Asin Sharma is a Kathmandu native whose love for her home city has only grown over time. To be sure, this passion drove Asin to pursue a career as a writer for NepalAdvisor.com, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t indulge her wanderlust once in a while. “I love traveling alone with a map in my hand…and an adventure right in front of me,” Asin admits. But her heart will always be in Kathmandu. Here are a few of her favorite things about the culturally rich capital she calls home.

Kathmandu Is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is Durbar Square. Once a courtyard of the Hanuman Dhoka royal palace, it is now open to locals and tourists alike. Accompanying the palace are centuries-old temples and monuments.

October or November is the best time to visit my city because it’s the festive season here; everyone is in a holiday mood, and the weather is perfect—neither too cold nor too hot.

Prayer flags hoisted over Swayambhunath Temple (Photograph by mon_oeil, Flickr)

Prayer flags hoisted over Swayambhunath Temple (Photograph by mon_oeil, Flickr)

You can see my city best from Swayambhunath, a complex of ancient Buddhist shrines and temples built on top of a hill. Dating back to the fifth century A.D., this area offers not only a magnificent view of the valley, but also an opportunity to get to know Buddhism better.

Thamel is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like social activist Anuradha Koirala, news anchor Kiran Chetry, and fashion designer Prabal Gurung have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is Hanuman Dhoka Palace Museum because it’s rich with the historical belongings of former kings and queens. There’s history in every brick of this palace!

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is Pashupatinath Temple, one of the most significant temples honoring the Hindu god, Shiva. You can spend an entire day marveling at the main temple, monuments, park, cremation area, shops, and so on.

My city really knows how to celebrate Tihar. Each and every house is lit up like a parade showpiece on this day. Deusi Re and Bhailo (songs performed for the purpose of asking for food and money) add a musical element while bright diyos (butter lamps), colorful lights, and beautiful flowers brighten up the whole city.

For a fancy night out, I head to the pubs and restaurants in Thamel, Lazimpat, or Durbarmarg, where the people are hip and the night is always young.

Just outside my city, you can visit Nagarkot or Chisapani for the best possible views of the mountains and surrounding cities at sunset.

My city is known for being overpopulated, but it’s really culturally diverse.

The best outdoor market in my city is New Road, a long road consisting of shops on each side as well as alleys. Everyone in the city buys from here, and you can purchase almost anything.

Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal's most sacred Hindu shrine and one of the greatest Shiva sites. (Photograph by bjgraf, Flickr)

Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu shrine and one of the greatest Shiva sites. (Photograph by bjgraf, Flickr)

Galleria Café is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and Roadhouse Café is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on weekends, read TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday), a supplement of the Himalayan Times newspaper.

My city’s biggest sports event is football (soccer). Watch it at Dashrath Stadium, especially when the Nepali football team is playing.

To escape the crowds, I go for a drive away from the main city to Thaiba or Bhaisepati. You don’t have to go very far to find a perfect, peaceful place!

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Zach Galifianakis because they share a stubborn and self-deprecating modesty, and a fearless willingness to try almost anything.

The dish that represents my city best is momo (Nepali version of dumplings) and Chhaang (local beer) is my city’s signature drink.

Civil Mall is my favorite building in town because there’s a movie theater, bowling alley, miniature golf course, laser tag, video games, and shopping. I can even devour my favorite dishes there.

Purple Haze is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Hotel Yak and Yeti.

Momos, traditional Nepalese dumplings (Photograph by kudumomo, Flickr)

Momos, traditional Nepalese dumplings (Photograph by kudumomo, Flickr)

Cold breezes (even in summer), breathtaking landscapes, and stressed people wearing welcoming smiles could only happen in my city.

In the spring you should come join us for Holi, a sacred festival where people play with colors and water.

In the summer you should go white-water rafting.

In the fall you should cycle around the city.

In the winter you should try going for a picnic hike around the outskirts of Kathmandu.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss Kathmandu Fun Valley. It’s not as big, but people love it. It’s sort of like a miniature Disneyland.

The best book about my city is Kathmandu, the Novel, by Gerry Virtue, a thriller story that perfectly depicts life in Kathmandu with larger-than-life characters and a complex plot.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Katmandu,” by Bog Seger.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because it combines mystery, modern mythology, and nature all at once! You never feel like leaving once you get here.

Comments

  1. Sabin Shakya
    Toronto, Canada
    August 18, 3:26 pm

    Nepal is paradise, there are more places to visit around Kathmandu valley like . . . Budhanilkantha, Basantapur (Kathmandu Durbar Square), Freak Street, Lakuri vanjyang, Nagarkot, Patan-Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Kirtipur, Last Resort, Monkey Temple, Seto Gumba (White Monastry), Thamel, Dakshinkali Temple,…. etc …etc.
    ENJOY !!!

  2. dave
    India
    August 16, 2:42 pm

    Make sure you check out Bhaktapur near by. It is actually a quieter alternative to Kathmandu.
    http://www.mysecretplanet.com/Bhaktapur

  3. Kathleen holding
    England
    August 14, 4:01 pm

    Stunning City with crazy traffic, so much history and a blessing from the living Goddess all set against the backdrop of the Amazing Himalaya,a flight to Everest is a must and a glass of Everest beer after getting lost in the back street markets.Wonderful memories.

  4. Kate
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    August 14, 7:43 am

    Love this! I’m headed to Nepal in a few weeks with friends and this makes me even more excited. Passing it on to my travel mates now!