National capital of Nepal
Royal capital and religion
Location and site
Located between India and Tibet, the Kathmandu Valley is south of the Great Himalayas at an altitude of 1,500 m. It is traversed by the Bagmati River and its affluents, around which a number of sites have been developed, including the durbars (urban squares) of Bhatgaon, Patan and Kathmandu, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambu and Bodnath, and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan.
Only a few kilometers separate the sites of the durbar (urban squares) of Bhatgaon, Patan and Kathmandu, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambu and Bodnath, and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan. In each case, monumental ensembles were constructed. In Patan, the esplanade of one durbar is lined with palace buildings. The stupa of Swayambu is surrounded by temples, monasteries and statues. The Pashupati is part of an ensemble containing hospitals and shelters; it is built on terraces overlooking the holy Bagmati River. Mythical principles came into play in the design of these sites.
About 2,700 temples and other monuments occupy the Kathmandu Valley. With their sculpted polychrome wood, red brick, and copper roofs, these temples are often grouped together in an exiguous manner. Pagodas, stupas and vihara complete the landscape.
The selected sites “provide a testimony to the impact that the Kathmandu Valley had on civilisation. (III) The durbars of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhodgaon constitute eminent, successive, and complementary examples of the great royal residences of Nepal. (IV) The selected monuments illustrate Nepal’s civilisation, which was founded on religious elements that excluded the Islamic world, and resulted from a complex exchange of influences coming from India and Tibet. (VI)
- During the first centuries A.D., the practice of Indian Buddhism, then of Hinduism, was widespread in Nepal. From this time on, architecture and urban planning could not be dissociated from religion.
- Under the Malla Dynasty, Nepal’s architecture distinguished itself in the 11th century. It developed first in the Kathmandu Valley, then in Bhatgaon, Patan and the city of Kathmandu.
- At the begining of the 14th century, Nepal was divided and Bhatgaon and Patan were rivals. The country was subjected to a number of invasions, including that of the Muslims from Bengal in 1349.
- Reunited under the Malla Dynasty between 1380 and 1395, Nepal enjoyed its golden era around the 15th century; Bhodgaon, Patan and Kathmandu flourished during this period of prosperity.
- At the beginning of the 16th century, the three cities were capitals of three kingdoms. A series of fruitless battles ensued. In 1768, the Rajputs, who came from Gurkha, conquered the country, which finally recovered its independence in 1947.
Mr. Bidya Sundar Shakya
Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office
PO Box 8416
Ms. Archana Shrestha
Director (Head of Department)
Local Government of Kathmandu
(997) 9841 231 799
Mr. Padam Keshar Adhikari
International Relations Secretariat, Kathmandu Metropolitan City
P.O. Box 8416