Kathmandu Valley

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The Kathmandu Valley (Nepali: काठमाडौं उपत्यका; also known as the Nepal Valley or Nepa Valley (Nepali: नेपाः उपत्यका, Nepal Bhasa: 𑐣𑐾𑐥𑐵𑑅 𑐐𑐵𑑅, नेपाः गाः)), is a bowl-shaped valley located in the Himalayan mountains in Nepal. It lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of the Indian subcontinent and the broader Asian continent, and has at least 130 important monuments, including several pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists. There are seven World Heritage Sites within the valley.[2]

Kathmandu Valley, Nepa Valley
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Kathmandu, Nepal.JPG
Kathmandu valley seen from the space by NASA observatory
LocationBagmati Province, Nepal
CriteriaCultural: (iii), (iv), (vi)
Reference121bis
Inscription1979 (3rd Session)
Extensions2006
Endangered2003–2007[1]
Area665 square km
Coordinates27°42′14″N 85°18′31″E / 27.70389°N 85.30861°E / 27.70389; 85.30861Coordinates: 27°42′14″N 85°18′31″E / 27.70389°N 85.30861°E / 27.70389; 85.30861
Kathmandu Valley is located in Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley
Location of Kathmandu Valley in Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley is located in Bagmati Province
Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley (Bagmati Province)
Kathmandu Valley is located in Nepal
Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley (Nepal)

The Kathmandu Valley is the most developed and the largest urban agglomeration in Nepal with an approximate 2.9 million population.[3] The urban agglomeration of Kathmandu Valley includes the cities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Budhanilkantha, Tarakeshwar, Gokarneshwar, Suryabinayak, Tokha, Kirtipur, Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur, etc. The majority of offices and headquarters are located in the valley, making it the economic hub of Nepal. It is popular with tourists for its unique architecture, and rich culture that includes the highest number of jatras (street festivals) in Nepal. The valley itself was referred to as "Nepal Proper" by British historians. As per the World Bank, the Kathmandu Valley was one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in South Asia with 2.5 million population by 2010 with an annual growth rate of 4%.[4]

In 2015, Kathmandu Valley was hit by the April 2015 Nepal earthquake.[5] The earthquake caused thousands of deaths and the destruction of much infrastructure across the Kathmandu Valley, which includes the towns of Lalitpur, Kirtipur, Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur. Kathmandu is also the largest city in the Himalayan hill region.

EtymologyEdit

Historically, the valley and adjoining areas made up a confederation known as the Nepal Mandala. Until the 15th century, Bhaktapur was its capital, when two other capitals, Kathmandu and Lalitpur (Patan), were established.[6][7][8] Until the 1960s, the Kathmandu Valley was known as Nepala Valley or Nepa Valley.[9][10] In 1961 the valley listed as Kathmandu District, which began referring the valley as Kathmandu Valley.[11] The term Nepa Valley is still used among Newar people[12] and local governments,[13] while senior citizens still tend to refer the valley as Nepal.[14] The term Swaniga (Nepal Bhasa: 𑐳𑑂𑐰𑐣𑐶𑐐𑑅, स्वनिगः) is used to refer three cities namely Yén (Kathmandu), Yala (Lalitpur) and Khwapa (Bhaktapur) [15]

The Pahari name Kathmandu comes from a structure in the Durbar Square called by the Sanskrit name Kāsṣtha mandapa "Wooden shelter". This unique temple, also known as the Maru Sattal, was built in 1596 by King Lakshmi Narasimha Malla. The entire structure contained no iron nails or supports and was made entirely from wood. Legend has it that the timber used for this two-story pagoda was obtained from a single tree.

HistoryEdit

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 over 2,000 years old. Four stupas around the city of Patan that are said to have been erected by a Charumati, a purported daughter of the Maurya emperor Ashoka, in the third 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 Ashok's visit, but the stupas probably date to that century. The Licchavis, whose earliest inscriptions date to 464, were the next rulers of the valley and had close ties with the Gupta Empire of India. The Mallas ruled the Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding area from the 12th until the 18th century CE, when the Shah dynasty of the Gorkha Kingdom under Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the valley as he created present-day Nepal. His victory in the Battle of Kirtipur was the beginning of his conquest of the valley.

NewarsEdit

The Newars are the indigenous inhabitants and the creators of the historic civilization of the valley. Their language is today known as Nepal Bhasa.[16] They are understood to be the descendants of the various ethnic and racial groups that have inhabited and ruled the valley in the two-millennium history of the place. Scholars have also described the Newars as a nation.[17] They have developed a division of labour and a sophisticated urban civilization not seen elsewhere in the Himalayan foothills. They are known for their contributions to art, sculpture, architecture, culture, literature, music, industry, trade, agriculture and cuisine, and left their mark on the art of Central Asia.

Newa architecture consists of the pagoda, stupa, shikhara, chaitya and other styles. The valley's trademark is the multiple-roofed pagoda which may have originated in this area and spread to India, China, Indochina and Japan.[18][19] The most famous artisan who influenced stylistic developments in China and Tibet was Araniko, a Newar who traveled to the court of Kublai Khan in the 13th century AD.[18] He is known for building the white stupa at the Miaoying Temple in Beijing. At present, people from other parts of Nepal tend to migrate to the valley for a better life due to its high level of cultural and economic development. Even with urbanization taking place, the Newars have sustained their culture in Kathmandu Valley.

MythologyEdit

According to Swayambhu Puran, the Kathmandu Valley was once a lake, deemed by scientists as Paleo Kathmandu Lake. The hill where the Swayambu Stupa rests had lotus plants with flowers in bloom. One story says that the God Manjusri cut a gorge at a valley called Kashapaal (later called Chobhar) with a sword called Chandrahrasha and drained away the waters in order 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.

GeographyEdit

 
Mountain view from Kathmandu Valley

Kathmandu valley is bowl-shaped. Its central lower part stands at 1,425 metres (4,675 ft) above sea level. Kathmandu valley is surrounded by four mountain ranges: Shivapuri hills (at an elevation of 2,732 metres or 8,963 feet), Phulchowki (2,695 metres or 8,842 feet), Nagarjun (2,095 metres or 6,873 feet) and Chandragiri (2,551 metres or 8,369 feet). The major river flowing through the Kathmandu Valley is the Bagmati River. The valley is made up of the Kathmandu District, Lalitpur District and Bhaktapur District covering an area of 220 square miles (570 km2). The valley consists of the municipal areas of Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, Kirtipur and Madhyapur Thimi; the remaining area is made up of a number of municipalities and rural municipalities (in Lalitpur district). The valley is a cultural and political hub of Nepal. The Kathmandu valley was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1979.

Places to seeEdit

 
Dese Maru Jhya, the only window of its kind in the country
 
Kathmandu Durbar Square

This is an incomplete alphabetical list of notable temples and monuments in Kathmandu Valley. Seven of these are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[2]

PresentEdit

 
Narayanhiti Palace Museum

This valley hosts a UNESCO World Heritage Site with seven preserved locations: the centers of the three primary cities, Kathmandu Hanuman Dhoka, Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square, the two most important Buddhist stupas, Swayambhunath and Boudhanath and two famous Hindu shrines, Pashupatinath temple and Changu Narayan.[20] In 2003, UNESCO listed the sites as being "endangered" out of concern for the ongoing loss of authenticity and the outstanding universal value of the cultural property. The endangered status was lifted in 2007.[21]

In the past, Tibetan Buddhist Masters including Marpa, Milarepa, Rwa Lotsava, Ras Chungpa, Dharma Swami, XIII Karmapa, XVI Karmapa and several others visited and travelled in the Kathmandu Valley. However, the largest group of Tibetans came in the 1960s. Many settled around the Swayambhunath and Boudhanath Stupas. Many other famous Lamas known throughout the world have their Buddhist monasteries and centers in the Kathmandu Valley.[22]

The 1500-year history of funerary architecture in the valley provides some of the finest examples of stone architecture found in the subcontinent. A caitya is placed in almost all courtyards in cities like Patan.[23] Stone inscriptions in the Kathmandu Valley are important sources for the history of Nepal.

DemographicsEdit

Kathmandu Valley has total population of 2,517,023.[24]

Kathmandu (National Capital Area)Edit

Kathmandu (NCT)
काठमाण्डौ (राष्ट्रिय राजधानी क्षेत्र)
Proposed Territory
 
Kathmandu Valley (a separate territory)
CountryNepal
Capital TerritoryKathmandu
Area
 • Total902.61 km2 (348.50 sq mi)
Population
 (2021)
 • Total2,996,341[3]

It is proposed to Government of Nepal to develop Kathmandu valley as a separate national capital territory and not a part of Bagmati Province.[25][26][27]

Kathmandu Valley consists 3 Districts of Bagmati Province whose total population is 2,996,341 and total area is 933.73 square kilometres (360.52 sq mi)

District Area Population (2021)[3]
Kathmandu 413.69 square kilometres (159.73 sq mi) 2,017,532
Bhaktapur 123.12 square kilometres (47.54 sq mi) 430,408
Latipur 396.92 square kilometres (153.25 sq mi) 548,401
Kathmandu NCT 933.73 square kilometres (360.52 sq mi) 2,996,341

Major citiesEdit

Cities and towns with 75,000+ population of Kathmandu valley as per 2021 Nepal census.[3]

Rank Name District Population (2021) Area (km2) Density (/km2)
1 Kathmandu Kathmandu 845,767 49.45[28] 17,103
2 Lalitpur Lalitpur 299,843 36.12[29] 8,301
3 Budhanilkantha Kathmandu 179,688 34.8[30] 5,163
4 Tarakeshwar Kathmandu 151,508 54.95[31] 2,757
5 Gokarneshwar Kathmandu 151,200 58.5[32] 2,585
6 Suryabinayak Bhaktapur 137,971 42.45 3,250
7 Chandragiri Kathmandu 136,928 43.9 3,119
8 Tokha Kathmandu 135,741 17.11 7,933
9 Kageshwari-Manohara Kathmandu 133,327 27.38 4,870
10 Madhyapur Thimi Bhaktapur 119,955 11.47 10,458
11 Mahalaxmi Lalitpur 118,710 26.51 4,478
12 Nagarjun Kathmandu 115,507 29.85 3,870
13 Godawari Lalitpur 100,972 96.11 1,051
14 Changunarayan Bhaktapur 88,612 62.98 1,407
15 Kirtipur Kathmandu 81,782 14.76 5,541
16 Bhaktapur Bhaktapur 78,854 6.89 11,445

Minor cities and villagesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Royal Palaces of Abomey and Kathmandu removed from Danger List at UNESCO website
  2. ^ a b Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Kathmandu Valley". whc.unesco.org. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Archived copy" (PDF). cbs.gov.np. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 February 2022. Retrieved 22 February 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Managing Nepal's Urban Transition". World Bank. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Nepal Disaster Risk Reduction Portal". Government of Nepal. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  6. ^ Slusser, M. (1982). Nepal Mandala: A Cultural Study of the Kathmandu Valley. Princeton University. ISBN 978-0-691-03128-6. Page vii.
  7. ^ Tamot, Kashinath (2006). नेपालमण्डल. Nepal Mandal Anusandhan Guthi. ISBN 99946-987-5-3. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  8. ^ Tamot, K. (2006). नेपालमण्डल (नेपाली अनुवाद). Nepal Mandal Anusandhan Guthi. ISBN 99946-987-5-3. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  9. ^ Khatiwada, D. "'राजधानी प्रदेश' र 'नेवा राज्य' : केही भ्रमको खण्डन". Online Khabar. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Celestial Advice" (PDF). Nepal Law Commission.
  11. ^ "नेपालको जिल्ला प्रशासन पुनर्गठनको रिपोर्ट २०१३" (PDF). Ministry Federal Affairs & General Administration. Government of Nepal. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Save Nepa Valley Movement Homepage". Save Nepa Valley. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  13. ^ भक्तपुर नगरपालिका स्थानीय पाठ्यक्रम २०७५ (PDF). Bhaktapur: Bhaktapur Municipality. 2018. p. 9.
  14. ^ Khatiwada, Dambar. "'राजधानी प्रदेश' र 'नेवा राज्य' : केही भ्रमको खण्डन". Online Khabar. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  15. ^ Rajendra S. Khadka Travelers' Tales Nepal
  16. ^ von Furer-Haimendorf, Christoph (1956). "Elements of Newar Social Structure". Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 86 (2): 15–38. doi:10.2307/2843991. JSTOR 2843991.
  17. ^ "Mesocosm". publishing.cdlib.org. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  18. ^ a b American University (Washington, D. C. ) Foreign Areas Studies Division; United States. Army (8 September 1964). "Area handbook for Nepal (with Sikkim and Bhutan)". Washington, For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off. Retrieved 8 September 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  19. ^ Gellner, David N. (1994). Nepal: A Guide to the Art and Architecture of the Kathmandu Valley. ISBN 1-870838-76-9.
  20. ^ "Places to see UNESCO World Heritage Sites". welcomenepal.com.
  21. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "UNESCO World Heritage Centre - State of Conservation (SOC 2003) Kathmandu Valley (Nepal)". whc.unesco.org. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  22. ^ Observation on the influence of Tibetan Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley: Archived 20 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Gutschow, Niels (1997). The Nepalese Caitya: 1500 Years of Buddhist Votive Architecture in the Kathmandu Valley. ISBN 978-3-930698-75-2. Pages 30-31.
  24. ^ "Census Data" (PDF). 2011.
  25. ^ "Call for integrated development of Kathmandu Valley". My Republica. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  26. ^ "Road Map for Making Kathmandu Valley Development Concept Plan Risk Sensitive ..." (PDF). UNDP, Nepal. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  27. ^ "Valley envisioned as national capital of federal Nepal". The Halayan. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". www.kathmandu.gov.np. Archived from the original on 2 September 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "Archived copy". lalitpurmun.gov.np. Archived from the original on 2 September 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Archived copy". www.budhanilkanthamun.gov.np. Archived from the original on 2 September 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ "Archived copy". www.tarakeshwormun.gov.np. Archived from the original on 30 August 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ http://gokarneshwormun.gov.np/en

External linksEdit