Thamel Street Scene
At the heart of Old Kathmandu lies the tourist hub of Thamel. It's a buzzing and vibrant district, that's a shopping haven and atmospheric place to chill out post-trek.
South of Thamel, towards historic Durbar Square, is an incredible market area with a maze of narrow winding streets and alleyways. The whole area beckons you to explore it on foot. Note though, that the streets of old Kathmandu weren’t given names and as of today, many still remain nameless. This is where a good map becomes invaluable.
Nepali Masks for Sale
These eye catching Nepali masks, carved out of wood, can be found all over Thamel and make great gifts.
Colorful Bags for Sale
Embroidered bags are another popular type of handicraft for sale all over Thamel.
A short distance south of Thamel and Thahiti Tole is the Kathesimbhu Stupa, a 17th-century copy of the great Swayambhunath Stupa located on a hilltop just west of Kathmandu.
The six road junction of Ason Tole is the busiest in Kathmandu. At Ason Tole you'll find a three storied temple dedicated to Annapurna, the goddess of abundance. It draws vast crowds. Produce from all over Kathmandu Valley is also sold at Ason Tole.
Durbar Square in Kathmandu
Durbar Square is Kathmandu’s main tourist attraction. It has over 50 monuments steeped in history, with everyday life continuing on intensely around them. Located south of Thamel, it can be reached a number of ways. One of them is by following Makahan Tole, which runs from Indra Chowk to the north east corner of the Square.
Do note that tickets must be purchased to enter Durbar Square. Recently, the price for foreigners has been (unjustifiably) hiked to 1,000 rupees, making it costly for budget travelers. Members of SAARC countries pay 200 rupees per ticket.
The Kathmandu Valley has two other Durbar Squares -- in Bhaktapur and Patan. They are more interesting and maintained much better than Kathmandu's Durbar Square.
View of Pashupatinath
Pashupatinath is located just northwest of Kathmandu, on the banks of the Bagmati River. It's an extremely important Hindu temple, being dedicated to a manifestation of Lord Shiva called Pashupati (Lord of Animals). The temple grounds are extensive. Unfortunately, only Hindus are allowed to enter, although foreigners can pay 1,000 rupees for a ticket to access part of the premises. However, it is possible to get a good view of inside the grounds from the opposite bank of the river.
Burning Ghat at Pashupatinath
Hindus are cremated at Pashupatinath. Bodies are burnt and the ashes are scattered in the river.
Sadhus at Pashupatinath
There are many sadhus (Hindu holy men) gathered at Pashupatinath, as it's one of the Indian subcontinent's four most important Shiva pilgrimage sites.
A short distance northeast of Kathmandu, at the Budhanilkantha Temple, is a famous floating statue of the Hindu god Vishnu. The statue is believed to be approximately 1,500 years old. Only Hindus are allowed to touch his feet.
Scenery Outside Kathmandu
The villages in the Kathmandu Valley are fertile and green with crops. Here, women work the rice paddy fields on the outskirts of Kathmandu.
Kathmandu Valley Countryside
The Kathmandu Valley is a picturesque region. Exploring the villages surrounding Kathmandu is a great way to get a feel for rural life in Nepal.