The Naryanhiti Palace Museum is an important structure in the history, politics and society of Kathmandu, Nepal. It used to be the Naryanhiti Royal Palace where the monarchs and royal families used to reside until the monarchy collapsed. The name Narayanhiti refers to the Hindu deity Vishnu (Naryan) and a water spout (hiti) that can be found at the main entrance of the palace.
The palace was built as a contemporary pagoda in 1970 during the wedding of King Birenda Bir Bikram Shah. It replaced the old Royal Palace that used to be the royal residence of monarchs since 1915. The walled palace compound is so extravagant and huge, covering a total land area of 30 hectares, which is a stark contrast of the poverty that has beset and continues to hound the country. On June 1, 2001 the palace became witness to one of the most gruesome murders ever committed in the history of Nepal. The entire royal family, including King Birenda and Queen Aishwarya was murdered to the shock of the entire nation. It was dubbed as Nepal’s greatest tragedy, and it remains unsolved today. After the massacre, King Birendra’s brother, Gyanendra, became king, and his quick ascension to the throne has made the new king a likely suspect. On May 28, 2008, the newly elected assembly decided to finally form a new government. The assembly declared Nepal as a secular and inclusive democratic republic, dethroning King Gyanendra and converting the palace into the museum in 2009.
The tourism industry of Nepal has long been affected by the internal political conflicts. Not many tourists come here for safety reasons. Today, however, more and more curious travelers and religious pilgrims visit Nepal primarily for religious pilgrimage to the many ancient temples found within the Kathmandu Durbar Square and elsewhere in Kathmandu Valley and for sightseeing, most notably of the Himalayan mountain ranges and Mt. Everest. There are no beaches to boast of in Nepal since it is a landlocked country between China, India, and Tibet. The capital and largest city is the city of Kathmandu in Kathmandu Valley. Before Nepal opened its doors to international travelers, people from distant lands have heard about the beauty and gems in Kathmandu and has thought of it as the fabled Shangri-La.
In addition to the Naryanhiti Palace Museum, other leading attractions in the capital city are the following. The first is Swayambhu stupa, the largest, most revered and most sacred Buddhist stupas in Nepal. Another stupa that is similar in importance but not as large is the Boudha stupa. Both religious Nepali sites are always busy and crowded with tourists and devout Buddhists, as well as hawkers or street vendors and monkeys. Another important site, about 30 minutes away on foot from Swayambhu stupa, is the tourist district of Thamel. It is teeming with restaurants, hotels and other entertainment facilities for tourists.
There are so many temples and religious places in Nepal that tourists may have a hard time visiting all. One of the most important temples is Pashupatinath, a temple that is dedicated to Shiva, a major Hindu deity. Meanwhile, two of the most relaxing and peaceful places within the hectic and chaotic capital city are the Garden of Dreams ear Thamel and Budda Neelkanth, which is a sleeping Bhagwan Vishnu image that is surrounded by water.
Since the conversion of the royal palace into the Naryanhiti Palace Museum, people have flocked to see the splendid halls and surrounding tall bamboos and trees with huge fruit bats. Until today, the royal Throne and Crown as not put on display for security reasons, since they are considered two of the most important treasures of Nepal. The museum is open on weekdays.