Things to do around Kathmandu: Kirtipur
Despite the impact of modernization in the whole valley, there are still few parts that are not completely affected by it. Kirtipur is one of those fine places, where you’ll find the fusion of 21st century and 11th century lifestyles.
It was once an ancient city, a Newar (an indigenous tribe) community, dating back to 1099 AD. Not very far, just 5 km south-west of Kathmandu, it has a semi rural setting. With few modern buildings and offices, it also seems to maintain the relics of old houses that reminds us of our past. It’s also popular because of Tribhuvan University (TU), the largest University of Nepal, located here.
So, what can be done to make our day worthy, full of fun, when we’re in Kirtipur? Let’s check it out!
One of the hills, Chobhar, is famous for the Manjushree’s Gorge and the history behind it. It’s basically a rocky hill with nothing much to see; but you can still have a glance! On the opposite side of the hill, you will find Manjushree Park with a beautiful garden and a great view of the Manjushree’s Gorge.
The other places you can go to are Bagh Bhairav temple, Chilanchu Vihara, Main Square, Lohan Dehar, Uma Maheshwar temple, Chilimcho Stupa and Shri Kirti Vihara monestry.
Towards the other end of Kirtipur, you will find Taudaha Lake. It can be a great spot for you to chill and observe the nature’s beauty.
One of the reasons why I go to Kirtipur is to EAT! The Newa Lahana Restaurant is the place if you want to get a taste of the Newari dishes.
They serve a variety of Newari dishes; the popular ones being Baji set (a set with different items- beaten rice, marinated broiled meat, seasoned soya bean, lentil patties and so on), Momo (Nepali dumplings), Sekuwa (barbequed meat), Bhutan (fried intestine), Choela (roasted/ marinated meat), Chatamari (Newari pizza, prepared out of rice flour), and even whole body parts, such as brain, eyeballs and tongue, cooked well.
The food there is so mouth watering and you just cannot have enough of it. You can have them with Tho or Chyang (home- made alcohol), sitting on the Sukkul, sitting mat (no tables or chairs in there).
If you are into cycling, you’ve got a treat. Since there are lots of places to visit in Kirtipur, public transport or hiking would not be such a good idea (but many people prefer doing that as well). Get a mountain bike with a guide or follow your map and start biking.
If you are adventurous, don’t mind getting a bit dirty, even wild at times! Chobar Caves, especially recommended for you, but be prepared to encounter bats! Again, taking a guide is strongly advised. The cave takes you underground! So, when you’re walking inside it, you can hear the sound of the river flowing on the ground, right on top of your head, how’s that?
If you’re struggling inside the capital (due to obvious reasons), Kirtipur is the place for you! Babu dai (one of the home stay facilitators) and his family’s heartwarming hospitality will give you a homely experience much better than a regular home stay feeling.
To sum everything up:
If you still have a doubt in the back of your mind, let me clear it out. If you DON’T go there, you will miss out on these things:
– Scenic views including that of the Himalayas
– Local Newari cultures and traditions
– Temples, architecture and handicrafts (pottery, wood carvings)
– A municipality dating back to 10th century AD