Thamel originally called Thabahi or Thabahil is an ancient new settlement named after Bhagwan Bahal, a Vajrayan Buddhist monastery built during the Lichhavi period around the 3rd and 4th Century. It was a learning center for Buddhists during those ancient days. It is said to have been built by Singha Sartha a local trader who frequented between Kathmandu and Lhasa, Tibet.
Ancient Kathmandu was divided into "Thaney" and "Koney". Thaney means upper Kathmandu which is north of Kasthamandap and Koney means lower Kathmandu which is south of Kasthamandap. Thabahi, hence, means the Vihar in upper Kathmandu. Some Newas still address it as Thabahi.
Bhagwan Bahal has many names because of its rich history but it is most popularly known by this name. The Bahal houses a 2000 page 900 years old Buddhist scriptures called Pragyaparmita written in gold. It also houses ancient big grain and small grain rice from the time of King Amshuverma who reigned during the 6th Century. Special rituals of maintaining the scriptures are held during the leap years.
There is also a Lichhavi period stone spout, behind the Amrit Science College, that still serves the locals, Opposite the Bhagwan Bahal is Chhaya Center with its modern shopping complex, in-house movie theaters and an international chain Hotel.
Thamel gained popularity with tourists after the Hippie movement waned in the mid 1970s when the government cracked down, under pressure from the US government.
Jhochhen, then popularly known as Freak Street, lost its importance. Kathmandu Guest House pioneered the tourist hotel bringing a new breed of budget tourists, Thamel today is a must stay place. One of the boutique hotels in Kathmandu, “The Hotel Roadhouse”, newly built in neoclassical new architecture, is situated at the heart of an exciting Thamel.
Thamel today is a popular destination with numerous restaurants serving a wide range of international cuisine, well stocked bars, cafes that have newly herded a coffee drinking culture in city dwellers, a vibrant night life with thumping night clubs, wall climbing gyms, hundreds of souvenir shops, hotels and guest houses that meet your budget.
Roadhouse Hotel invites you to experience ancient Thabahi and relish modern day Thamel.You have not experienced Kathmandu if you have not visited Thamel