Kathmandu. The first time I heard of it, I made a silent wish to be there. ” Some day, I’ll trek the mountains of Nepal”. At that time, I never knew where Nepal was. Only heard that it was beautiful.
A grand preview of Nepal peeked its way through the pigeon holed window; the Everest and its’ other astounding neighbours, the great Himalayan range. I gaped in awe.
Touching down at Tribuvan International Airport, the chill air welcomed me. I looked around and instantly liked what I saw. The airport was built from red bricks and intentionally left that way.
Creating a rather rustic look. Working our way into the immigration, I saw interesting signage like ” We like to take our time in Nepal, relax” and “ 8 of the world’s highest mountain are in Nepal”
As we were driven into the city, I was slowly taking in the irony of my surroundings. Those bits that would never be featured in travel magazines or websites. Some call it the ugly bit or the hidden bit. I think it’s just the real bit.
Streets of Kathmandu can be a tad bit overwhelming to the senses ( Next to India of course) ; throngs of motorbikes with their blaring horns, a buffalo, a few dogs, many chickens and some human picking through messy piles of roadside rubbish, unorganized chaos of tangled electricity wiring overhead, tourist touts and street vendors piling on top of one another and overlaying all this, heavy dust, smog and fumes irritating your oral and nasal airways.
And then you see the other extreme of it right away.
Temples, stupas, shrines and religious rituals performed at every nook and corner. And oh kind, welcoming smiles too.
Religion is real here. The air is thick of it but in a peaceful way. Fortunately or otherwise, it has also become a big business for both the locals and the plethora of westerners visiting for instructions of a higher call.
A heavy crossover of Buddhism and Hinduism is infused everywhere from the looks of the people, the food they eat, the Gods they pray and the building they stay.
After just two days in Nepal, I can’t quite decide if Nepal should be ” Never Ending Peace and Love” or “Never Ending Portrait and Landscape”
Perhaps both. Such is the beauty of this country’s people and place.