Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nepal Day 12: Kathmandu Street View

After settling down in our hotel, I set out for a stroll in the city.

At the intersections of some small lanes, which they call 'street', lies their market.  Just like any other wet market, it is messy and a bit dirty.

And there is always some religious structures at the intersection.  People go about their daily chores without forgetting their religion, although the religious structure is very run down, at the brink of being a ruin.

Streets are narrow and dark.  People, local & foreign, rubbing shoulder along the narrow alleys.  Shops and street vendors line the streets.  Rickshaws, taxis, and motorbikes compete with humans for space in such dark narrow alleys.
Near Kathmandu's Durbar Square, finally small alleys turn into bigger streets.  More modern style shops dot both sides of the street.  People were happily shopping.  

You will encounter such buildings from time to time.  The building is elaborate with decorations.  The long bronze deco hanging all the way down from the roof to the 2nd level window seems to signal a living goddess stays here.  The elegant window where the bronze arrow is pointing might be where the living goddess may one day grace the public.  
It seems to me religion has ceded for business in today's Kathmandu.  As you see in the picture above, the 2nd level is still for religious purpose, but the 1st level has been converted into shops.  Anyway, let's take a look at the beautiful bas relief on the bronze window, before they disappear with time.

On one side of this religious building, stands a Ganesh shrine.  

Ganesh is the Hindu god of prosperity and wisdom.  His shrines are almost everywhere in Kathmandu, which shows he is a very popular god among all the Hindu gods.  He can be easily recognize with his elephant head.

On the sides of the Ganesh shrine, statues of life and death stand.

Another common scene you will see in Kathmandu is the Tibetan Buddhist Stupas.  

Whenever you see such stupas, you know there is a Tibetan establishment nearby, maybe it is the Tibetan refugee settlement, or their temples which are called 'Gompa'.  
Western influence has not been fell greatly in this land-locked country.  Globalisation has yet to make its impact.  It is good because they can still retain their old age innocence, it is bad because life in this country is too tough.  What is worse is the pollution.  Kathmandu is always misty, hazy, with gray skies, and heavy fog.  The once splendid buildings are still splendid, except their true beauty lies underneath a thick layer of gray dust. 

You can find a complete list of blog entries about my Nepal trip here.

No comments:

Post a Comment