Kathmandu : The capital and largest metropolis of Nepal, with a population of around 2.5 million. Kathmandu Valley is growing at 4 percent per year according to World Bank in 2010, one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in South Asia, and the first region in Nepal to face the unprecedented challenges of rapid urbanization and modernization at a metropolitan scale. Kathmandu, also known as the city of temples, with one of the oldest Pagodas known as Pashupatinath Temple, stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 feet) above sea level in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley in central Nepal. The valley is historically termed as "Nepal Mandala" and has been the home of Newar people, a cosmopolitan urban civilization in the Himalayas foothills. The city was the royal capital of the Kingdom of Nepal and hosts palaces, mansions and gardens of the Nepalese aristocracy. It has been home to the headquarters of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) since 1985. Today, it is the seat of government of the Nepalese republic established in 2008 and is part of the Bagmati province. Kathmandu is and has been for many years the centre of Nepal's history, art, culture, and economy. It has a multi-ethnic population within a Hindu and Buddhist majority. It is also the home of the Newars. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Tourism is an important part of the economy. In 2013, Kathmandu was ranked third among the top ten upcoming travel destinations in the world by TripAdvisor, and ranked first in Asia. The city is the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas and home to several world heritage sites: Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and Pashupatinath. Historic areas of Kathmandu were severely damaged by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April 2015. Some of the buildings have been restored and some are in the process of reconstruction until now.
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