Old Kathmandu, the most flocked area in Nepal, entails narrow alleys and temples to the immediate north and south of the Central Darbar Square. The neighbourhoods of Indrachowk, Asan and Chhetrapati are always bustling with activities from early dawn to late in the night. A striking architectural feature one witnesses in Kathmandu is that of “bahal” which is a set of buildings joined at right angles encircling a central courtyard. The Bahals used for residential purposes currently were originally monasteries.
The northern part of the Darbar Square has a multitude of temples and statues while the southwestern end of the Darbar Square is the Kasthamandap. The name “Kathmandu” is believed to be have been derived from Kasthamanadap. Indrachowk a unique “Pote” bazaar where these “Pote” are created by Muslims but adorned by married Hindu women. One comes across the Machindra Bahal temple, a place of worship for both Hindus and Buddhists while walking ahead from Indrachowk. The Annapurna temple and Ason chowk are further ahead from the Machindra bahal temple. Walking through Tyoda and Thahiti, one reaches Thamel. A walk from Naya Bazaar to Asan to Durban Square to the Monkey temple is a sheer joy to experience the bustling markets in the narrow lanes that offer various opportunities of bargaining for frenzied shoppers. Many hotels and restaurants can be found in Chhetrapati.
From a variety of cafes and restaurants to lots of bargaining avenues, the charm of Old Kathmandu is something that cannot be missed by someone who is keen on experiencing the true chaotic yet colourful lifestyle of the Nepali people woven together through faith, trade and culinary delights. The narrow alleys all around the Central Darbar Square are a must-visit to immerse oneself in the vibrant culture of Old Kathmandu, a true Slow Travel to Nepal.