Kathmandu is a metropolis in the heart of the kingdom of Nepal, a land of snow-white mountains and home of the gods. For many centuries, this was the centre of Buddhist power and culture and it is here that the largest number of temples is found, dedicated to numerous deities.
In the heart of the city is Durbar Square, in which the country’s royalty resided until 1908 and where the most important festivals take place. Jagannath is one of the oldest temples on the square and the original building dates back to 1560, as does the adjacent Taleju Temple.
The Shiva Parvati Temple was built in the early years of the Shah Dynasty. Its five-sectioned portal-like frame features text that is believed to be ancient Nepalese writing.
Kumari Chowk is the residence of the living goddess, Raj Kumari. For this role, a young girl is duly selected and is disallowed from leaving the palace until puberty. Her task is to affirm the king his power.
Over the years, the city has grown so much that Kathmandu is only separated from Patan by the sacred Bagmati River. The majority of the population is Hindu but Buddhists frequently use the Hindu sanctuaries. Here, religious coexistence is a reality.
The customs of the people in this ‘Kingdom on the Roof of the World’ may seem strange to those from beyond its borders. But this land of both jungle and everlasting snow has developed according to its own rich traditions and beliefs.