Kathmandu is so much bigger than I expected. With over one million inhabitants, this is by far the biggest city in Nepal. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) in the bowl-shaped valley in central Nepal surrounded by four major hills. [A bit like Sheffield, but with more yellow.] Nepali is the most widely spoken language, with Nepali Bhasa spoken by the older generation. English is commonly spoken and many of the educated residence will be able to help you. What I find really great, is that the city has more than one name, depending on you you speak to. In daily use, the locals refer to it as Yen, but its medieval name was Kantipur. [Kanti is the Sanskrit word for the Goddess Lakshmi, and pur means place.]
The current name of the city is oddly named after the magnificent wooden pavillion, Kasthamandap in Durbar Square.
I head towards the old town area of the city and visit Durbar Square, which represents the four old kingdoms of Kantipur, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Kirtipur. The Kasthamandap pavilion is fabulous, with its large peaks and supported roofs. The old town was mostly developed during the 1500s and widely influenced by the Hindu and Buddhist teachings.
Today, a Nepalese man became the smallest man in the world. 72 year old Chandra Bahadur Dangi measures just 21.5 inches (54.6 cm). Not only does he tell the officials that he has never taken any medication, he also declares that he has never been examined by a doctor before. It is unbelievable that he first left his village, Reemkholi in Dang district, some 217 miles from Kathmandu, just five years ago. This is is first visit to the capital.
I found a market where I could buy a few things for the camper and had something to eat at lunch in the Thamel House restaurant and then made my way to my hotel. I ‘booked’ a standard room for £40 at the Hotel Vaishali. It’s a little business-like, but otherwise fine for one night. The hotel has a car park, which is where my lovely camper goes for the night. After a quick meal in the restuarant, I went to my room to plot tomorrow’s journey. Getting to Kathmandu is a little out of the way for a truly round the world attempt, but the fact that I am finding that Google maps does not always offer the best routes, due to lack of data, I retire to my room to see where I need to get to tomorrow.