Kathmandu Valley

Kathmandu Valley

Infobox World Heritage Site
Name = Kathmandu Valley
infoboxwidth= 250px

State_Party = NEP
Type = Cultural
Criteria = iii, iv, vi
ID = 121
Region = Asia-Pacific
Year = 1979
Session = 3rd
Danger = 2003-
Extension = 2006

The Kathmandu Valley ( _ne. नेपाः स्वनिगः "IAST|Nepāḥ Svānigaḥ"), located in the Nepal, lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of Asia, and has at least 130 important monuments, including several places of pilgrimage for the Hindus and the Buddhists. The valley is made up of Kathmandu District, Lalitpur District and Bhaktapur District. The valley consists of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur Submetropolitan City, Bhaktapur municipality, Kirtipur Municipality, Thimi Municipality and several villages which present a high style of Newar art and architecture. The valley is a cultural and political hub of Nepal. Mixed with all the other cultures, many of whom have recently arrived from different parts of Nepal, Newar culture still exist very vibrantly. Kathmandu valley was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1979.

Through Kathmandu Valley flows the Bagmati river.


The Kathmandu Valley may have been inhabited as early as 300 BCE, since the oldest known objects in the valley date to a few hundred years BCE. The earliest known inscription is dated 185 CE. The oldest firmly dated building in the earthquake-prone valley is almost 1,992 years old. Four stupas around the city of Patan are said to have been erected by a certain Charumati, a purported daughter of Ashoka the Great, a Mauryan king, in the 3rd century BCE attest to the ancient history present within the valley. As with the tales of the Buddha's visit, there is no evidence supporting Ashoka's visit, but the stupas probably do date to that century. The Kirats are the first documented rulers of the Kathmandu Valley, the remains of their palace are said to be in Patan near Hiranyavarna Mahavihara (called "Patukodon"). The Licchavi Dynasty whose earliest inscriptions date back to 464 CE were the next rulers of the valley and had close ties with the Gupta Dynasty of India. The Malla Dynasty, who ruled Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding area from the 12th century CE till the 17th century CE when the Shah Dynasty under Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the valley as he created present-day Nepal. Most of ancient Nepali architecture present in Nepal today is from the Malla era.

The Newars, generally acknowledged to be the original habitants of the valley, are understood to be the descendents of the various ethnic and racial groups that have inhabited and ruled the valley in the 2-millennia history of the place. Although in today's state of Nepal, the Newars stand apart ethnically from the other groups on the basis of their composite Hindu-Buddhist religious culture and Nepal Bhasa, today spoken by all Newars as their mother tongue, the multifarious castes in the numerous caste systems within Newar society betray a surprising racial diversity. The similarities between the various cultural traits and complexes within Newar culture and those of many other ethnic groups in the Indian sub-continent lead us to hypothesize the occurrence of both vibrant circulations of peoples and cultures around the sub-continent during the last 2 millennia and a continuous and steady of diffusion of these ideas into the valley. Indologists/anthropologists and Newarologists describe Newar society as a "pre-dominantly Mongoloid people practicing an Indo-Aryan culture."

The city of Kathmandu is named after a structure in Durbar Square called Kaasthamandap. In Sanskrit, "kāṣṭh" ( _sa. काष्ठ) = "wood" and "maṇḍap" ( _sa. मंडप/मण्डप) = "covered shelter." This unique temple, also known as Maru Satal, was built in 1596 CE by King Laxmi Narsingh Malla. The entire structure contains no iron nails or supports and is made entirely from wood. Legend has it that the timber used for this two story pagoda was obtained from a single tree.


Important monuments of Kathmandu valley include:
*Kathmandu Durbar Square
*Patan Durbar Square

*Bhaktapur Durbar Square
*Thimi Durbar Square
*Changu Narayan
*Swayambhunath Stupa
*Boudhanath Stupa
*Pashupatinath temple
*Balkumari Temple/Thimi
*Wakachhen Mahadev/Thimi
*Golden Window/Thimi
* Manjushree Temple in Majipa, Manjushree Tole
* Aditnath Temple in Chobhar [http://www.chobhar.com] hill village
* Palanchok Temple in kavre, east from middle of Kathmandu


According to Swayambhu Puran, Kathmandu Valley was once a lake. The hill where the Swambhu stupa rests, had lotus plants with beautiful lotus flowers abloom. One story says that the god Manjusri cut a gorge at a place called Kashapaal (later called Chobhar) with a sword called Chandrahrasha and drained away the waters to establish a habitable land.

According to Gopal Banshawali, Krishna cut the gorge with his Sudarshana Chakra to let the water out. He then handed the drained valley to the Gopal Vansi people, who were nomadic cow herders.


This valley hosts an UNESCO World Heritage Sites composed by seven different Monument Zones: The centers of the three primary cities, Kathmandu Hanuman Dhoka, Patan and Bhaktapur, the two most important Buddhist stupas, Swayambhunath and Boudhanath and two famous Hindu shrines, Pashupatinath temple and Changu Narayan. Since 2003 the site has been inscribed in the World Heritage List as being "in danger" out of concern for the ongoing loss of authenticity and the outstanding universal value of the cultural property.

Musical inspiration

Cat Stevens wrote a song titled "Katmandu" which appeared in his 1970 album, "Mona Bone Jakon".

Rock musician Bob Seger wrote a song titled "Katmandu" which appeared on his 1975 album, "Beautiful Loser".

A Russian rock band Krematorij had a song titled "Kathmandu" on their 2000 album "Three Springs".

The Argentinian musician Fito Páez has a song called "Tráfico por Katmandú" ("Traffic through Kathmandu" in English)

New age guitarist Will Ackerman has a song called "A Happy Home in Kathmandu" on his 1993 album "The Opening of Doors".

The group "Tantra" recorded a song called "The Hills of Katmandu" in the early 80's.

The world-famous Banjo player Béla Fleck has a number called "Kathmandu"

David Hughes, bass player from Sweden, included a track titled "Kathmandu" on his 2007 release "Foreign Shores".

Some recent travelogues refer to the valley as the "Emerald Valley".

ee also

*Culture of Nepal


External links

* [http://whc.unesco.org/pg.cfm?cid=31&id_site=121 UNESCO - Kathmandu Valley]
* [http://whc.unesco.org/archive/advisory_body_evaluation/121bis.pdf UNESCO Advisory Board Evaluation]
* [http://www.reise-photografie.de/nepal.htm Images from Kathmandu Valley ]
* [http://www.indigoarchitects.net/Live/SearchResult.aspx?s=Kathmandu,+Nepal Stay information Kathmandu]
* [https://www.panoramagalerie.at/index.php/Kategorie:Nepal 360° panorama images of Kathmandu valley]
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/ghintang Flickr.com - Scenes & Sights of Kathmandu Valley]
* [http://www.fudomouth.net/intertext/ap_subcontinent01.htm Under the Spell of Ancient Deities] : Travel narrative of time spent in the Kathmandu Valley, by writer Austin Pick

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