NEPAL. Kathmandu: Even though Nepal is a tiny country, it has 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites. And 7 of the 10 World Heritage sites of Nepal are in and around Kathmandu within a 20 KM radius. This makes Kathmandu a city with the highest number of World Heritage Sites, welcoming you to experience an enthralling repository of Nepalese art, history, culture, and tradition all around in the Kathmandu valley.
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The Newari Caste, a mix of Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Burman ethnicities is dominant in the Kathmandu Valley. They are the historical inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley and are the architects of its historic heritage. Newaris proudly retain their Vedic culture and maintain their ancient social structure, which has over time assimilated with local cultures and given rise to modern Newar civilisation.
Newari caste is famous for its artistry, amazing architecture, sculpting, painting, wood carving, pottery making, etc. These can be experienced at the three famous Durbar Squares. The detailed work, wood carvings, and others are absolutely incredible.
The World Heritage sites in Kathmandu which can be explored for the Newari experience are Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, and Kathmandu Durbar Square.
The best way to experience is to hire a local professional Newari guide who will help you go around and interact with local Newar people at the sites, and also at their homes.
Visit Patan, and enjoy going around numerous heritage sites, handicraft centers, monasteries, Hindu temples, and Buddhist shrines; each reflecting the history, culture, and religions of the Newaris.
Sites not to miss at Patan: Patan Durbar Square, Patan Museum, Golden Temple, Mahaboudha Temple, and the Kumari Chhen, where the Living Goddess of Patan lives.
Visit the beautiful city of Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon and Khwopa in Newari.
Bhaktapur, an ancient royal city with outstanding architectural monuments was the largest of the three Newar kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley and was the capital of Nepal during the great Malla Kingdom.
Don’t miss, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Museum, Potters’ Square, and the five-story Nyatapola Temple. Don’t miss out on trying the amazingly tasty ‘Juju Dhau’, or the king curd, Bhaktapur’s famous yogurt.
Newari Homestay: Also visit nearby villages and experience Newari houses, and their daily living styles and maybe learn to cook with Newari females, its best way to experience the culture by staying at a Newar homestay.
Newari Food: While at the Durbars, experience and purchase beautiful Newari art and crafts, and also enjoy delicious Newari cuisine including Samay Baji, a popular Newari dish; a plate full of a variety including bara (bread), beaten rice, potato curry, soybeans, boiled egg, and very spicy meat.
You can also try Haku Choila, grilled buffalo meat, Chatamari, the Newari version of pizza, Yomari, a dumpling with a sweet filling, Bara, a savory bread (Nepali pancake), Kwati, a five bean soup/curry and Chang, rice wine.
Learn Newari names of the popular tourist sites in the valley, for example, Patan’s Newari name is Yala. Patan is also called Lalitpur, which means the ‘City of Living Art’.
Dress like a Newar: Try on a traditional Newari costume and get yourself photographed for memory.
Indulge in Newari festive moods held in the Kathmandu Valley throughout the year. You might be lucky to have one coincide with your travel dates. Some of the festivals that fall during the tourist season are: Mha Puja, held in November is dedicated to oneself and is called maha puja or “self-worship day,” Gai Jatra, the “cow festival,” held in September/October is to remember a family member passed away in a calendar year, Indra Jatra, I September is to mark the beginning of Autumn and the upcoming festivals of Dashain and Tihar.