Situated a top a small hill, Kirtipur is a picturesque town. It is an ancient town that was established in the 12th century. The name Kirtipur comes from Kirti (glory) and pur (city). Kirtipur is 5 km southwest of Kathmandu. Kirtipur is one of the five municipalities in the valley, the others being Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Madhyapur Thimi.
It consists of many temples, gumbas (Buddhist monastery) and churches too. Due to the presence of Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur is also a popular area for out-of-town students and professors to rent houses and they are major contributors to the local economy.
To reach Kirtipur, you can take a bus from Bus park (Kathmandu) or Lagankhel (Lalitpur).
Kirtipur was the territory of Lalitpur at the time of invasion of the Kathmandu Valley by the then King Prithivi Narayan Shah in the 18th century. Kirtipur was annexed to the Gorkhali Kingdom in 1767 by the Gorkhali King Prithivi Narayan Shah. He was successful to win over Kirtipur on the third attempt. After the battle, he cut off the noses of able bodied men in the city.
This was the site of an inspirational peaceful demonstration of the people in the 2006 mass uprising that overthrew the powers of the king. It is considered to be an anti-monarchy city due to its bitter history against the Shah dynasty whose modern founder conquered the city insultingly, which was followed by negligence of the administration and development by subsequent rulers.
Built in the Medieval Period, Chilancho Stupa is situaded on the southern hills of Kirtipur. An inscription of Nepal Sambhat 635 was found in this Buddhist Shrine. Hence it is one of the important historical stupas in Kirtipur.
Uma Maheshwar is the pagoda-style three-storied temple is situated at the highest point (1414 m) of Kirtipur. Locally it is known as Kwacho Dega. One can enjoy picturesque view of the Kathmandu valley and mountains like Langtang, Dorge Lakkpa, Chobhu Bhamure, and Gaurishankar from the territory of the temple.
The temple was constructed in 1655 A.D. by Rautra Vishwanath Babu, a son of King Sidhhi Narsimha Malla. It was destructed in an earthquake in 1832 A.D. After remained dilapidated for about a century, it was restored in 1933 AD after it was again destroyed by an earthquake. Local people and government made a herculean effort to renovate it into the current state. The restoration process was completed only in 1982 A.D.
A Theravada Buddhist monastery built in traditional Thai architectural style is situated near the entrance to the city.
Dedicated to the God Bhairav, one of the terrifying and awful forms of Lord Shiva, Bagh Bhairav Temple is one of the most popular temples in Kirtipur. Local people call it as Ajudeu (a grandfather God) and it is also regarded as the guardian of Kirtipur.
The local peoples hail this deity as the embodiment of prudence, knowledge, productivity and strength to resist all evils. Hence, ceremonial rituals in relation to the important events of life such as rice-feeding, puberty, marriage and even the construction of houses cannot be done without propitiating this deity in most of the towns and cities of Nepal.