Archives for posts with tag: Nepal

These photos are dedicated to all the people who go through great lengths to make a living. 

After devoting a lot of time to temples and other old cultural marvels of Nepal, I had a strong urge to indulge in some good old street photography.  All of these photos were taken around “New Road”, a cultural, commercial hub of Kathmandu.

Tal Talaiya is another watershed that has been converted into a popular picnic spot, much like Betana.  Located on the fringes of Itahari, the crossroads of Eastern Nepal as all roads lead to Itahari here in the East, it is the starting point if one wants to get anywhere in the East.

All Roads Lead to Itahari (from Google Maps)

Tal Talaiya has struck a chord with the locals, in a place where picnics and parties seem to be synonymous. During my visit to Tal Talaiya, it all looked and sounded like a big party with several loudspeakers playing loud Hindi music and people drinking and dancing. An entire ecosystem of hotels, restaurants and mini-grocery stores revolves around the subculture of partying on the territory of Mother Nature. In addition, Tal Talaiya itself has a wonderful ecosystem of its own, several species of birds and animals, which to be witnessed, will require one to divorce himself from the partyanimals at the heart of the Tal Talaiya and makes his way into the wild.

Image

Tal Talaiya Ennui

Modernity Encroaches

Modernity Encroaches

Image

A Foggy Evening at Tal Talaiya

Image

A Local Hotel/Restaurant with an Amusing Premise

Image

Just Another Sunset at Tal Talaiya

Not far from Kathmandu are the old Newari villages of Thecho, Chapagaun, Bungmati and Khokana. All of these villages lie in Lalitpur district and are just half an hour drive from the Sub-Metropolitan city of Lalitpur. There is an offshoot from the Satdobato segment of the Ring Road, commonly known as the Satdobato-Thecho route. As stated above, Thecho is an old Newari village forgotten in this era of rapid urbanization. It serves as a reminder of the old days of the Baun-Chettri ruled Kathmandu valley where there was a Newari majority. Most of the houses in Thecho are made of mud and bricks and have the traditional Newari design along with traditional Newari shrine attached to them. But in Thecho, most of the young men are away in Kathmandu and as a result we mostly find old men, women and children. From Thecho, we headed to Chapagaun, another Newari village. Chapagaun is comparably larger than Thecho but it is more urbanized having more modern concrete houses than the old mud and brick type. The road then led me to the banks of the Nallu river where there stood the Tikabhairab temple, a temple with considerable local respect. Then the road led to Lele, a strange “valley within a valley”. The valley in contrast to Kathmandu is still agrarian, although one can argue that most of the young people are away in the cities. Although there are a few quarries where they manufacture gravel which is used to make concrete. The stones of these hills fuel Kathmandu’s thirst for construction of houses and infrastructure, as do the sand of the rivers, and the timber of many slain trees. This road leads to hills surrounding the valley and not to the other villages of Bungmati and Khokana which were located on the other side of the Nallu River. So, we had to take a detour by crossing the Nallu river. After navigating through the steep gravel roads, we finally took the road to Bungmati. Bungmati is an old Newari village in which the Machchendra Nath temple is located. Machchendra Nath is the Newari deity of rain to which the month long Machchendranath Jatra is dedicated to. From there we headed to Khokana, a village where virtually everyone speaks the Newari language. Khokana, which is just a few kilometer away from the metropolis, stands like a time capsule, although the village is pretty much void of young men. The route to Khokana starts from Ekantakuna, Lalitpur. We just interconnected these two roads that run on opposite banks of the Nallu river by crossing that river. We went on a circular path around the outskirts of Lalitpur district to the parts of the Kathmandu less traveled.

A View of Kathmandu as Seen from the Road to Chapagaun

A Man Resting in Thecho

The Streets of Thecho

A Woman Using a Loom at Thecho

Old Newari House Bearing the Maoist Insignia at Chapagaun

A Stone Crusher on the Way to Lele

The Tikabhairab Temple

The Tikabhairab Temple and the Nallu River

Wheat fields at Lele

A Brick Factory at Lele

The Machchendra Nath Temple at Bungmati

A Stone Lotus in the Courtyard of the Machchendra Nath Temple at Bungmati

Khokana

The Streets of Khokana

The Rudrayani Temple of Khokana

Old Men Chitchating at Khokana nearby the Rudrayani Temple

Phulchoki is a hill in Lalitpur district and falls within the Kathmandu valley. My father and I decided to go to Phulchoki for a picnic. We drove from Satdobato to Godavari from where the road to Phulchoki begins. We passed St. Xavier’s School at Godavari where my father went to school as a kid and it lies right on the bottom of Phulchoki hill. My father told me that in his St. Xavier’s years, they used to have an annual Phulchoki day where they used to scale the hill on foot. He viewed the hill with a certain sense of nostalgia which intensified my curiosity. The hill is foggy throughout the year. Even the occasion that I had chosen wasn’t that auspicious, the hill was lost in a thick fog. The gravel road was  intermingled with patches of black-topped road and it was steep and rough most of the way. But even then, the road was quite scenic with mother nature at her most brilliant. On the way, I saw rhododendrons, the national flower and a hummingbird which I tried to photograph but it was too fast for me. Phulchoki is also rich in iron ore deposits and purple colored rocks are scattered all over the road. When we reached the top, we found a communication tower which plays a crucial role in the telephone and televisions networks as with as civil aviation of Kathmandu and the whole country. And as a result there is an army regiment garrisoned on the top of Phulchoki which safeguards the tower. There is also a small temple dedicated to the local Phulchoki Mata. A temple, a tower and an army regiment, we found them all gathered on top of Phulchoki. “This is different”, he murmured as the military encampment went against his expectations. We had our picnic nearby the small temple, as my father began drowning in his past recollections of the hill as he’d known as a kid at St. Xavier’s Godavari. I ignored him and watched the tower which was beleaguered in the mist. I observed the siege that the mist was carrying out on this hill. A serene moment of perfect silence as I felt the chains of civilization break. And this is the reason why I love traveling.

St. Xavier School at Godavari

The Uttis (Atnus Nepalensis) Forest at Godavari

The Rough Road to Phulchoki

A Pond near the Top of Phulchoki Hill

Phulchoki

An Army Truck Delivering Water to the Army Regiment

The Communication Tower in the Midst of Fog

The Tempe on Top of the Hill

The Temple Again

Danger Sign and Barbed Wires Bordering the Army Barracks

Tibetan Prayer Flags

A Hollow Tree on the Way to Phulchoki

A View of Kathmandu

A Hill Scarred by Marble Quarries Opposite of Phulchoki

A Traffic Island

The Lonely Road to Phulchoki