Local traditions and culture in Kathmandu

  • Local Customs
    by call_me_rhia
  • Local Customs
    by babar_1
  • Local Customs
    by babar_1

Most Viewed Local Customs in Kathmandu

  • call_me_rhia's Profile Photo

    best views over the Himalayas

    by call_me_rhia Written Mar 13, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    For the best views over the Himalayas, as you fly into Kathmandu, choose a seat on the left of the plane, whereas when you leave the country book one on the right, especially if your flight is in the morning... unless you'll be flying towards China you will not see Mt Everest, but what you will get are amazing views over the Annapurma and other amazing peaks

    Was this review helpful?

  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    ROYAL KUMARI OF KHATMANDU

    by davidjo Updated Jul 10, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nepalese Hindus and Buddhists revere and worship the Kumari, who lives in Kumari Ghar, her palace in the centre of Kathmandu. Kumari means virgin and the girl is chosen from the Newari Shakya community via a rigorous selection procedure. Five buddhist priests will search for suitable candidates who have not lost any teeth, shed blood, or been seriously sick. Girls who pass the selection process are further examined to make sure that they possess the 32 perfections of a goddess, and must also have black hair, small hands and feet as well as well recessed sexual organs. Her horoscope is read and during the Dashain Festival 108 buffalo and goats are sacrificed to the goddess Kali, then severed the heads are illuminated while masked men dance around her but if she shows fear then another candidate is selected. She is then locked in a room with the severed heads during the night to prove she is fearless, then next morning she is shown objects then she must select the ones that belonged to the previous Kumari. She is then taken away by priests who perform sacred Tantric rituals before being paraded in a white cloth and installed in her new home, Kumari Ghar for the rest of her divinity. Her feet will never touch the ground as they are considered sacred, so she will be carried everywhere until her reign is over (when she reaches puberty) and returns to mortal life

    Was this review helpful?

  • euzkadi's Profile Photo
    3 more images

    Saddhus.

    by euzkadi Updated Oct 20, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When walking through Kathmandu and specially in religious places like Durbar, Patan or Pasupatinath is very common to find the Saddhus or holy men. A Saddhu or Sadhaka are ascetic people (some of then women) wich is doing Sadhara (a spiritual practice or spiritual way of life). They are devoted to one God but belongs to a particular face or form of the God. The vows that take includes: not having a family or a home, not work for money, not sleep in one specific place for more than three days. They are revered by their holiness but others are feared by their curses. In small towns they also intervene in conflicts between people.

    Was this review helpful?

  • euzkadi's Profile Photo

    Tuc Tucs.

    by euzkadi Written Oct 20, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I know that tuc tucs are a cheap and very good way of transport, specially in crowded cities like Kathmandu, but the drivers are really annoying; sometimes you´re walking along a row of them and every single driver is asking you Tuc Tuc Sir? Common sense if i say no to the first one that means that i don´t need one...at the beggining is Ok, but after hours saying no, it´s really a nightmare.

    Was this review helpful?

  • euzkadi's Profile Photo
    3 more images

    Cows.

    by euzkadi Written Oct 18, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As everybody knows Hinduist have worshiped cows since the earliest times of their civilization. Cows are sacred for some specifically reasons: Because they give milk (Kamadhenu a sacred cow gave it´s milk to Vishnu) , helps working as an excelent beast of burden, for reincarnation beliefs and maybe mostly because is the animal companion of Gods as Shiva (also some Gods reincarnations have the cows form). Anyway is funny to find these beasts wandering freely through main roads or main squares causing heavy traffic jams specially in small roads.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Flipboy's Profile Photo

    Cremation

    by Flipboy Written Jun 4, 2008

    Locals in Nepal Cremate the bodies of their dead. Along the river you will see this being done and the air will be filled with the smoke from the fires. Its quite an experience since most western cultures practice private death ceremonies and here it is in the city centre with man people hanging around.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Flipboy's Profile Photo

    Spinning the Wheel

    by Flipboy Written Jun 4, 2008

    All the Stupa's have the prayer wheel that are meant to be spun as you are walking the circle.

    If anyone has seen the movie The Golden Child, you know of this custom... "I.. I.. I.. I want da knife!"

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • WaRPer's Profile Photo

    Having someone coming over for Dal Bhat

    by WaRPer Written Apr 24, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It’s a great honor when someone ask you to come over for Dal Bhat (lunch or dinner) at his/her house. You can expect to have a huge metal plate full of rice, Dhat (bean soup), stir-fried veggie (usually potato and cauliflower “Aloo Gobi”), and some kind of red curry. Please finish all of that, or at least try your best! – It’s sometimes considered RUDE leaving your plate barely-touched or even half-full. If at all possible, try to eat with your hands; Silverwares may not be familiar in many households. (yeah! I mean for the normal local families – of course NOT those well-off, affluent ones) And the most important thing, it’s better to have your own bottle of water, or if they offer you some drinks, then let it be hot tea or coffee!!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    4 more images

    Wishing Buddha at Swyambhunath Temple.

    by goutammitra Written Oct 15, 2007

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There is a wishing Buddha at the entrance of Swyambhunath Temple. This is the side from where you buy tickets, not the long stairs. The locals along with many others throw coins which has to land at Buddha's feet. You have to make a wish offer prayer to Lord Buddha and then throw the coin in such a manner that it lands at his feet.

    Hey I was successful where as Munu & Rakhi could not land their coins at Buddha's feet. If you dont' believe it just do it for fun. It will cost you nothing only a few coins the money goes to Swyambhunath Temple development fund! You are not cheated.

    Was this review helpful?

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    4 more images

    Cremation of Bodies at Pashupatinath, Kathmandu.

    by goutammitra Written Oct 1, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In Hindu custom cremation of body is through burning only. It is considered holi and fortunate to be burned before the feet of Lord Shiva. In India or in Nepal burning of bodies are done on the banks of the river as it is believed that the soul reaches to God through the river. In Nepal, Hinduism is followed as in its original or ancient form. Before burning of the body the relatives dips his/her feet in the river , in belief that the soul will go to the Lord directly.

    The Hindus consider it fortunate to be burned before Lord Shiva. In India the custom is changing, all the rites are observed as per Hindu custom then the body is burned in a Crematorium, to conserve Firewood and to avoid air pollution.

    Was this review helpful?

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    4 more images

    Offering Puja( Prayer) to God.

    by goutammitra Written Sep 26, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nepal predominantly a Hindu country. Here you will find people are god fearing and most of the people are very honest. They offer regular prayer to the God they worship. It is customery to offer prayer to the God in the morning and in the evening. The life of the people of Kathmandu hovers araound Durbar Square. With its numerous temples in the vicinity people offer prayer whenever they get time.

    We also took this opportunity to offer prayer whenever we had the opportunity.

    Was this review helpful?

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    Cremation by the river

    by SLLiew Written Nov 7, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There were piles of wood over the body of a deceased waiting to be cremated by the fire pyre and the ashes scattered into the river water.

    It was a bit shocking to see a leg sticking out of the pile of wood but this is a local custom and everyone else is non-chalant about it.

    After all, life and death is just part of the cycle.

    Was this review helpful?

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    Turning the wheels of life

    by SLLiew Written Nov 7, 2006

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At some of the market square, there is a row of bronze wheels that can be rotated by running one hands over them.

    Observed that the locals will run over them as they walk by.

    Both Buddhism and Hinduism have similar roots and believe in reincarnation and obtaining good deeds and merits in this life.

    Was this review helpful?

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    Traditional Nepali Hat

    by SLLiew Written Nov 7, 2006

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It looks similar to the Nehru hat. Nepali men often wear this cotton and colorful hat.

    It looks a bit like the Malay songkok that is worn to the mosque and formal occasion.

    Perhaps they have similar origin. Just a guest.

    Was this review helpful?

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    Nepalese currency - rupees

    by SLLiew Written Oct 9, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nepalese currency is pegged to Indian currency.
    1.6 Nepalese rupee = 1 Indian rupee.

    1 USD = 73.4 Nepalese rupee.

    Coins:
    1, 5, 10, 25, 50 paisa,
    Rs 1, 2, 5, 10

    Bills:
    Rs. 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000

    Was this review helpful?

Kathmandu Hotels

See all 109 Hotels in Kathmandu

Latest Kathmandu Hotel Reviews

Soltee Crowne Plaza
1 Review & Opinion
Dwarika's Hotel Kathmandu
455 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 17, 2014
Tibet Guest House
130 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 23, 2014
Le Meridien Gokarna Forest Golf Resort
277 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 16, 2014
Hyatt Regency Kathmandu
613 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 14, 2014
Hotel Malla Kathmandu
88 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 14, 2014
Hotel Himalaya
116 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 25, 2014
Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu - Soaltee
371 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 14, 2014
Radisson Hotel Kathmandu
287 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 18, 2014
De L'Annapurna
204 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 12, 2014
Godavari Village Resort
21 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Feb 14, 2014
Hotel Manang
168 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 18, 2014
Elbrus Home
124 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 16, 2014
Kathmandu Guest House
504 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 15, 2014
Hotel Harati
20 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 10, 2013

Instant Answers: Kathmandu

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

96 travelers online now

Comments

Kathmandu Local Customs

Travel tips and advice posted by real travelers and Kathmandu locals.
Map of Kathmandu
Other Local Customs in Kathmandu