In this study a Microtops II sunphotometer is used for the first time over Birtamode, a rapidly growing city located in the eastern Himalayan foothills of Nepal, to measure aerosol optical depth (AOD). The average AOD for the observation period (October 2018–February 2019) was 0.68 ± 0.39 with the post-monsoon season having a higher value (0.74 ± 0.43) compared to the winter season (0.60 ± 0.32). The Angstrom exponent (α) for post-monsoon and winter are found to be 1.08 ± 0.10 and 1.11 ± 0.16 respectively. During the monitoring period, the majority of AOD values (47%) are above 0.60, indicating moderately polluted conditions in the region. Anthropogenic, biomass burning, and mixed aerosols are identified as the prevalent aerosol types in the study region. The observed aerosol classification is also explained in terms of CAMS near-real-time model datasets. The AOD values retrieved by MODIS, VIIRS, Himawari-8, and CAMS show a good correlation with the observed Microtops AOD with R2 values ranging from 0.60 to 0.94. Moreover, different MODIS aerosol products (DB, DT, and combined DB-DT) are evaluated based on a comparison of Collection 6.1 AOD with the ground truth obtained from Microtops. The spatial distribution of AOD as observed by various satellites are compared and the vertical distribution of aerosol is also explained with the extinction coefficient provided by the CALIOP lidar onboard CALIPSO and aerosol types provided by CAMS.