There was a plaque inside Kasthamandap that dated to 1048 which is enough to have made it one of the oldest buildings in Nepal. Kathmandu’s name is most likely derived from this temple due to its proximity between two ancient villages (Yambu and Yangala) that when merged formed the city.
Sadly Kasthamandap was completely destroyed during the April 25th earthquake in Nepal. Current bickering between the local municipality and the department of archeology have hampered its reconstruction.
Kasthamandap was not consecrated so it’s never been a temple. It is in fact a rest house which was converted into a shrine for Gorakhnath in 1379. Gorakhnath is depicted via the central orange colored statue inside.
Do take a walk through and around the building as there's a small market and a priests house nearby..
Did you know?
Gorakhnath was a 10-11th century yogi. He is also where the Gurkhas of Nepal get their name.
In December 2021 reconstruction of Kasthamandap was completed. Most of the reconstruction was done using traditional methods. However this was only due to community intervention as officials wanted a fast paced concrete approach that locals objected to. It is free to enter Kasthamandap and walk around. Aside from Gorakhnath statue and the tablet from the 11th century there were four smaller shrines to Ganesh. The second floor is often closed off but houses more smaller shrines.
Reconstruction of the building remains a difficult issue dating back to 2015 when the building completely collapsed. This included local people living in the area and the department of archeology who questioned that the use of metal poles had damaged the ground around it as order by the municipality.
The wood carvings along the buildings struts were of particular note for their craftsmanship and have been recreated using new and original wood. Again, the fact the wooden building had no metal reinforcement yet stood for so long is a testament to its original construction or legend.
There is a save Kasthamandap Facebook page which is highlighting the local struggle to save the building from bad reconstruction. This among other efforts have resulted in the building being reconstructed using traditional methods as per the desire of the local residents.
A walk around Kasthamandap is also recommended as all around the site are various stalls. To the front flowers are sold while to the rear fish and vegetables are sold. To the rear is also a bizarre door that leads to tantric priests house.
There was no entrance fee to enter Kasthamandap as it came under the general fee for Kathmandu Durbar Square.
From Thamel head straight south to Kathmandu Durbar Square. You can walk along a Kathmandu city heritage walk to make the most of the journey there. In Kathmandu Durbar Square the construction site of Kasthamandap is located in the south west.
Map to Kasthamandap
Heritage walk guide:
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