From National History To Architecture, Here Are 10 Museums To Visit In Kathmandu Valley

By: Bishesh Dhaubhadel  | | 4 Mins Jul 23, 2021

Kathmandu valley is filled with fun places to visit for everyone. For a city known as the epitome of modernization in Nepal, it doesn’t fall behind when it comes embracing the beauty of history.


If you just want to take a slow walk along corridors that echo the stories of the past, whether it be glorious battles or the daily lives of royalty; we’ve got you covered!


Here are 10 museums to visit in Kathmandu valley to relax and enjoy history’s finest memories.


National Museum of Nepal


Situated at the capital, The National Museum Of Nepal is a century old museum filled with historical artworks (sculptures and paintings) and historical weapons used in wars during the 18th to 19th century.


The museum is divided into three sections; the natural history section featuring  elusive flora and fauna, the philatelic section (Juddha Jayatia Kalashala) featuring old coins and stamps, and the cultural section (Buddha Art Gallery).


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Fun fact: The national museum is the largest one in Nepal, and it dates back to 1928 when it used to be known as Chhauni Silkhana, the mansion of then ruling prime minister, Bhimsen Thapa.


Taragaon Museum


The Taragaon Museum is definitely hard to miss if you come across it, or even its images.


Constructed in 1972, the Taragaon Hostel was designed by Australian architect Carl Pruscha. Over four decades after its construction, it was renovated and turned into a modernized museum.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Now known as the Taragaon Museum, it holds paintings, photographs, sculptures, maps, and many other artworks from the 18th and 19th century. All while being a specimen of iconic architecture itself.


The museum is best for people interested in the evolution of Nepalese traditions.


Narayanhiti Palace Museum


Created in 2008 from the former Narayanhiti Palace, the residence of former monarchs, the Narayanhiti Palace Museum in its entirety is a memento of the royal family in Nepal.


The museum comprises a total of 53 rooms, each named after the 75 districts of Nepal. The rooms of most significance being the Kaski Sadan, the reception hall for political proceedings, and the Gorkha Baithak, which hosts the king’s throne.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


The rest of the museum is filled with mementos of the royal family, portraits of Shah Kings, images of prestigious guests, and the essence of royal life in the country.


Patan Museum


One of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, The Patan Museum, is home to traditional sacred arts of Nepal.


Inaugurated in 1997 by Late King Birendra Bikram Shah, the Patan Museum hosts over 1,1000 artifacts, 200 of which are on permanent display. The artifacts date back to as far as the 13th century.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


The museum itself is built on an old residential court of Patan Durbar, one of the royal palaces of former Malla Kings. The museum is hard to miss if you're at Patan Durbar Square!


Natural History Museum


By its very nature, the Natural History Museum hosts quite different artifacts than the others on the list.

Established in 1975, the Natural History Museum is home to a variety of species ranging from algae and arthropods to giant reptiles and mammals. Each is preserved in a different manner. Some are stored in formaldehyde, while others are taxidermied. Of course, the museum is not meant for the faint-hearted.


Nevertheless, the museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the extraordinary biodiversity of Nepal.


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Fun fact: The Natural History Museum has specimens of an eight-legged goat embryo, a four-legged chicken, and a two-headed snake.


National Art Museum


Built in 1698 by Bhupatindra Malla, the National Art Museum, formerly the Simhadhwaka Durbar, is home to medieval and Lichhavi art and history.


The museum has a collection of manuscripts and chronicles which date back to the 11th century. The museum is also home to the ancient Paubha Scroll paintings, tantric cloth paintings, and stone and wooden artifacts.


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Inside the museum is also a depiction of Maha Sambhara, and portraits of all the Shah kings.


Military Museum


Built in the year 2000 by the Nepalese army, and officially opened to the public in 2005, the Military Museum is filled with original weapons, trophies, battle attires, and steel armours used in battles. The interior is also covered with endless paintings depicting the death and mayhem in the World Wars and wars fought against Tibetians.


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The exterior piques the interest of visitors with a line up of; Nepal’s first Rolls-Royce gifted by Queen Elizabeth II, a Skyvan transport plane, two personal tanks, and a few cannon launchers.


For anyone interested in the military history of Nepal, and in Nepal’s unification, the Military Museum is a must-visit.


Tribhuvan Museum


Built inside the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, residence of King Tribhuvan, the Tribhuvan Museum is filled with the personal belongings of the king. Some of the interesting items on display in the museum include; the king’s walking stick with a hidden sword inside, his ornate jewellery, the majestic throne, and portraits of the members of the royal family.


The palace itself, and its wooden carved architecture, took centuries to build after its construction began in the mid-17th century.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


As you walk in, you will also be met with a graceful statue of Lord Hanuman, the deity after whom the palace is named.


Mahendra and Birendra Museums


Built in the vicinity of the Tribhuvan Museum are the smaller Birendra and Mahendra Museums, named after the successors and kin of King Tribhuvan. Similar to the Tribhuvan Museum, the Mahendra and Birendra Museums include personal belongings of the two kings.


The Mahendra Museum includes poetry, literature, stamps, coins, and medals of the king. And the Birendra Museum contains weapons, gifts from foreign nations, coins, watches, and more items belonging to the kings.


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The museums provide visitors with a unique experience as they allow visitors to peek into the personal lives of the kings, and realize their personalities through their belongings.


Aviation Museum


Built from the remains of an Airbus 330-300 that crash-landed on the runway of the Tribhuvan International Airport, the Aviation Museum is something straight out of an aviation nerd’s dream.


The museum incorporates around 200 miniature aircrafts; including ones of planes flown in the World Wars, and the first plane by the Wright Brothers. Visitors can also see the plane’s cockpit with the flight recorder (black box) from the plane.


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Part of the tour includes a documentary on the aviation museum intended to express the significance of aviation to students and visitors.


What did you think about these must-visit museums inside Kathmandu valley? Tell us in the comments!

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