The Kathmandu Valley is a unique and fascinating place with a rich cultural heritage and history. If you’ve never been here, you should definitely visit. If you are from here you may still not know a lot about the valley. It’s home to numerous temples, palaces, and other historic sites that attract millions of tourists from all over the world every year. In this article, we’ll uncover some of the most surprising facts about the Kathmandu Valley that you may not know about.
12 Surprising Facts About the Kathmandu Valley:
Once a lake
The Kathmandu Valley was once a large lake. But over time, the water poured out through the Chovar region. Later, sediment from the surrounding hills filled the land and created the land that the valley sits on today. Many people believe this fact to be a myth. The myth also included a fact that a chinese individual “Manjushree” cut down the valley to let the water flow out.
Largest temple in the world
Kathmandu has the holy Pashupati temple. The Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu is the largest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the world. It’s a sacred site for Hindu pilgrims and a major tourist attraction.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal
The Kathmandu Valley is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the historic cities with the Durbar squares of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. These sites are recognized for their unique cultural heritage and history.
Newari architecture style
The Newari architecture style is a unique style found only in the Kathmandu Valley. It’s characterized by intricate carvings and designs and is a major tourist attraction.
Once an independent kingdom
The Kathmandu Valley was not a part of Nepal and once was an independent kingdom. It was ruled by the Malla dynasty at the beginning. Today, the valley is the political and cultural center of Nepal.
Political and cultural center of Nepal
As mentioned above, Kathmandu Valley is the center of Nepali politics, culture, and religion. It’s home to the Nepali parliament, the presidential palace, and many of the country’s most important cultural and religious sites.
The Kathmandu Valley has its own unique dialect, known as the Newari language. However, Nepali speakers also sound a bit different than people from other districts of Nepal. This language is mostly spoken in the valley and is an important part of the local culture and heritage.
Unique festival calendar
Nepalese people enjoy a lot of celebration. From the whole nation, the Kathmandu Valley is home to many unique festivals throughout the year. These festivals such as Ghode Jatra, Vote Jatra and more, are an important part of the local culture and are celebrated with music, dance, and feasting.
An important center for Buddhism
Among the many secular regions, the Kathmandu Valley is also an important center for Buddhism. It is home to many Buddhist monasteries and temples including Syambunath and Boudhanath. Today, there are still many Buddhist sites in the valley, including the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple.
Rich tradition of art and craft
The Kathmandu Valley has a rich tradition of art and craft. People have been developing amazing skills including wood carving, metalwork, and pottery. These traditional arts and crafts are an important part of the local culture and are still practiced today.
Important trade centers in the region
The Kathmandu Valley was once an important trade center in the region. Kathmandu is the largest city in Nepal in terms of population. Thus, Kathmandu being a trade hub is quite understandable. In the past, the valley was a hub for trade between India, Tibet, and the rest of Asia. Today, the valley is still an important center for trade, with a vibrant market culture.
The Kathmandu Valley, similar to the whole nation, is undergoing rapid modernization. This is happening with new buildings and infrastructure being built at a rapid pace. While this modernization brings many benefits, it also poses a threat to the valley’s unique cultural heritage and history.
From its once being a lake, to its unique architecture and festivals, to its history as an important center for Buddhism and trade, there is much to learn about this valley. It’s important to both preserve and celebrate its heritage, even as the valley undergoes modernization.