Visions of snowy mountain peaks, monasteries, crowded streets & temples enter ones mind when Kathmandu is mentioned. The name Kathmandu comes from a Sanskrit compound of words meaning Kashtha (wood) and Mandap (house). This is what I went in search of and found. The capital of Nepal stands at 4600 feet and the city has 2 1/2 million people. The city is focused on tourism and has a history that dates back over 2000 years. Hinduism and Buddhism are mostly worshiped here. Kathmandu is a link to those wanting to climb the tallest peaks on earth, to explore the culture and to visit the 7 Heritage sites within the Kathmandu Valley.
I had signed up for a tour of Nepal but wanted extra time on my own to visit this historic city. Places like Boudnath, Swayambhunath (the Monkey Temple), Thamel, Durbar Square and Bhaktapur were some of the sites within reach of Kathmandu. My first experience after arriving at the hotel and setting out on foot was disturbing with the pollution, traffic, honking horns and crowded streets. The atmosphere is quite stifling but there is also character and life to the area. Everyone is friendly while they try to get you to buy whatever it is their selling. "Come and look, it is free to look" is their chant.
From the stupa at Boudnath with it's prayer flags waving, to the busy streets of Kathmandu and the amazing architecture of Bhaktapur, the sites, the smells and the mountains in the distance beckon you to walk and immerse yourself into the amazing culture and history of Nepal.