Kathmandu (काठमाण्डु) is the largest city and capital of Nepal and the namesake of the Kathmandu Valley. Once thought to be the fabled and inaccessible Shangri-La, Kathmandu is now a hub for independent travelers as well as a growing vacation spot catering to all budgets. As a result of considerable urban growth in recent decades, it is now part of one continuous urban area together with Patan to the south.
The valley is made up of the Kathmandu District, Lalitpur District and Bhaktapur District covering an area of 220 square miles(almost the area of Singapore). The valley consists of the municipal areas of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Lalitpur Submetropolitan City, Bhaktapur municipality, Kirtipur Municipality and Madhyapur Thimi Municipality; the remaining area is made up of a number of Village Development Committees. The valley is a cultural and political hub of Nepal. The Kathmandu valley was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1979.
The major river flowing through the Kathmandu Valley is the Bagmati.
See also: History of Kathmandu