At times Thamel can be overwhelming. For anyone like you, Thamel has the first impression- the backpacker’s hub. For every trekker and mountaineer, Thamel serves as a one-stop destination. You can shop everything, literally everything, for your adventure to the Himalayas.
You can eat (national and international food items), sleep (at a budget hotel or luxury hotel), stroll, and dance (at the club) in Thamel for days or even weeks, and still, you cannot get enough of Thamel- it has a lot to offer you. You can have a coffee sitting on the patio, eat delicious pizza at Fire and Ice Pizza, or dig in from more than 250 Newari dishes. If you’re a dal-bhat lover like me, you can find many restaurants around the corner.
And if you’re someone who loves to explore every nook and cranny, Thamel will surely surprise you! That said, here are the top 7 places most people miss in Thamel.
Garden of Dreams
Garden of Dreams is a 76,000-square-foot neo-classical garden located at Kaiser Mahal, Kathmandu. It stands with Thamel, the most popular tourist hub in Kathmandu. Late Field Marshal Kaiser Sumsher Rana created the garden in the early 1920s and was considered as the most sophisticated private garden. The garden was designed in Edwardian style, supervised by Kishore Narshingh, who also designed the construction of Singha Durbar.
Within the garden walls, there is a beautiful water fountain, an amphitheater, a rotunda, decorated furnished woods, and European inspired features like Varandas, pergolas, and balustrades.
To enter and immerse in the beauty of this well-maintained and well-designed garden, you have to pay Rs. 200 (for foreigners and (Rs. 100 for Nepalis)). Don’t bother if you see couples canoodling together. This garden has long been a secret-place for privacy-deprived Nepali couples. That said, you can find many tourists and Nepali people relaxing in the grass-carpeted seating area. To escape the chaos of the city, many people visit this garden.
If you exit the Garden of Dream and walk a few steps to the right (crossing the road, (Tridevi Marg)), you can see Tridevi Temple. It is located opposite to the North Face stores. Tridevi means Three Goddesses (Tri= Three, Devi= Goddesses).
There are 3 temples dedicated to three goddesses: Dakshinkali, Manakamana, and Jawalamai. You can see some erotic carving at the top of the temples. You can find a small shop at the end corner, from where you can order tea and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the temple. Within the temple are a large metal bell and small temples.
Thamel can be chaotic at times, but Mandala Street is Magic! This street is truly spellbinding. Mandala Street is the only true traffic-free street in Thamel with an underground car park built at its center.
Mandala Street is another highlight of the Thamel area. The street is built with traditional Newari bricks and is adorned with Newari carvings and stone designs. The street is pedestrianized and hosts a number of stores, restaurants, cafes, and bars.
Kathmandu’s busiest market square, Ason or Asan, is crammed with shops selling everything from tea to yak tails, condiments to chicken, cup to cakes, clothes to chocolates, and everything imaginable. A swarm of pedestrians, two-wheelers, rickshaws, and sometimes even four-wheelers congest the streets of Asan. Visit Asan and surprise yourself with some classic photographs of busy alleyways, traditional markets, and temples and shrines.
6 narrow streets (Bhotahiti, Kamalachi, Nhai: katwa, Teuda, Balkumari, and Makhan: Galli) converge towards the market. In the southeast corner, you can see 3-storey Annapurna Temple. Wander around, and you will find shops selling vegetables, spice, and metalwares. This historic marketplace buzz from dusk till dawn. Remember, this market attracts shoppers and very few wanderers. If you can dodge the crowd, I can assure you that you will love to explore Ason.
Kaathe Swyambhu Shree Gha Chaitya
Kaathe Swyambhu Shree Gha Chaitya is a replica of Swayambhunath built in 1650AD. This popular Tibetan pilgrimage site is set in a courtyard surrounded by smaller chaityas inscriptions, statutes, old monasteries, and small souvenir shops. Legends have it that it was built as a substitute pilgrimage site for Swayambhunath.
Walk south of Thamel to visit Kaathe Swyambhu. It is within easy walking distance of Thamel and Kathmandu Durbar Square. Many tourists stumble upon this Stupa by accident on their way to Kathmandu Durbar Square. There are Shree Gaha Gumba, Sighe Bahal, and Hariti Shrine within the courtyard. If you are concerned about the entrance fee, good news!- There is no entrance fee.
The Dharmadhaatu Stupa
Dharmadhaatu Stupa is one of the least-visited stupas around the corner of Kathmandu valley. It is one of the places most people miss in Thamel. This small stupa stands in a large square between Thamel and Durbar Square, protected by a metal fence. This stupa dates back to the 15th century, built to hide a hiti (water source and spout).
This Buddhist stupa is located at Thanhity Chowk, surrounded by buildings and local vegetable markets. Not every tourist has explored this stupa. Admittedly, very few tourist-those who love to stroll- has come across this stupa and praised its beauty.
The public water spouts of Ga Hiti is one of the 7 places most people miss in Thamel. Legend has it that it was built in the Lichchhavi period. It is one of the 389 stone spouts found in Kathmandu Valley. Generally, Ga Hiti, a stone waterway, is a traditional stone drinking fountain, intricately carved, and reflects Nepali art and history.
It is a drinking water supply system created as a water resource. The water from the stone spouts flows uninterrupted. Local people use it for ordinary household purposes and purification of images of deities.
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