Kirtipur is one of several, painstakingly restored Newari villages in the Kathmandu Valley. Located on a 1,400-meter high crest of a small hill chain, the city offers beautiful views: to the north you can see the urban sprawl of Kathmandu with the Himalayas rising up behind and to the south, the sparsely populated hill country spreads to the horizon. Despite its proximity to the capital, Kirtipur gets only very few visitors, but on the other hand, it would be wrong to describe the village as “sleepy”. The nearby Tribhuvan University brings a surge of young people to the town, many of whom have rented houses here. Rites, as well as customs, are kept alive by the population and give a deep insight into Newari culture. Kirtipur is actually considered to be one of the oldest human settlements in the Kathmandu Valley and the descendants of these early settlers to this day hold on to their own, distinct language and their unique norms and values.
If you follow the pedestrianized cobbled streets, you will see the typical brick houses with wooden balconies. Often, the inhabitants of Kirtipur can be seen sitting on the front steps of houses and stores, some of them just socializing, while others are busy with household chores, such as peeling garlic or doing the laundry. Everywhere, you will encounter smaller or larger stupas, statues, temples and monasteries. One of the most striking is the Hindu Uma Maheshwor temple, perched on the highest point of the city with his three-tiered pagoda rising majestically into the sky. The steep steps up to the entrance are guarded by two stone elephants, their backs protected with metal spikes to fend off the ever present and constantly metabolizing pigeons. Other points of interest include the Bagh Bhairab temple, dedicated to a god in the form of a tiger, the Chilancho Stupa on the southern hill and the Shri Kirti Bihar, a Buddhist monastery built at the entrance to the city.
Please note that the village of Kirtipur suffered very severe damages from the earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks in Nepal
in late April and early May 2015. The main streets in the village have been reported as completely destroyed and dozens of residents were left homeless. Authorities have said they will do all they can to restore historic and cultural sites in Nepal and are assessing the extent of the damages.
Kirtipur Village is located about 5 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu, a drive which can take about 45 minutes from the city center, depending on traffic. It is possible to get there by taking a bus to the Tribhuvan University stop and from there, the entrance to the town is only a short walk up the hill. The most comfortable way to get there though is by taxi.