In total, for my trip to Nepal, it was taking about 10 days. That was the best days off I could get considering with my limited days off from the company. When I did the research about Nepal, I read so many suggestion from people to aware the tourist with unpredictable political situation in Kathmandu which can lead to many strikes on the city. It can cause you trapped in the middle of bad traffic jam or the worst if they close the road to the airport. You may miss your flight home. Because of that, I planned my trip to do the trekking on my first 5 days, then back to Kathmandu again to stay for another 5 days and going around the city. I chose to do the trekking in Annapurna conservation first because later I can be relax in the Kathmandu city, without worrying too much about time to go to the airport. From Kathmandu to Pokhara (the city stop to start do the trekking) you need about 6-7 hours on the bus, if you meet the traffic, it can be 9 hours! So I thought, my plan was kind of a good plan.
Evening Experience of the Durbar Square
After finished the trekking, I returned to the city and met with my Nepali friends who will take me around the city. First, I went to Kathmandu Durbar Square. A friend of mine brought me to the Square in the evening on my first day arrived in Nepal. He told me that probably it will good to see the Square in the evening, because then I don’t need to pay some amount of money to come inside the Square which he thought it’s really too much for the tourist. That night, no one asked us to pay for the entry fees. The ticket locket closed on 5 pm.
The way from Thamel to Durbar Square was so muddy and wet because of the remaining rain drops. I successfully destroyed my sandals while walking around Kathmandu. I felt so annoying but also impressed with the old building around the city. There were so many old damaged bricks building from the past which still use by some people to live. I wondered how to live inside of the building with such a very short door and rooftop, half of the building almost damaged. I don’t think that the building is still proper to stayed.
We wandered around the Square, I felt a bit spooky but also love the atmosphere. I told to my friend, I can’t see anything and I may be better to go again to the place in the morning.
Here comes the morning
In the morning, I woke up around 6 am and can’t sleep anymore. I decided to take a shower and walked around the city. Right now, I already knew how to reach the Durbar Square, so I just following the road and asked some people if I felt I am losing my way. I bought a map of Kathmandu, it quite helped me even not that much. I just follow my memory and I don’t think you can go to the other places in Kathmandu by walking – for instance, if you want to go to Swayambunath from Boudhanath, that’s very far. You need to take a cab or rickshaw or rent a motor. Walking quite impossible in my opinion.
It was still a fresh morning. I saw many people already got up and do their daily activities while mostly souvenir shops still close. I walked alone and some people look at me with an odd look. They knew that I am a tourist because of my face and I bring the map on my hands. But they didn’t say anything, they just let me wander their road, only some rickshaw tried to offer their services which I need to say “no” since I love to walk in the morning, especially I am in others countries. Being lost in unknown places kinda give me a special adventure to conquer.
On my way to Durbar Square, I was passing a small alley and saw an old Buddhist temple inside of the alley, curious, I went through the alley and try to look it from the closer view. It was a small monument or usually can be called as temple as well. Maybe local temple. It was old and almost fill with moss. The monument standing in the corner while surrounding is the house of people. The house placement made it look like in Europe.
Arrived in Durbar Square, I think it still 7 in the morning, but the ticket counter already opened and a guy inside of the locket called me and asked me to pay for 750 Nepalese Rupees. I know it’s kind of expensive, but worth if you also go to the Hanuman Dokha. Don’t forget to go to the Museum and climb up the stairs to go to the rooftop as well, because if you miss it, the idea of spending 750 Nepalese Rupees ($7) can be so suck! Why I say so, because after walk around the Square, I found out that there are so many alleys to go to the Square. And people can come in and out easily without paying, only one way has the ticket locket – which I was not lucky enough and chose that way and make me to pay. Also because the Square itself mostly are consist with old buildings which you only can see from outside because you’re not allowed to come inside because you’re not Hindu or it closed. The other historical places also already changed into street market, so muddy, lots of people and garbage everywhere. Kind of sad for me. When I was paying for the ticket, suddenly a young man approached me and offer his guide – but I smelled the liquor from his breathe, and I refused his service. He immediately became so mad and said how Asians never took any guide and stingy with their money. I don’t eat the anger and just walk away from him.
Confusing Area, Headache and Weird Cappuccino
They gave me a map of the Square but I don’t understand it that much, so I better to wait for my Nepalese friend who will come soon after he finished his study and he will bring me around the Square. I was in a shock when waiting on him in the Square, since there are so many, again, so many people around me. It felt like never ending people to come and go. I felt my head dizzy, I don’t really like crowd situation, so I decided to make myself calm while enjoying a cup of coffee in nearby coffee shop. I already craving for a proper of cup cappuccino in such a long time, a real coffee which is not from the cheap instant of coffee.
Then I saw the Himalayan Java Coffee Shop. I love the interior inside, remind me of the American Coffee Shop I used to go in Jakarta (you know it, right?). And the Java named, made me feel like home. Anyway, after I asked, there is no relation between the Java name with coffee from Indonesia, it’s only a name, they still use Nepale coffee that grows in Himalaya. I ordered Cappuccino and I should say I was disappointing when I took a sip of the coffee, there was nothing wrong with the coffee, only milk they used is not the cow milk – of course, I don’t blame them, since they consider cow as holy animal, but the taste so different with I expected before, maybe they used Yak milks. I can’t take it and I just drank a bit of that, considering I already spent money on it.
The Kumari House
Finally my friend came, we first visit the house of Kumari. Kumari is a young girl believed to be a host for the goddess Durga. People in Nepal has a tradition to worship Kumari as the manifestations of the divine female energy or Devi in Hindu religious traditions. Kumari lives in one of the house in Durbar Square and if you are lucky, every morning you can see her face out of window, but you can’t take photo of her, it’s prohibited. Better you know the story of Kumari first before you visit the house. It’s also an interesting story. Kumari has been chosen since 3 year old and living in the house from then on. She can not go outside or step the outside ground and will be no longer as Kumari if she gets her first menstruation. She only study and pray daily. What a tough life indeed. When I was there, I can’t see her face even I already came inside to the house. Too bad. If I want to wait her to showed up her face, it may be quite long and I wanna go to other places as well. So I gave up and continue our walking to another part of the Square.
We arrived in the biggest temple on the center. Yogendra, my friend, invited me to climb the stairs and enjoy the view of the Square from up. Be careful on your steps, so many bird droppings on the stairs. Once we up, I felt so happy to watch how the Nepalese people enjoy their time only by sitting around the Square, have a conversation with their friends or just watching the seller try to offer their stuff or some children who played around without being disturbed with some noisy around them.
Hanuman Dhoka and Surrounding
We went to Hanuman Dhoka. You can come inside if you buy the ticket, as I explained before. You need to put your bags on the luggage and you can’t bring your camera. That’s the reason why I don’t have any of pictures from Hanuman Dhoka. It’s a museum about the Kings of Nepal. Nepal has kings until democracy took the lead on 2008. We went to the rooftop which actually a part of Basantapur Temple. To go up, prepare yourself with such tiny and dusty stairs which make you only able to go up or down one by one. When you up, you can see the Kathmandu city from the top, it’s quite higher enough to give you a view of the whole city.
Finished with Hanuman Dhoka, we continue our walk by going out from the Durbar Square from another way. At this part, we can see an open space with so many doves roost everywhere, even on the back of sleeping cows. We also saw the statue of Bhairab, another form of Shiva. He is one of the most important deities of Nepal, sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike. Bhairab is invoked in prayers to destroy enemies.
For me, as a Christian, it doesn’t matter to see the religion sites, I can say, I love it. Because the more I travel, the more I realize how beautiful the different of culture and life style that people have. It just show to us how creative is human being and how we should love one to another and to respect the difference between one to another.
It was a fine afternoon. I need to say goodbye to Yogendra and thank him for giving me such a good time by walking around the Square and listen to his knowledge about Nepal. I wish his dream to go to Europe will be happened one day 🙂
Once we apart, I continued my walk back to Thamel for another visit.
This time, I will go to Boudhanath and Pashupatinath temple.