Kathmandu + Patan – Don’t walk alone

26. – 30. March 2023

 

 

From Pokhara, I set off again on the 200 km rumble road to Kathmandu. It took even longer than the 8.5 h outward journey, despite fewer stops. It still didn’t excite me.

 

In Kathmandu, I wanted to do a few things, e.g. visit the palace, which was really interesting. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed. I was amazed at the ugliness and dustiness of the interiors. In 2001, the royal family was assassinated and in 2008, the rooms were opened to the public as a museum. The furnishings looked like they were from the 50s. And there was hardly anything royal about it. At least not much that I imagined as royal in Asia. Unfortunately, the image search on the internet doesn’t offer much. So the best thing is to visit it yourself. I think it is really worth seeing. The last royal family lived in a specially built newer building, but it wasn’t pretty there either. There was also an extra area where the massacre took place, with exact details of who was standing where and also with bullet holes. For more on the massacre, see the Wikipedia entry here. There was also a very pretty garden to look at and a collection of vehicles. Right at the second vehicle I was struck by the fact that Hitler had given it to the then King Tribhuvan. I wondered why and began to research and ask questions and received astonishingly controversial answers:

  • Chat-GPT claimed the following: “There is no evidence that Hitler gave a car as a gift to the king of Nepal. It is a popular myth that has been circulating on the internet and in some media outlets, but it is not supported by historical facts.”
  • In 1940, when it is said to have happened, there were no proper roads. The car had reached India and was carried to Kathmandu. The king drove it around until 1955.
  • Hitler had given it in the hope of finding an ally in the Asian region, since British-occupied India was an enemy and China was at war with Japan, with Germany choosing Japan as a friend. Whereby the latter also changed again. In any case, there was a tendency towards Tibet and Hinduism/Buddhism, but I would have to look into that in more detail. In any case, the complicated relations between all the countries there made the gift of a car to Nepal make sense.
  • The car on display is not Hitler’s gift at all. He had given a car to the Rana Dynasty in India. However, the story about this is also somewhat abstruse and can be read as an article¬†here.

Phew, once you start researching…..

 

It’s better to take a walk through the old town of Thamel to Durbar Square. There you will find many courtyards, temples, shops and plenty to discover. Here are a few photos:

 

courtyard

 

other courtyard

 

courtyard with construction work

 

courtyard with well

 

square

 

other square

 

shops

 

courtyard with shop

 

fashion mannequins

 

some shops

 

teeth”shop”

 

power cables

 

The destination of such a walk is actually Durbar Square, the square in front of the old royal palace with masses of temples, pagodas and small palaces built mainly of wood. However, there is an entrance fee – none for Nepalis, 150 NR for SAARC nationals and 1,000 NR (approx. 7 euros) for all others – i.e. mainly Western tourists. I already know from India that there are different entrance fees, but the difference is not so striking. And since almost everything to visit costs 1,000 NR for “everyone else”, it can be quite expensive and I did without it. There are wide entrances and exits with ticket booths and guards, who mainly pick out the light-skinned people from the crowd and escort them to the ticket booth. Here is a view from the ticket booth:

 

Durbar Square

 

There are plenty of other little temples around, so there was plenty for me to look at.

 

Temple

 

Templedetail

 

Templedetail

 

idol

 

 

Templeoffering

 

Temple with cow in front of it

 

mirror in Temple

 

Also I found a big beautiful Stupa:

 

Stupa

 

Stupa

 

prayer mills

 

view from Stupa

 

view from Stupa

 

At this stupa, a Western gentleman approached me: “Hello Nana!”. I stumbled, completely confused. Who was this? He looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. He was Peter from Kassel! The rattling continued. At the Trek there was a running gag about a Dieter, but his name was probably Peter, I met him briefly too, but he was from Frankfurt. And then he continued to break it up: Peter C.! Oh dear, I actually knew him and it was very embarrassing for me not to have recognised him. I knew him due to business and had even dined with him. But who expects that you meet people on the street here who you never meet at home. We ended up having a very nice chat.

 

Peter + me

 

Speaking of people – I met even more. I had breakfast and dinner with Martin from the village of my childhood and youth (no photo – I actually meet him more in Nepal or India than in Germany) and on another evening I also had company:

 

me and kid

 

This child was very outgoing, patting my belly and shouting “baby, baby”. And later at the airport, I also met 2 people with whom I had dined in Pokhara. So the title of the blog fits “Don’t walk alone” by Black Tartan Clan twice:¬†surrounded either by strangers or acquaintances, one is rarely alone ….

 

But I was still keen on pictures of a Durbar Square. There were two more in the Kathmandu area. I had already been to Patan in 2010, but it had rained and I wanted prettier pictures. Besides, it didn’t cost any entrance fee. So I went there. But it wasn’t ideal this time either, it had become cloudy, many buildings were still surrounded by scaffolding due to earthquakes – and this place also cost 1,000 NR in the meantime! However, I didn’t know it, there were no obvious ticket booths and many entrances and so I was only approached by a guard by chance when I was already finished. And just quickly left the place. I took these pictures beforehand:

 

Durbar Square Patan

 

sitting around 1

 

sitting around 2

 

The buildings were already really impressive in detail

 

Pagoda

 

Detail 1

 

Detail 2

 

And that was it for the trip. I had to break off for personal reasons and go home. And so, after 4 weeks in Nepal, I flew back instead of doing any more treks. Maybe another time.

 

Of course, I will do a review in a final post.