“When a terrible earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, our correspondents quickly began to report from the battered capital, Katmandu. By the beginning of this week, we were still reporting on the quake’s aftermath, but under a slightly different dateline: Kathmandu. Why the switch?
There are many examples of foreign place names with more than one English rendering, especially if the local language uses a different alphabet, requiring the name to be transliterated for English. For Nepal’s capital, the ‘Katmandu’ spelling has long been widely used in English-language publications, and may still be more familiar to some American readers. But ‘Kathmandu,’ with an ‘h’ in the middle, has become more widespread in recent years, reflecting the preferred local usage.”