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Kathmandu as the economic center of Nepal

Temples and palaces, the suffocating smog and the smell of incense, the living goddess, the roar of klaxons, the whirlpool of people and a fairy-tale of colors – all this is the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. Emerged at the crossroads of trade routes in a wide mountain valley, the city in the Middle Ages was the seat of the Malla royal dynasty. Until 1951 its White Gate was closed to foreigners. But now Kathmandu is no longer a lost kingdom and even the sacred cows have to put up with the maddening traffic on the roads.

The terrible earthquake of 2015 divided Kathmandu’s history into “before” and “after. Today the city is recovering, but very slowly. Some sights no longer exist. In their place are fenced-off ruins and photos of the place before the destruction. But there is still something to see. Pashupatinath temple complex – the ancient shrine of Shiva, restored monkey temple Svayambunath, and raised from the ruins of the stupa Bodnath still attracts Buddhists from around the world.

Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city of Nepal, its cultural and historical center. Kathmandu lies in the mountain valley of the Himalayas, more than 1,300 meters above sea level, and it is home to more than 1 million people.

Kathmandu Valley is that rare place where you can see Hindu temples saturated with the trappings of Buddhism (prayer wheels, images of tantric gods, Vajrayana symbols). How Hinduism, which gave birth to the caste system, could coexist with Buddhism, which denies this system, is a big question. Perhaps the answer will be found by tourists visiting the amazing Nepalese temples and enjoying the beauty of this country.

Numerous tourists and pilgrims Kathmandu attracts numerous temple centers, monasteries, narrow streets, which do not change their appearance for centuries, and bizarre buildings, which combined the traditions of two religions – Buddhism and Hinduism. The sights of Kathmandu, together with the monuments of Patan and Bhaktapur, are unique and are included by UNESCO as one World Heritage Site, the World Heritage of the Kathmandu Valley.

Life in the Nepali capital is always lively. Crowds of people walk the streets and motorcycles and cars pile up in spontaneous traffic jams. You can constantly hear the honking of cars, bicycle rickshaws, whistles and the melodious tinkling of ritual bells. Tourists who have been to Kathmandu comment on the friendliness and smiling nature of its people.

The best time to visit the capital of Nepal are from March to April and October to November. At this time of year, travelers to Kathmandu are guaranteed cloudless skies and comfortable temperatures. In early spring and autumn, the most colorful Nepali festivals and celebrations such as Holi, Diwali, Shiva Night and Nepali New Year are also held here.

Climate of the city

The climate of Kathmandu, given the height of the city above sea level (1355 m) and the proximity of high mountains (the Himalayas and Tibet), is a subtropical monsoon. In winter, the winds blow from the mainland, but the mountains block the inflow of cold air masses from the north. As a result, the winds bring dry weather with huge daily variations (more than 15 °C), while in summer the monsoon comes from India and heavy precipitation falls. As a result, summers are sweltering and humid, but heat waves are rare.

Daily variations are much smaller. In winter, there are frequent frosts, but snowfall is quite rare. The average temperature in January (the coldest month) +10 ° C, June and July (the warmest months) +24.4 ° C.

Contribution to the economy

The location and topography of Kathmandu has had a significant impact on the development of the city. The city is located on the site of an ancient lake with fertile soil composition and smooth topography. These features contributed to the development of agriculture. The favorable microclimate and location on the ancient trade route between India and Tibet created the conditions for Kathmandu to become an important trading center. Traders from Kathmandu helped spread local artistic styles and Buddhism. Other traditional industries in Kathmandu include wood carving, metal casting, painting, weaving, and ceramics.

The combined product of the metropolitan region is $6.5 billion, or more than a third of Nepal’s GDP. Kathmandu exports

  • works of art,
  • handicrafts,
  • articles of clothing,
  • carpets,
  • pashmina,
  • papers;

Trade accounts for 21% of the city’s total income. Industry generates 19% of Kathmandu’s income. The most prominent exports are clothing and woolen carpets.

Other sectors of Kathmandu’s economy:

  • Agriculture (9%),
  • Education (6%),
  • Transport (6%),
  • Hospitality industry and restaurant business (5%).

Most workers are employed in services (trade, hospitality, catering, etc.), an important branch of which is foreign tourism (developed since the 1960s).

Kathmandu is the center of the main industrial area of the country (about 90 percent of the industrial potential of Nepal is concentrated within the Kathmandu Valley). Small enterprises are predominant:

  • Light industry [leather and foot-wear, textile (including cotton), jute, clothing, etc.],
  • food industry (including sugar industry),
  • pharmaceuticals (herbal medicine) industry;
  • Production of building materials (cement, brick, tile, etc.),
  • household chemicals;
  • repair-mechanical workshops.
  • Art crafts (manufacture of carpets, articles of applied art, jewelry etc.). 
  • In the outskirts of the city – the extraction of marble.


Kathmandu is the most important industrial and commercial center of Nepal. It is home to the Nepal Stock Exchange, the head office of the National Bank of Nepal, the Chamber of Commerce, and the offices of national and transnational banks, telecommunications companies, and other national and international organizations.

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