233 East Erie Street, Chicago, IL 60611 USA    
Kathmandu

Brief
Kathmandu is situated in the heart of the Himalaya mountains and has a rich history. Considered by many to be among the most beautiful cities in the world, the earliest known inscription in the Kathmandu Valley is dated 185 AD. The oldest firmly dated building in the earthquake-prone valley is almost 1,992 years old. Four stupas around the city of Patan, said to have been erected by Charumati, attest to the ancient history present within are in Patan near kendra Hiranyavarna Mahavihara (called "Patukodon"). The Licchavi Dynasty whose earliest inscriptions date back to 464 AD were the next rulers of the valley. The Malla Dynasty consisted of Newar rulers, who ruled Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding area from the 12th century till the 17th century, when the Shah Dynasty founder 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/Newar era.

Reasons to visit
Kathmandu city itself has limited activities for visitors beyond the amazing sightseeing and general experience of being there, but it is the starting point for numerous adventures in the rest of the country including trekking, rafting, jungle adventures and more extreme sports. If you would like to see some of the Himalayas, but do not want to go on a trek it is possible to spend a few days (two or more) walking from Kathmandu out of the valley. This is less intense than the trekking available in the rest of the country, but can still reward you with some great views of the mountains. For instance, the walk up to Nagarkot, which offers a great spot for watching surrounding mountain ranges at sunrise or sunset from atop the hill, can be done in a couple of days. Any of the trekking companies in Kathmandu will be willing to organise this for you.

Swayambhu   
Swayambhu a large stupa, highly revered in Nepal and one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country. It offers great views over the city and no lack of monkeys. As with the Boudha Stupa, there's no shortage of Buddhist and Tibetan-inspired trinkets for sale. There are also drinks for sale at the top and at least one small restaurant selling momos. For those that have their own transport or have difficulty climbing stairs there is a parking lot at the back entrance that significantly reduces the amount of stairs that need to be climbed to gain access to the main compound. 

Pashupatinath Temple      
Pashupatinath temple is a biggest Hindu temple of Lord Shiva located on the banks of the Bagmati river in the eastern part of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The temple served as the seat of national deity, Lord Pashupatinath, until Nepal was secularized. The temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Believers in Pashupatinath (mainly Hindus) are allowed to enter the temple premises. Non-Hindu visitors are allowed to have a look at the temple from the other bank of Bagmati river. It is regarded as the most sacred among the temples of Lord Shiva (Pashupati).  

Boudhanath    
Boudhanath (also called Bouddhanath, Bodhnath or Baudhanath or the Khasa Caitya) is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is known as Khasti by Newars as Bauddha or Bodh-nath by modern speakers of Nepali. Located about 11 km (7 miles) from the center and northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa's massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal. The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath dominates the skyline. The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world. The influx of large populations of Tibetan refugees from China has seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries) around Boudhanath. As of 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with Swayambhunath, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in the Kathmandu area.

Durbar Square  
The heart of Kathmandu this ancient square crowded with palaces and temples, including the current incarnation of the Kasthamandap or "Wooden house" that gives the city its name. The square has been in active use since the construction of a palace around 1000 AD. This site is the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nepal. Magical in the very early morning and evening, Durbar Square can be an exhausting experience due to the overwhelming number of young men offering to be "guides." Be firm with saying "no" if you are not interested, but realize that looking at a map, or even standing still for a moment will be an invitation to a dozen other would-be "helpers". Ask at the Tourist Information Office at the entrance if you do want a guide. A place not to be missed is a visit to Kathmandu Durbar Square Museum.

Kasthamandap     
Kasthamandap is three storied temple which is situated in the Kathmandu, which is the capital of Nepal. This temple is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. This temple is built in pagoda style design. It was built in the early sixteenth century by King Laxmi Narsingha Malla. The whole temple is built from just wood of a single tree and covered with the shrine. The name of capital city is named after this temple. Once a year a huge ceremony is performed in the temple. On that day people gather around the temple, and they stay up all night. The people share the legendaries stories about the temple, and enjoy themselves with different varieties of foods. This temple is one of the major tourist attractions too. Everyone is allowed to visit inside the temple, but people are not allowed to take photographs inside the temple. The temple is open after mid day until midnight. The unique feature of Kasthamandap has made it the most noted pagoda of Nepal.

Dharahara  
Dharahara also called Bhimsen Tower, is a nine story (50.2m) tall tower at the center of Kathmandu. It was built in 1832 A.D. by the Prime Minister of the time, Bhimsen Thapa of Nepal. Thapa built the tower under the orders of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari. The tower has a spiral staircase inside containing 113 steps or none because there is an elevator. The 8th floor holds a circular balcony for observers that provides a panoramic view of the whole Kathmandu valley. The tower has a 5.2m bronze mast on the roof. The tower has been open for the general public since 2005 for a small fee.

Shopping
Silver, Clothing, Carpets and Rugs, Cultural artifacts, Pashmina, Electronics

Festive celebrations
Kathmandu and Dubar Square is the center for many of Nepal's festivals. Note that many businesses are closed for all of these holidays - and often a few days before and after. Dasain in particular tend to shut down much of the city for October Tihar, Festival of Lights (also called Deepawali) a five day festival which takes place each year on the fifteenth day of Kartika (around the end of October/start of November), Holi, Bikram Sambat's, Teej, Indra Jatra Harvest.