the Kathmandu Valley

it’s not all about trekking in Nepal

Kathmandu alone has enough to make a visit worthwhile

it might be dusty

stirring up stuff in the lungs

but the intrigue


and compared to Mumbai, Delhi or a hundred other cities

it’s quiet

the contrast stark

the non constant use of horn

a relief

struck by the cleanliness

coming directly from it’s southern neighbour

namaste the constant greeting

two hands raised pyramid like


these days

if you’re a tourist

you pay to go into Durbar Square

the one time palace of ruling kings

but to locals it’s not a World Heritage site

rather a place to hang round in

while away time

eat momos

catch a rickshaw

buy some fruit or vegetables

chat to a sadhu

and for me

to do much the same

was the best way to soak up the vibe

like sitting in a past time

something older more powerful


the Buddhist temple of Swayambhunath

sits on a hill

walking distance from Thamel

a long view over the Kathmandu Valley

some peaks in the distance

a large white stupa

Buddha’s eyes above it on a gold spire

symbolism everywhere




prayer wheels spinning

flags carrying messages on the breeze

Hindu symbols intermingling

there’s unity


drifting in the wind

despite the aggro monkeys



across the river

has its own Durbar Square

another palace dating from the 14th Century

better preserved

even more extensive

powerful in shape



full of artisans

with sustainability on their minds

like Egypt’s pyramids

or Inca stonework

there’s something going on here

something gone before

that’s not lost

not overpowered


and then there’s Bodnath

dwarfing any other stompa

the all seeing eyes looking down on the circumnambulators

power in numbers

like being in Tibet

refugees aplenty

embraced here

the crowds producing energy


as if winding a watch clockwise

like a giant prayer wheel

creating tension




unassuming Hindu temple near the airport

the Bagmati River

in winter barely flowing

hardly looking spiritual

yet shrines abound

and sadhus too

ghats leading to the river

where the dead have water sprinkled over their toes

prior to cremation

we watch a pyre burning

smoke wafting into an evening sky

then cleared for a ceremony

watched by a large crowd of mourners

on one side of the river

scores of locals

sprinklings of tourists

on the other

quietly observant

all matter of fact though

to the mourners

whose mobile phones keep a record

as the pyre

shrouded in orange

is struck alight


And just when you think there can be nothing you haven’t seen

the Kathmandu Valley throws in


yet another medieval town

even better preserved

temples soaring higher than Patan or Kathmandu

and dating back to the 12th Century

cobbled streets and pottery makers

all but traffic free

it’s another yet another step back to another world

all so matter of fact

all so entangled in this world’s daily activities

where but Nepal

offers these gems of the world?


The famed food of Kathmandu

whatever you can imagine you can get

and the people

a great sense of humour

laid back

easy going


super friendly

it seeps into you



And then, only then

there’s the Himalayas.




~ by Drifting, Rambling on February 21, 2014.

One Response to “the Kathmandu Valley”

  1. Thanks Tim… I love it

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