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For many centuries, Nepal was cut off from the outside world. Initially it was ruled by the Mallas but dynastic squabbles allowed Prithivi Narayan Shah to establish his Kingdom in Kathmandu. However during his tenure, a young army general, Jung Bahadur Rana usurped power from the monarchy and established himself as the Prime Minister, with the title of Maharaja and powers superior to those of the sovereign. The Rana regime lasted for 104 years (1846-1951) and contributed to the country's ornate neo-classical palaces replete with a grandeur lifestyle accumulated during Jung Bahadur's travels abroad.
In the year 1885 A.D, Bir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, one of the most distinguished of the powerful Rana Maharajas and a renowned builder and musician, built the most elegant palace theatre in Kathmandu. The discreet boxes set in a fantasy of Nepalese neo-romantic plastic work, gilt mirrors, red velvet and marble were imported from Italy and transported on porters' back from India. The sunburst chandeliers were constructed locally from long abandoned crates of imported crystal. A former British Ambassador's lady painted the charming murals on the ceiling.
Kathmandu retains its architectural reminders of the Rana period scattered throughout the city. One of them is the Red Palace or Lal Durbar, situated in the heart of the city, minutes walk from Durbar Marg. It should come as no surprise that in the legendary valley of Kathmandu, there should exist a Restaurant with legends as tall as Mt. Everest. This Restaurant, The Yak & Yeti, was founded by Boris Lissanevitch, who came to Kathmandu from Russia via the Russian Army, Dlaghllev's Ballets Russes, the Opera Monte Carlo, a cabaret stint in Shanghai, and the Club called The 300, that brightened Calcutta before and during the years of World War II - a club where Maharajas outnumbered ordinary members and where the impossible always happened. Kathmandu had then just opened its gates to outsiders when Boris arrived to set up the country's first Western-type hotel in a very opulent, very Nepalese-type palace and welcomed the first batch of foreign tourists to visit the "Forbidden Kingdom".
Since the Restaurant built by Borris - The Chimney was a big success, the idea of building a Hotel was conceived in the early seventies. A 120-room hotel with 5 star amenities was completed in the year 1977. After a successful run of 12 years, the need was felt to enhance the hotel's size and facilities.
Now an extension of 150 deluxe rooms and suites have been built (designed to harmonize with the special features of the Lal Durbar) to supplement the existing accommodation, bringing the total number of rooms available in the hotel to 270 rooms.
With the historic character of the hotel and the new and upgraded facilities, the Yak & Yeti will continue to be the city's leading luxury business and leisure hotel. Although it is an ultra modern hotel, the traditional Nepali architectural features have been preserved. Some of the display carved windows are more than 200 years old. It captures the old charm and style of Kathmandu, while providing the international quality standards of accommodation and dining facilities. Clearly there is no hotel in Kathmandu that blends International service style to the grand Nepalese tradition better than the Yak & Yeti.