Cultural Venues (Self Guided), Kathmandu

Kathmandu valley has been traditionally considered one of the greatest treasure houses of art. Its culture can be discovered by visiting the numerous stupas, temples and shrines. But there is much more to Kathmandu than just that. Listening to a Newari music performance or learning about Nepal by visiting a museum, will give you a cultural insight into the destination. Take this self-guided tour to understand and appreciate the cultural life of Kathmandu.
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Cultural Venues Map

Guide Name: Cultural Venues
Guide Location: Nepal » Kathmandu (See other walking tours in Kathmandu)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.5 Km or 4 Miles
Author: helenp
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • National Museum of Nepal
  • Natural History Museum of Tribhuvan University
  • Swayambhunath
  • Kalamandapa Institute of Classical Nepalese Performing Arts
  • Asa Archives
  • Dharmapala Thangka Center
  • NAFA Gallery
National Museum of Nepal

1) National Museum of Nepal (must see)

The National Museum of Nepal (Rashtriya Sangrahalaya) is a popular attraction of the capital city of Kathmandu. Being about a century old, the museum stands both as a tourist destination and historical symbol for Nepal. The main attractions are collection of historical artworks (sculpture and paintings) and a historical display of weapons used in the wars in 18-19th century. The museum has separate galleries dedicated to statues, paintings, murals, coins and weapons. It has three buildings - Juddha Jayatia Kala Shala, Buddha Art Gallery and the main historical building which consists of natural historical section (collection of different species of animals, butterflies and plants), cultural section and philatelic section.

The museum was established in 1928 and was then known as Chhauni Silkhana, literally meaning "arsenal museum". It was originally used to display firearms and weapons used in the glorious past of the war history of Nepal. It was opened to the public in February 1939. Until then only foreign scholars/dignitaries and invitees or guests could have a glimpse of the collection. The Art Gallery was opened in 1943. In 1967 museum was named as Rashtriya Sangrahalaya (literally "National Museum of Nepal").

Operation hours: Monday: 10:30 am - 2:30 pm; (Summer) Wednesday - Sunday: 10:30 am - 4:30 pm; (Winter) Wednesday - Sunday: 10:30 am - 3:30 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Natural History Museum of Tribhuvan University

2) Natural History Museum of Tribhuvan University

The Natural History Museum of Tribhuvan University has a rather extensive collection of stuffed animals, birds and fish. The exhibition hall has low ceiling and side rooms. The air is rather heavy with dampness and a chemical smell. Almost all the creatures are set in an aggressive attack or defense pose - baring their fangs, raising their wings.

3) Swayambhunath (must see)

Swayambhunath is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. It is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in parts of the temple in the north-west. For the Buddhist Newars in whose mythological history and origin myth as well as day-to-day religious practice, Swayambhunath occupies a central position, it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. For Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism, it second only to Boudhanath.

The Swayambhunath complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. A Tibetan monastery, museum and library are more recent additions. The stupa consists of a dome at the base, above which is a cubical structure painted with eyes of Buddha looking in all four directions with the word "unity" in the main Nepali dialect between them. There are pentagonal Toran present above each of the four sides with statues engraved in them. Behind and above the torana there are thirteen tiers. Above all the tiers there is a small space above which the Gajur is present.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Kalamandapa Institute of Classical Nepalese Performing Arts

4) Kalamandapa Institute of Classical Nepalese Performing Arts

Kalamandapa Institute of Classical Nepalese Performing Arts is situated at the Hotel Vajra, Dallu, Kathmandu. Every Tuesday, at 7 PM, you can admire traditional Nepali dances and theater. Every Sunday (and sometimes Friday) authentic Newari music shows and masked dances are performed. The admission ticket includes tea.
Asa Archives

5) Asa Archives

The Asa Archives are located in Kulumbbhula, Kathmandu. The historical importance of this archive is high because it preserves a large collection of old manuscripts. The oldest manuscript was written in 1464. Also not only handwritten books can be seen here, but also palm-leaf manuscripts, which are a delight for history lovers. The whole collection has over 7000 items.
Dharmapala Thangka Center

6) Dharmapala Thangka Center

Dharmapala Thangka Center is situated on Durbar Marg, near the south gate of the Royal palace. This is not only a shop, but also a showroom where you can admire the thangkas being painted. Thangka is a Tibetan art form. A thangka is a colorful image covered with a silk fabric that depicts a Buddhist deity, or a scene from the life of Buddha.
NAFA Gallery

7) NAFA Gallery

The NAFA Gallery is situated in the Sita Bhavan house, a neo-classical old Rana palace in the Naxal District. The building is adjacent to the Bal Mandir School. The gallery is operated by the Arts and Crafts Department of the Royal Nepal Academy. NAFA is divided into two galleries: the permanent Birendra Art Gallery, situated nearby, and a temporary gallery. The temporary gallery, situated in Sita Bhavan house, displays works of contemporary Nepalese artists.

Walking Tours in Kathmandu, Nepal

Create Your Own Walk in Kathmandu

Create Your Own Walk in Kathmandu

Creating your own self-guided walk in Kathmandu is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Kathmandu's Street Markets Tour

Kathmandu's Street Markets Tour

Kathmandu is a true heaven for shoppers, especially for the ones who are ready to explore street markets. In this city, markets are the place where you can buy quality products without wasting all your money - Monk's robes, soft silks, woolen garments, artifacts, etc. The list is truly endless. Unfortunately, in Kathmandu you are not allowed to buy authentic antiques, but you can purchase...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Tundikhel Tour

Tundikhel Tour

Tundikhel is one of the hidden treasures of Kathmandu. On this huge green field colorful festivals are held frequently. If you are not fond of festivals, you may explore important landmarks that are situated nearby - Bhimsen Stambha, complimented by the Sundhara fountains, Sahid gate, Bhadrakali Temple, etc. Take this self-guided tour to discover the prominent attractions of Tundikhel in...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Durbar Square Tour

Durbar Square Tour

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and the largest city in the country. It has a rich, nearly 2000 years old, history. Durbar Square translates into English as "Court Square". The Durbar Square of Kathmandu is located in the old city and is home to over 50 temples. Check out some of the most popular temples of Kathmandu on this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 Km or 0.3 Miles
Kathmandu Temples

Kathmandu Temples

The main religions in Kathmandu, as in the rest of Nepal, are Hinduism and Buddhism, although there are minorities of Kirats, Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, Bahaais, and Christians. Many Hindu temples in Kathmandu are centuries old and of great importance to Hindus. The Pashupatinath, Changu Narayan and the Kasthamandap temples are of particular importance for the capital of Nepal. We encourage you to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Specilaty Shops of Kathmandu Tour

Specilaty Shops of Kathmandu Tour

If you choose to do some upmarket shopping in Kathmandu, then specialty shops are the answer. Though the prices are slightly higher, service and quality is better. Of course, even here, you can't buy authentic antiques, but you can acquire some representative items: Newari items in bronze, brass and copper, Tibetan woolen garments, etc. Take this walking tour through Kathmandu's...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Pashupatinath Temple Tour

Pashupatinath Temple Tour

Pashupatinath Temple is situated near the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmnadu. The area in which it is located is truly picturesque - surrounded by virgin jungle. Though you may not be allowed to enter Pashupatinath, you can admire it from the other bank of the river, or you can visit some famous temples situated in this region. We encourage you to take the Pashupatinath temple...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles