The alternative Kathmandu
If this is your second visit to Kathmandu you may be in need of a few thoughts to explore the city further, understand it more, so you don’t just have a quick stay before shooting off to Pokhara, Solu Kumbhu etc. If this is your first visit then we hope to help you get more out of your trip and get out of the mainstream rather than following the hordes every day to Swayambhu, Pashpatinath or Durbar Square.
#5 Kirtipur’s Lost Noses!
If you visit only one town outside of the ring road encircling Kathmandu then make it Kirtipur. Another -pur to add to your list of Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, and Kantipur but do you know the derivation of the part-word?
Originally another Newar city until the unification by Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1767, its history dates back to 1099 AD when it was part of Lalitpur. Now with a population of around 67,000 it is also a university town with a large proportion of student residents.
But it is the historical background and architectural features that should draw you here: The brickwork of the buildings and streets, the Buddhist stupa of a particular shape distinct from many in Kathmandu, the embedded Newari culture so visible in clothing, language, food, artefacts and ceremony, the clean environment surrounded by farmland tended by Jyapu, and on clear days a view of hills and mountains.
Don’t just take my word for it, look now below and see for yourself!
There is one piece of history regarding Kirtipur you should know about.
In 1767, Kirtipur was annexed to the Gorkhali kingdom by Prithvi Narayan Shah following the Battle of Kirtipur. He conquered the town on his third attempt, after entering it by trickery. After this, he cut off the nose of the people (both male and female) of over 13 years age in the city.
The people of Kirtipur never forgot this and in 2006 Kirtipur was the site of an inspirational peaceful demonstration in the mass uprising that overthrew the powers of king Mahendra. It is considered to be an anti-monarchy city due to its bitter history against the Shah dynasty.
The town has its own news and tourist website which you can view here Our Kirtipur. We do hope you will visit, remember to bargain hard for a good taxi fare and get them to wait a few hours for your return. You’ll be surprised at how cheap it can be!