Capital of Nepal, situated on the Bagmati River. According to legends recorded in Hindu and Buddhist texts, in ancient times the entire Kathmandu Valley was a lake—a story given credibility by the type of alluvial soil found in the valley. The city of Kathmandu appears to have developed out of two small towns that grew partly because of the fertility of the soil and partly because a principal trans-Himalayan trade route passed through them. The limits of the two towns are still vaguely remembered in the designated routes and areas for such traditional cultural activities as chariot festivals and processions of an image of a local divinity.
In the Lichchhavi period (c.