here’s an overview of this spiritual and cultural marvel:
  • Ancient Stupa: Swayambhunath is one of the oldest stupas in Nepal and is believed to have been established over 2,000 years ago. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Dome and Eyes: The stupa’s main structure consists of a large white dome with a gilded spire on top. Each side of the dome is adorned with the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha, symbolizing wisdom and compassion.
  • Prayer Flags and Prayer Wheels: Colorful prayer flags flutter in the breeze around the stupa, carrying prayers and blessings. There are also prayer wheels that pilgrims spin while circumambulating the stupa, sending their prayers into the universe.
  • Monkey Population: The temple earned its nickname, the Monkey Temple, due to the numerous macaque monkeys that inhabit the area. They are considered sacred and add to the unique atmosphere.
  • 360-Degree View: Swayambhunath is situated atop a hill, providing panoramic views of the Kathmandu Valley. The climb to the stupa offers both a physical and spiritual journey.
  • Religious Significance: It is a significant pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus alike. The stupa represents the harmony of the two religions and is a symbol of Nepal’s religious diversity.
  • Butter Lamps: Devotees light butter lamps at the stupa as offerings, creating a serene and spiritual ambiance, especially during evening prayers.

Pashupatinath Temple

A large temple, filled with lots of people
A large temple, filled with lots of people
Pashupatinath Temple is a sacred Hindu temple located on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. Here are some key features of this revered site:
  • Lord Shiva’s Abode: Pashupatinath is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities of Hinduism. It is considered one of the holiest shrines of Lord Shiva in the world.
  • Sacred Bagmati River: The temple’s location on the banks of the Bagmati River is of great spiritual significance. Cremations and rituals are performed along the river, and the temple’s ghats (steps) are used for these ceremonies.
  • Intricate Architecture: The temple complex features intricate wood carvings, pagoda-style architecture, and a two-tiered golden roof. Non-Hindus can explore the outer courtyard and appreciate the stunning craftsmanship.
  • Cremation Ghats: The area around Pashupatinath Temple is known for its open-air cremation ghats. It is believed that those who are cremated here attain liberation from the cycle of reincarnation.
  • Sadhus: The temple attracts sadhus (Hindu ascetics) who come to meditate and seek alms. Their colorful attire and unique lifestyles make for intriguing encounters.
  • Maha Shivaratri Festival: The temple comes to life during the Maha Shivaratri festival, celebrated with fervor by thousands of devotees. It’s a spectacle of devotion and celebration.

Boudhanath Stupa

The top view of Boudhanath Stupa
The top view of Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa, located in the town of Boudha on the outskirts of Kathmandu, is one of the largest stupas in Nepal and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here’s what makes Boudhanath Stupa special:
  • Iconic Stupa: Boudhanath Stupa is renowned for its colossal white dome, which is adorned with colorful prayer flags and prayer wheels. It’s a symbol of enlightenment and peace.
  • Spiritual Center: The stupa is a significant center for Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. The area around the stupa is home to numerous monasteries, shops selling religious artifacts, and Tibetan refugees.
  • Circumambulation: Devotees and visitors can walk in a clockwise direction (circumambulation) around the stupa, spinning prayer wheels and chanting mantras.
  • All-Seeing Eyes: Like Swayambhunath, Boudhanath also features the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha on all four sides of the stupa. These eyes symbolize wisdom and compassion.
  • Butter Lamps: The lighting of butter lamps is a common religious practice here. The soft glow of these lamps creates a serene atmosphere, especially during evening prayers.
  • Local Market: The area around the stupa is bustling with shops and stalls offering Tibetan and Nepali handicrafts, thangka paintings, jewelry, and traditional Tibetan food.
  • Pilgrimage Site: Boudhanath is a significant pilgrimage site, and many Buddhists from around the world visit to offer their prayers and seek spiritual solace.

Best Festivals In The Kathmandu Valley


Dashain is the longest and most important festival in Nepal. It usually takes place in September or October and lasts for 15 days. This festival celebrates the victory of good over evil and is marked by family gatherings, animal sacrifices, and elaborate rituals. Homes are cleaned and decorated, and people wear new clothes and visit temples to worship the goddess Durga.


Also known as Deepawali or the festival of lights, Tihar is celebrated in October or November and lasts for five days. Each day is dedicated to different animals and deities. The second day, known as Kukur Tihar, honors dogs, while the third day, Laxmi Puja, is dedicated to the goddess of wealth, Laxmi. Houses are decorated with oil lamps and colorful rangoli designs.


Holi, the festival of colors, is celebrated in March. It marks the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. During Holi, people throw colored powders and water at each other, sing and dance, and enjoy festive foods. It’s a joyous and lively festival that brings people together in celebration.

Indra Jatra

Indra Jatra is one of the most important festivals in Kathmandu, celebrated in August or September. It honors Indra, the god of rain, and includes a series of rituals, masked dances, and chariot processions. The Living Goddess Kumari is also paraded through the streets of Kathmandu during this festival, attracting large crowds of devotees and tourists.

Bisket Jatra

Bisket Jatra marks the Nepali New Year and takes place in Bhaktapur in April. This festival is known for its vibrant and energetic celebrations, including chariot processions, traditional music, and tug-of-war competitions. It’s a time of renewal and community bonding, with ancient rituals and customs on full display.


What Is The Famous Thing Of Kathmandu?

The most loved attractions in Kathmandu are Pashupatinath Temple, Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park and Patan Durbar Square.

What Language Do They Speak In Kathmandu?

Three quarters of the 123 languages native to Nepal belong to the Tibeto-Burman language family; this includes Nepalbhasa (Newa) (the original language of Kathmandu), the Limbu, Tamang, Magar, Gurung and various sunuwar, Rai languages.

What Religion Is In Nepal?

In Nepal a vast majority of the population is Hindu, but a small percentage follows Buddhism or other religious faiths. Hindus and Buddhists tend to be concentrated in areas where Indian and Tibetan cultural influences, respectively, have been dominant.

Which Currency Does Kathmandu Use?

The official currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee, which is issued and overseen by the Nepal Rastra Bank.


Kathmandu pictures guide will help you capture the many sides of this amazing city. A combination of historical sites, cultural activities, and scenic beauty can be found in Kathmandu, each offering a special opportunity for photography. You can make a detailed visual record of your trip by investigating these sites and taking in the local way of life. When taking pictures, treat yourself with respect and inquiry in order to capture the spirit of Kathmandu and capture it on camera.
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Velma Battle

Velma Battle

Travelling Expert
Michael Rachal

Michael Rachal

Travelling Expert
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