Katmandu living

the van de Wiel/Schou Hansen family blog

Monday was Maha Shivaratri or the festival of Shiva - Here in Nepal the festival is traditionally celebrated at the Pashupati Temple and should be an incredible spectacle, with devotees paying tribute to Lord Shiva by smearing their bodies in ashes and praying until they fall into a meditative state. It is the only time of the year there the smoking of hashish is legal as this should help getting in the right meditative state. As I visited Pahhupati a few weeks ago, I didn't feel like going back (there should be more then 100000 people there on this day) and I therefore decided to explore the area just west of where we live where there is one of the old villages of the Kathmandu Valley called Kirtipur.

Down towards the river I passed the Dobi ground, the area where all the washing men (or Dobis as they are called here) come to wash and dry their clothes - I am not sure i want all my underwear to be hung out for all by-passers to see.

With the lack of water many of the people go to the local well to get collect water. We should keep this in mind as we ran out of water for 36 hours last week (I had to wash in a cup of water). In the end we had to pay double price to one of the water trucks to come and fill our water tank. One of the traditions of Maha Shivaratri is that the local kids can extort money from people by putting a rope over the road. Only after paying 1 or 2 rupees are you allowed through. One Rupee is of course only 1 Euro cent but when there are kids every 100 meters or so you run out of coins pretty fast.

Kirtipur is on a hill overlooking the whole of Kathmandu and the Himalayas (pretty much like our own house so I am not sure why I went all the way to Kirtipur!) - It was the scene for some serious fighting between some king and the locals 600 years ago - the king ended up winning and as a punishment cut of all the noses and lips of the local men. Like most Nepali towns it suffers from Urban sprawl (as much sprawl as a mountain permit) with the old city center occupying the top of mountain. The old city through, had some nice traditional Nepali Architecture and three nice temples.


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