Top 8 Art Galleries and Museums in Kathmandu

Every traveler is mesmerized by the beauty of Kathmandu. Undoubtedly, It is a nature’s paradise, a place of cultural and political revolutions, and a landmark of history. You’d find yourself in a state of pure bliss.  

But what people don’t acknowledge much about Kathmandu is how rich it is in terms of arts and has abundant historical collections with cultural significance. You’d not only have some visual feast but also be enlightened with historical knowledge, truly making your traveling experience to Kathmandu an insightful one. 

It’s easy to get hooked while visiting different places in Kathmandu. But these top art galleries and museums in Kathmandu deserve your equal attention.

Top Art Galleries and Museums that You must visit in Kathmandu

museums in kathmandu

1. Nepal Art Council

Nepal art council is a non-profit art gallery in Nepal. It has been working since 1962. So, you’d get access to some good old Nepali artifacts that have lived throughout history.

In its early days, this art gallery was promoted and supported by the state and King Mahendra (then King)acted as a trustee. Later it transitioned into a service-oriented, non-profit, and non-governmental organization. 

Earlier, the art gallery was heavily concentrated on modern art. However, they have changed into different forms of art such as traditional art, folk art, novel art, and many more. 

They feature visual arts in the form of painting, sculpture, photography, installations, and mixed media artworks. They also promote folk arts such as traditional crafts, woodwork, metalwork, pottery, and mask-making. 

For an art museum in Nepal that paved the way for traditional architecture, they have remained open to experimentation with performing arts and organized seminars and workshops about various art forms. 

  • Location: Babarmahal, Kathmandu
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Opening hours: 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

2. Patan Museum

The museums in Nepal literally embody the word ‘’art’’ like no other. And Patan Museum is no exception. 

The Patan Museum falls under a world heritage site. So, you bet you’ll be on the journey for some exquisite art collections.

Patan Museum is located within the compound of Keshav Narayan Chowk of Patan Durbar Square courtyard. You’ll get to see around 300 artifacts on display. As this museum had to withstand the earthquake, Nepal Government and Austrian governments were involved in restoring this place. 

The museum embodies the long cultural history of Nepal and displays objects that hold significance for both Hinduism and Buddhism. The displayed objects include cast bronzes and gilt copper repousse work and traditional crafts. 

The Patan Museum Cafe managed by the Summit Hotel, Kathmandu perfectly complements the architecture of this art museum and provides a great place to enjoy some traditional and Western cuisines. So, you can eat the different cuisines of Kathmandu.

 The museum also has a gift shop where you can buy unique handicrafts and take them as a souvenir. 

  • Location: Patan, Lalitpur
  • Entry Fee: Rs.1000 for foreign visitors, Rs. 250 for SAARC citizens 
  • Opening hours: 10 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.

3. Taragaon Museum

If your museum experience is all about calmness, this art museum in Nepal is a must. Taragaon Museum is a breath of fresh air when it comes to architecture in Kathmandu. 

Tarragon Museum was originally built as a hostel for visiting artists and scientists and was later abandoned in the 1990s. The hotelier and philanthropist Arun Saraf took the initiative of restoring this place and collaborated with Austrian architect Carl Pruscha to create a unique architecture. 

It differs from the typical architecture in Kathmandu and has a minimalist and simple layout. The Taragaon Museum proudly boasts of displaying 50 years of research and cultural heritage conservation efforts of foreign artists, photographers, architects, and anthropologists in the Kathmandu Valley.

So, it’s an honest attempt to show the untold story of Kathmandu.   

 The museum features drawings, sketches, paintings, and other important documents that capture the history of Kathmandu. You’ll find dark red bricks all over the museum’s design representing a tribute to the dachi appa brick structures that are found in Kathmandu.

There is a barrel-vaulted style room inspired by the classic temple architecture. 

  • Location: Boudanath Sadak, Kathmandu
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Opening hours: 10 A.M. to 5 P.M (closed on Saturday and public holidays)

4. National Art Gallery

The list of art museums in Kathmandu doesn’t get complete without mentioning the National Art Gallery. National Art Gallery is a museum that takes you on the journey of medieval as well as Lichhavi art and history. 

Located within the heart of Bhaktapur Durbar Square, this art gallery in Nepal was formed by the Nepal Government’s Department of Archaeology in 1960. The core idea behind it was to preserve and showcase Nepalese traditional paintings. 

You’ll discover palm-leaf manuscripts, Tantric cloth paintings, and metal, bronze, stone, and wooden artifacts that date back to the 12th century. You’ll also find a stone art section on the ground floor, which exhibits stone sculptures, and inscriptions and showcase stone art from the early medieval through medieval periods. 

Before entering the National art gallery, you’ll be required to pay for the ticket. But these tickets will also let you access the other two museums namely the Wood carve museum and the brass and bronze museum. 

  • Location: Bhaktapur Durbar Square 
  • Entry Fee: Rs.150 for foreign visitors and Rs, 50 for SAARC nationals 
  • Opening hours: 10 A.M. to 4 P.M(until 3 P.M. on Friday and closed on public holidays)

5. Chhauni Museum

Chhauni Museum is an unconventional art museum in Kathmandu. This is because it started out as an arsenal house. It was popular with the name ‘’Chhauni Silkhana’’, which translates to ‘’the stone house of arms and ammunition’’.

Expect plenty of military artifacts at Chhauni Museum. 

You’ll find substantial historical artworks such as sculptures, paintings, and weapons used in wars in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is the largest museum in Nepal. So, you can expect it to be a bit bigger, thereby giving you more time to explore this place.

This museum has 3 major buildings namely the Historical Museum Building, the Buddhist Art Gallery, and the Juddha Jayatia Kala Shala. They also feature a variety of animal, butterfly, and plant species.

 The cultural section of the museums showcases traditional attire, musical instruments, and images of Nepali people in their daily lives. 

  • Location: Museum Marg, Kathmandu
  • Entry Fee: 150 for foreign visitors and Rs. 50 for SAARC citizens
  • Opening Hours: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM(from Wednesday to Sunday) and 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM(Monday)

6. Siddhartha Art Gallery

Amidst all the traditional art museums in Kathmandu, Siddhartha Art Gallery stands as a unique art gallery in Nepal. This gallery has positioned itself as a place for contemporary art to thrive in Nepal. 

Sangeeta Thapa and Shasikala Tiwara formed this gallery as a meeting point for national and international artists. The gallery has conducted over 500 exhibitions over 35 years. 

The gallery takes its name from Siddhartha Gautam, the birth name of Lord Buddha, representing the connection between art and spirituality in Nepali culture. They have successfully featured many artists from India, Pakistan, The Netherlands, and Bangladesh to name a few. 

So they’re staying true to their motto. They’re also active in organizing art-related events, workshops, and seminars and have passionate and knowledgeable gallery curators’ and staff, which eases your art gallery experience. 

Siddhartha art gallery has also been working as a great platform for upcoming artists to showcase their work.

  • Location: Tanka Prasad Ghumti Sadak, Kathmandu
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Opening Hours: 11 A.M. to 5 P.M

7. Museum of Nepali Art(MoNA)

The Museum of Nepali Art is a custom-built gallery displaying a diverse range of artwork in various media each with unique themes. 

The founder of this museum, Rajan Shakya established this art museum in Nepal to support and showcase the work of developing Nepali artists as well as established Nepali masters.

You’ll be delighted with arts in contrasting Western styles in a local cultural context. Accompany a  guided tour as they’re great at explaining the history and essence of the artwork. 

The museum has subdued lighting, and an elegant interior, and embodies a modern yet traditional theme to it. The walls have contemporary arts that incorporate style and techniques from golden prints of Kathmandu’s temples to colorful acrylic abstracts.

There is even a painting that reimagines Mona Lisa as a cancer survivor. The thing that sets MoNa different from the rest of the museums in Nepal is that it not only displays art but also the work and resources that go behind it.

This museum has been a credible source of information for the reconstruction after the 2015 earthquake. 

  • Location: Tanka Prasad Ghumti Sadak, Kathmandu
  • Entry Fee: Rs.700 for foreign visitors and Rs. 500 for Nepali
  • Opening Hours: 11 A.M. to 6 P.M  

8. Nepal Academy of Fine Arts 

Next on the list of museums in Kathmandu, we have the Nepal Academy of Fine Arts. This art gallery has been a go-to place for all artists, art critics, and art researchers in Nepal. 

It was established on April 13th, 2010. You’ll find a wide range of art such as paintings, sculptures, handicrafts, folk art, architecture, traditional art, contemporary art, alternative art, video art, performance, and installation art here. 

This museum is a repository of artworks throughout history and a priceless source of knowledge about both traditional and modern art. It organizes national and international art exhibitions and also lets aspiring Nepali artists showcase their work. 

Nepal Academy of Fine Arts promotes art education by providing various grants and scholarships. So you know you’re in a great place of art admires. 

  • Location: Naxal, Kathmandu 
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Opening hours: 10 A.M. to 5 P.M

Kathmandu has withstood so many things that it’s a lot to process for anyone. This is why art and history collection is crucial to remind everyone of its great resistance and showcase its true beauty. So, don’t miss out on these top art galleries and museums in Kathmandu and enlighten yourself with its real narrative.