My favourite place: Kathmandu

In the June 2016 issue of BBC History Magazine, Yasmin Khan selects Kathmandu as her favourite place. History Extra caught up with her to find out more...

Nepal, Kathmandu Valley listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, Kathmandu, Swoyambhunath Stupa, Buddhist place of worship
Q: When did you last travel to Kathmandu and why were you there?
 
A: I last travelled to Nepal in 2013 while I was researching my book The Raj at War; I was there in particular to research the history of the Gurkhas during the Second World War. 
 
Q: Why do you love the location?
 
A: I love Nepal as it is so different to India and yet it shares many commonalities; the great contrasts across South Asia are fascinating. And the Himalayas really are like nowhere else on earth. 
 
Q: Which historical sight would you recommend and why?
 
A: The Gurkha Museum in Pokhara is well worth a visit.
 
I’d also recommend trying to eat some real Nepali thalis in Nepal and some authentic food, like dal-bhat from a roadside canteen or local restaurant. There are really good tourist restaurants offering everything from pasta and pizza to Chinese food, but you’ll really miss out if you don’t try what the locals eat.  
 
There are also some brilliant bookshops in Kathmandu such as Mandala Book Point and Pilgrims Book House. South Asian editions of books are cheaper than in the UK so leave space in your luggage.  
 
Q: Where else in the world would you most like to visit and why?
 
A: I’ve been lucky to have travelled extensively around South Asia and across the Indian and Nepali Himalayas but I’d love to go trekking to some of the mountainous parts of Pakistan, especially around the Karakoram. That will have to wait until the region is safer. 
 
Yasmin Khan is an associate professor of history at the University of Oxford.
 
You can read more about Yasmin’s experiences in Kathmandu in the June issue of BBC History Magazine.
 
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