EBC trek Day 11 - Kathmandu 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’

Day 11 to Day 14: Since we were flown back by rescue helicopter to Kathmandu on 6th November instead of flying back on the 10th, we had four free days to explore ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ of Kathmandu City with our cameras. With free and easy four days, we first explore the streets of Thamel and beyond, the streets of Kathmandu and finally the streets of Durbar Square. There isn't really a lot of things to do in Kathmandu besides a few places of interest and the shopping Thamel street.

Roaming the streets of Thamel in the early morning. Thamel is distinguished by its narrow alleys with Tibetan flag crowded with various shops and vendors.

A lot of the buildings and roads are not in a good condition due to the 2015 earthquake.

The unpaved dirty back street of Thamel.

The messy under construction of the city water pipes after the earthquake of 2015.

Dirty rubbish were thrown in front of shops without using garbage bags. Kathmandu is not a very clean city.

The morning road side vendors. Thamel is home to a wide range of the Nepalese population, and serves both entertainment and employment purposes.

Fresh river fish for sale displayed at the shop window.

A small butcher shop in Thamel street selling all kind of meat.

Ate brunch at B.K.'s place for best finger-chips & snacks... first Friterie in Nepal. Ordered the devil sauce (right) and patatje oorlog (left) sauce, both are not bad and the patatje oorlog sauce tasted a little like the satay peanut sauce! After some googling... I realized that it is... "In Dutch patatje oorlog means 'war chips' and is a tasty combination of French fries, mayo, raw onions and Indonesian sate sauce."

Shops commonly sold goods include food, fresh fruits, pastries, trekking gear, walking gear, music, DVDs, handicrafts, souvenirs, woolens, and clothes. Travel agencies, small grocery stores, budget hotels and restaurants also line the streets.

A heaven for T-shirts lovers alongside of cars, cycle rickshaws and two-wheeler. Taxis ply these narrow streets alongside hundreds of pedestrians.

The adventurous trekking TinTin.

The popular demon face mask of Nepal.

Nepal version of KFC.

Lunch at Everest Steak House. We wanted to eat Yak Steak... unfortunately there's no Yak Steak in Kathmandu... gotta settle for buffalo steak... not too bad, ordered the filet Mignon.

That caught our attention... well said.

Wanted to visit the Narayanhiti Palace Museum but arrived too late. The story of King Gyanendra was given 15 days to vacate the property in 2008 and within two years the building was reopened as a people’s museum by then prime minister Prachandra, the very Maoist guerrilla leader who had been largely responsible for the king’s spectacular fall from grace.

Have seen the only legit KFC and Pizza Hut in Kathmandu.

The dried up Rani Pokhari meaning queen's pond, originally known as Nhu Pukhu meaning new pond, is a historic artificial pond located in the heart of Kathmandu. The square-shaped tank dates from the 17th century, and was built on the eastern side of the then city limits. It lies just outside a former city gate. The pond is one of Kathmandu's most famous landmarks and is known for its religious and aesthetic significance. Its dimensions are 180m by 140m.

Although the weather is cooling, the sun is really intense. It is always nice to be in the shade.

We walked through this long Jamal Flyover Bridge... lots of peddlers here.

The momo here is delicious... this is the fried buffalo momo for dinner.

Ordered some fried chicken wings too.

Day 12: After hotel breakfast, we walked towards the Bisnumati River.

Thamel is a commercial neighborhood in Kathmandu, has been the centre of the tourist industry for over four decades, starting from the hippie days when many artists came to Nepal and spent weeks in Thamel.

Even though Thamel has been referred to as a 'ghetto' by some, many low-budget travellers consider it a hot-spot for tourism.

We then walked further and further away from Thamel street and we decided to cross the Bishnumati river and make our way back, along the river.

The Bisnumati River, flowing in the Kathmandu Valley, originates at Tokha on Sivapuri Mountain, north of Kathmandu. It flows through the western part of old Kathmandu city. It is a holy river for both Hindu and Buddhist people.

We walked from touristy streets to local streets to temples and shrines and finally to the less developed areas. Walking along Puspalal Path beside Bishnumati river. This location is a Walker’s Paradise so daily errands do not require a car.

A little girl playing by the river side. If I ever go back there, I will look for her and pass this picture to her.

We crossed this bridge over the Bisnumati River to come back.

Looks like T-Rex is coming...

The Nepal version of McDonald.

Had lunch at Gilingche Tibetan restaurant - the fried chicken is nice. Gilingche Tibetan Restaurant is one of the best and cheap eats in Thamel. Friendly and inexpensive Tibetan food is their specialty along with Tongba (a millet-based alcoholic beverage found in the far eastern mountainous region of Nepal, warm winter drink).

Can't go wrong with fried momos that are slightly burnt on the bottom giving it a unique barbecued taste. It goes really well with the gravy.

This spicy pan fried chicken is quite spicy.

Back to all the prayer flags at Thamel street which is touristy.


Traditional clothes making...

A lovely rooftop Bento cafe which is also very popular in Kathmandu.

We can see monkey roaming around.

Another suspension bridge at Bishnumati river.

Kid having fun playing outdoor.

So many ducks chilling under the sun.

Why do parents put eyeliner on their babies? Warding off evil spirits or simply a tradition? What about the dots they put on the babies cheeks?

A pile of carcasses just left to rot in one corner for the birds.

A fast food momo restaurant for dinner? There are many restaurants in Thamel that serve traditional and continental cuisine, although prices are significantly higher than in non-tourist areas.

Heard they are opening a sister branch called 'Feed Her Fast Food'.

Gurkha's choice weapon...

Night walk at Thamel street. Thamel also acts as the pre-base camp for mountaineers. It boasts a wide range of mountaineering gear shops, foreign money exchange booths, mobile phone shops, pubs, clubs, and nightlife along with the numerous travel agents and guest houses.

Ate pre-dinner at Thamel Doner Kebab... The kebab is less than S$5 and it's huge and delicious...

We went upstairs for proper dinner at Thakali Bhanchha Ghar, Chaksibari Marg, Kathmandu

Dinner was at Thakali Bhanchha Ghar, also around Thamel area. We sat beside the bar counter.

We had the Mutton Thali with Rice Bhakri.

Day 13: Walked to Durbar Square an UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Arrived at Durbar Square one of the places of interest in Kathmandu. Lots of peddlers here in front of Gaddi Baithak.

There are lots of souvenir shops in Durbar Square and could be completed in less than a day.

The Siddhidas Marg street has a lot more locals than tourist as compared to Thamel street.

What is this porter sign for?

A kid having fun playing with pigeons in Durbar Square.

Pigeon-lady feeding her pigeons in Durbar Square.

Several buildings in the Square collapsed due to a major earthquake on 25 April 2015. Durbar Square was surrounded with spectacular architecture and vividly showcases the skills of the Newar artists and craftsmen over several centuries.

Durbar Square used to look grand and majestic before the earthquake happened.

Another collapsed building.

This building has cracks on its wall.

Other buildings that have to be supported with wooden poles.

Taking a rest we had the best tea or 'chai' here.

In India "chai" simply means tea. But in the West it refers specifically to spiced Indian-style tea - that is, tea with traditional Indian spices and milk. This is also referred to as Masala Chai, which is more popular in India than coffee.

Kumari Bahal. At the junction of Durbar and Basantapur squares, this red-brick, three-storey building is home to the Kumari, the girl who is selected to be the town’s living goddess and a living symbol of devi – the Hindu concept of female spiritual energy.

Wooden carving on the outer wall of Kumari Bahal.

Wooden carving on the outer wall of Kumari Bahal.

Wooden carving on the outer wall of Kumari Bahal.

Wooden carving on the outer wall of Kumari Bahal. Lord Vishnu...?

Courtyard of Kumari Bahal. Inside the building is Kumari Chowk, a three-storey courtyard. It is enclosed by magnificently carved wooden balconies and windows, making it quite possibly the most beautiful courtyard in Nepal.

Courtyard of Kumari Bahal. The building, in the style of the Buddhist vihara (monastic abodes) of the valley, was built in 1757 by Jaya Prakash Malla. The courtyard contains a miniature stupa carrying the symbols of Saraswati, the goddess of learning. Amazingly, the bahal escaped with only minor damage during the 2015 earthquake despite the destruction all around – a sign some Nepalis see as the Kumari's benign influence.

Kathmandu Durbar Square (Basantapur Darbar Kshetra) in front of the old royal palace of the former Kathmandu Kingdom is one of three Durbar (royal palace) Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Himalayan masks... Nepalese and Tibetan Masks are one of the symbols that better represent the culture and traditions of people living in the Himalayan region. The ritual of wearing masks is very old and it comes from animists Himalayan tribes used to worship spirits of nature and guardians of these majestic mountains.

The Shamans of these tribes used to wear masks during rituals they use to perform in order to protect the village, heal diseases, practice exorcisms or other purposes. Masks supposedly had a very important functions in the social life of these community as they were used also during theatrical representations and ceremonies dedicated to ancestors.

Hindu and Buddhist cultures, that became dominant in the surrounding regions, slowly replaced the myths of this shamanic cult.
However some of the old costumes survived. Even spirits and demons were adopted by the Buddhist tradition and some of them became wrathful protectors of the Buddhist doctrine.

A Sahdu Hindu priest shielding himself from the sun. A sadhu, also spelled saddhu, is a religious ascetic monk or any holy person in Hinduism and Jainism who has renounced the worldly life. They are sometimes alternatively referred to as sannyasi or vairagi.

It literally means one who practices a 'sadhana' or keenly follows a path of spiritual discipline. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa (liberation), the fourth and final aśrama (stage of life), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. Sādhus often wear simple clothing, such saffron-coloured clothing in Hinduism, white or nothing in Jainism, symbolising their sannyāsa (renunciation of worldly possessions). A female mendicant in Hinduism and Jainism is often called a sadhvi, or in some texts as aryika.

Lion statue in Durbar Square.

The figure of Garuda was placed here in 1690 by Riddhi Lakshmi, widow of King Bhupalendra. Garuda kneels with his hands in the namaste position in front of Trailokya Mohan Narayan temple in Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Lots of pigeons in Durbar Square as well.

The 12 foot high stone image of Kala Bhairav which is enshrined in the temple is said to have been sculpted in the 5th or 6th century and was later rediscovered in a paddy field in the 17th century by the Malla King Pratap Malla.

The 12 foot high stone image of Kala Bhairav.

Durbar Square was surrounded with spectacular architecture and vividly showcases the skills of the Newar artists and craftsmen over several centuries. The Royal Palace was originally at Dattaraya square and was later moved to the Durbar square.

The Kathmandu Durbar Square held the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square surrounds quadrangles, revealing courtyards and temples. It is known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, a name derived from a statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, at the entrance of the palace.

At the southern end of Durbar Square is one of the most curious attractions in Nepal, the Kumari Chok. This gilded cage contains the Raj Kumari, a girl chosen through an ancient and mystical selection process to become the human incarnation of the Hindu mother goddess, Durga. She is worshiped during religious festivals and makes public appearances at other times for a fee paid to her guards.

Durbar Square is the site of the Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex, which was the royal Nepalese residence until the 19th century and where important ceremonies, such as the coronation of the Nepalese monarch, took place. The palace is decorated with elaborately-carved wooden windows and panels and houses the King Tribhuwan Memorial Museum and the Mahendra Museum. It is possible to visit the state rooms inside the palace.

Time and again the temples and the palaces in the square have gone through reconstruction after being damaged by natural causes or neglect. Presently there are less than ten quadrangles in the square. The temples are being preserved as national heritage sites and the palace is being used as a museum. Only a few parts of the palace are open for visitors and the Taleju temples are only open for people of Hindu and Buddhist faiths.

Restoration of the early 20th-century Gaddi Baithak. U.S. EMBASSY TO RESTORE ICONIC NEPAL UNESCO-SITE STRUCTURE

A 100-year-old palace and one of the most Nepal’s iconic heritage buildings, which was heavily damaged by a M-7.8 earthquake that destroyed scores of history and killed hundreds at a UNESCO World Heritage site here in 2015, is set to be repaired and structurally strengthened, the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation announced.

The structural and architectural repairs and strengthening will be done by the technical nonprofit engineering expert Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief in partnership with the International Council on Monuments and Sites, Nepal (ICOMOS) and in close coordination with the Government of Nepal’s Department of Archaeology.

The Gaddi Baithak is a neoclassical building from which Nepal’s kings once ruled and settled the affairs of the country – hence its name, which means Royal Seat. It also was the place where important foreign guests like ambassadors were welcomed by the king.

"Miyamoto Relief is honored to be restoring this iconic building when so many others were lost,” said Miyamoto Relief Executive Director Sabine Kast. “It’s a reminder to the world that it is feasible to restore and strengthen heritage buildings in order to protect and preserve important cultural treasures.”

Dozens of other unique architectural treasures in the Kathmandu Valley were turned to rubble. A pillar supporting part of the structure’s façade collapsed and the earthquake cracked columns and beams. While damage is extensive, Miyamoto engineers say the Gaddi Baithak is repairable and can be made even stronger before another earthquake hits. Locally trained workers will repair and structurally strengthen the Gaddi Baithak using a combination of national and international earthquake engineering techniques that avoid compromising the building’s historic architecture.

Since its creation by Congress, the Ambassadors Fund has provided financial support to more than 640 cultural preservation projects in more than 100 countries. More than $26 million has been dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide."

The street is full of motorcyclist.

Very good business in changing motorcycle inner tube.

Mr Ong Teik Hong had his hair cut for Nr200 while Ching had his head shaved bald for Nr100.

This was the second time Ching had his head shaved bald. The 1st time was in Tibet 2010.

In front of the barber shop.

Finally back at Thamel.

We noticed the 'Busy Burger'.

Our farewell dinner at Gilingche Tibetan Restaurant, one of the best and cheap eats in Thamel. Friendly and inexpensive Tibetan food is their specialty along with Tongba (a millet-based alcoholic beverage found in the far eastern mountainous region of Nepal, warm winter drink).

This local beer is just as good.

This local beer is just as good.

On this last night we packed our bags ready for home sweet home - the next day flight to KL.
click below to view:

EBC trek Day 01 (28.10.17) – Kuala Lumpur KLIA to Kathmandu (1,334m/4,375ft)

EBC trek Day 02 (29.10.17) – Kathmandu fly to Lukla (2,865m) and trek 8km to Phakding

EBC trek Day 03 (30.10.17) – Phakding trek 10.4km to Namche Bazaar (3,445m/11,299ft)

EBC trek Day 04 (31.10.17) - Acclimatization day at Namche Bazaar (3,445m/11,299ft)

EBC trek Day 05 (01.11.17) - Namche Bazaar trek 10km to Deboche (3,867m/12,684ft)

EBC trek Day 06 (02.11.17) - Deboche trek 10km to Dingboche (4,412m/14,471ft)

EBC trek Day 07 (03.11.17) - Acclimatization day at Dingboche (4,412m/14,471ft)

EBC trek Day 08 (04.11.17) - Dingboche trek 12km to Lobuche (4,931m/16,174 ft)

EBC trek Day 09 (05.11.17) - Lobuche 8km to Gorakshep trek to EBC (5,364m/17,595ft)

EBC trek Day 10 (06.11.17) - Gorakshep to Kalapattha and fly back to Kathmandu

EBC trek Day 11 (07.11.17) - Kathmandu 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’

SJ Echo - the Subang Jaya's FREE community newspaper


1 comment: