Discovering Nepal Differently – Have you heard of Kirtipur?

 Discovering Nepal Differently.

You’ve heard of Kathmandu, but have you heard of Kirtipur?

It’s one of those little-known gems that’s only 7 kms from Kathmandu but a world away from the mainstream tourist circuit. Sitting on a hillside next to the Hattiban Forest, it is actually one of the Kathmandu Valley’s oldest Newari towns dating back to 1099AD. With traditional paved streets lined by typical red-brick houses and tiled roofs, ancient temple squares, small alleyways, a mix of ancient and modern architecture it is full of fascinating stories! If you can time your visit to coincide with a vibrant Jatra or Street Festival, there’s nothing like it, and a name you can definitely drop to the ‘be there, done it brigade.’

Sights, whilst maybe not being quite as impressive as in the main Kathmandu Valley, are guaranteed to be almost tourist free and provide wonderful, unique photo opportunities and are surrounded with wonderful stories.  Places to visit include,

Culture: The Bagh Bhairab Temple, which dates back to the 16th century and showcases a clay statue of Shiva adorned with a grand silver mask, symbolizing knowledge, productivity, and strength, as well as having a display of Gurkha weapons!  The Chilancho Stupa, a Buddhist shrine steeped in medieval history and adorned with Dhyani Buddha statues, stands on a stepped platform and offers a peaceful setting for contemplation.  The Taudaha Lake is a tranquil spot with a religious significance for locals. It is perfect for birdwatching and offers stunning sunrises.

Feeling active? Climb the hill to the Uma Maheshwar Temple, a three-storied pagoda-style masterpiece showcasing Lord Shiva and Parvati as its main deities from which are awe-inspiring panoramic views of Kathmandu valley and surrounding mountains. Or, embark on a the hike to Champa Devi Hill (2285m), through pine forests and witness stunning mountain views.

Go local: Delight your taste buds with authentic Newari cuisine at Newa Lahana, a quintessential dining experience where traditional dishes are served in a traditional setting.

Amidst all this is an intriguing history including fierce battles and peaceful protest, stories of a famous female warrior and a ton of hidden gems. So, what are you waiting for?

Kirtipur – Good to know:

To experience a Jatra.  The most well-known are the Indrayani Jatra in November and December, and Bagh Bhairab Jatra in August.

Mount Everest Views:

Not many people know that Mt Everest is visible from Kirtipur, okay, you have to climb a hill to get the view of it peeking out from behind Kang Nachugo in Rolwaling Hima, but still!

Where to Stay:

Being an urban centre, the Community Homestay Network  provide stays in individual rooms in homes with full, modern amenities, English-speaking hosts, and incredibly hospitable families.

Staying in Kathmandu? Try one of the CHN Experiences:

Discover Ranjana Lipi: Ranjana Lipi is a historic script indigenous to the Newar community. In this experience local specialists teach script writing on canvas paper using traditional bamboo pens and ink. Refreshments in the form of a traditional Newari drink, and a Newari food platter (Samay Baji) and the word of your choice transcribed in Ranaja Lipi given as a framed memento. 

Momo Making: Momos are synonymous with Nepali cuisine. Why not join the women of the Kirtipur Community Homestay and try your hand at making traditional Momos.  Chat with the ladies, learn about their lives and traditional food, make and sample these delicious warm dumplings. 

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