Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kathmandu is said to have been founded by king Gun Kamdev in AD 723. According to legend, the area was a lake in the past, but the Hindu god Manjushri cut open a hill to the south and allowed the water to flow out, making the region habitable. The origin of the present name is unclear, but one of the more likely theories is that it was named after Kastha-Mandap ("temple of wood" in Sanskrit), after a pagoda carved from the single tree on the order of King Lakshmi Narasingha Malla in 1596.
The old city is noted for its many Buddhist and Hindu temples and palaces, most dating from the 17th century. Many of these landmarks have been damaged by earthquakes and pollution. Seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites are in this valley.
Kathmandu has been popular with western tourists since the 1960s when it became a key stop on the hippie trail.
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