Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Amazing. That’s Kathmandu for you, in just one word. There are parts of it that will lead you to imagine you’ve just stepped into a time warp that has sent you hurtling into the middle Ages. At other times, you feel like you’re bang in the middle of a Third World country charging towards modernization.

Kathmandu can easily send the uninitiated into sensory overdrive. You step off the plane and step into a world of narrow lanes and bylanes, carved wooden balconies unchanged for centuries, and town squares packed with an astonishing number of temples, monuments, markets and people, always people. Quite in contrast is the young, brash, rapidly changing side of Kathmandu – old men carrying images of goddesses rub shoulders with younger men in blue jeans; blaring taxi horns mingle with the tinkling of temple bells; children play among 1,000-year old chaityas. Kathmandu can be overwhelming. And astounding.

Like Patan and Bhaktapur, Kathmandu’s historic center is concentrated around Durbar Square, (durbar being the Nepali word for ‘palace’), where the monarch resided about a century ago until the palace was moved closer to the popular tourist area of Thamel.

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