Kathmandu – A Living (and Dying) City of Art

In early August, I found out I had to leave the country due to Visa stipulations, and I had to leave fast. With the help of Village Capital, I booked the cheapest ticket I could find outta here – Kathmandu, Nepal. With only 2 days to prep for the trip, and traveling alone, I arrived with pretty much no knowledge or expectations of what I was in for.  Normally, when people come to Nepal, Kathmandu is simply the launching place to treks, mountain resorts, spiritual trips, etc. It’s dirty, run down, and crowded. The roads were non existent in many areas, as was the power and cell service for the entire time I was there. Thankfully, living in India has trained my eye to be able to look beyond the hawkers and grime, allowing me to see a city that’s jam packed with public art, old architecture, and lively people. Not to mention delicious momos (dumplings). Since I was there for about 30 hours, I did a marathon World Heritage taxi crawl, seeing not one or two but FIVE world heritage sites in one day. Below are three highlights:

Boudhanath, Nepal’s largest stupa, and a very important pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists. Stupa Selfie seen here.

Swayambhunath, an ancient religious complex atop a hill in Kathmandu proper. It’s affectionally called Monkey Temple,  since there are said to be “holy monkeys” living there. One of my favorite pics of the trip is from here – where it looks like 3 monkeys are doing their prayers. Maybe these are the holy ones! Also notableale is the fact that I ran into a very cheesy music video being shot on the temples at the top of the hill. There’s a pic of the girls dancing for it above. 

Bhaktapur is one of the three medieval city-states of Kathmandu Valley. It is quite literally a living museum. It is said that at one point, the Kings of the three cities in Kathmandu were in a competition to make their city the most beautiful. What resulted in this was an immense amount of public art, shrines, temples, and public squares. The town is excellently preserved, yet the art is not put behind a glass case. The city’s 30,000 people can be seen hanging out, selling vegetables, playing games, and praying on and all around the ancient works of art. What this creates is a feeling as if you’re stepping back in time, and I enjoyed many hours just wondering around, bumping into something new every few steps. 

Overall, beyond the crumbling infrastructure, Kathmandu Valley is densely packed with culture, art, and history – probably more so than any other place I’ve been .


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