Shraddha Thapa

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Published On: April 2, 2018 10:05 AM NPT By: Shraddha Thapa

Biratnagar Messy yet perfect

Biratnagar Messy yet perfect

Biratnagar, the industrial hub of Nepal, is a fast-paced city. At first glance, I thought I would never like this place. Bumpy roads, dusty atmosphere and polluted air— an infrastructural mess—is how I described Biratnagar initially. But the more I lived here, the more I learned about the city and its people, and my dislikes changed into likes. Today, it would not be wrong to say that unexpectedly I have fallen in love with this messy yet perfect city.

Answering about what is the best thing I like about the city, I listed places, things and people that set Biratnagar apart from rest of the other parts of the country.

I especially love the colorful, noisy and spectacular view of Gudri Bazaar where vendors spread their jute bags in uneven rows on the ground leaving just enough space for people to walk through. It is inspiring to see how these vendors work hard day and night, be it in steaming heat or freezing cold, with the urge to earn better living.   

From savoring roasted peanuts with a hot cup of tea to warming hands sitting beside a bonfire, Biratnagar is an absolute delight in winter season. And it is winter that introduced me to Vakka—a steamed rice cake which is garnished with green chili chutney. The chutney makes all the difference as it gives your tongue a kick of heat flavor. Although it sounds rather simple, and though it may be, it is one of greatest-tasting winter street foods you will prefer in Biratnagar. And not missing on the sweet vakka with jiggery filling is a strong advice.

Another street food you will commonly find throughout the city, especially alongside the busy roads like Traffic Chowk and Main Road is chatpatey and panipuri/dahipuri. We do not need a reason to hang out at the roadside for these crunchy snacks that are tangy, spicy, and sweet from all the ingredients with a wonderful balance of flavor.  It is the type of street food that once you start eating, you just cannot resist the urge of digging into these not-so-healthy-yet-so-delicious roadside delights. 

Biratnagar is probably one of the best cities in Nepal to experience the rickshaw and safari ride. Rickshaw is slow compared to safari yet both the rides give you a touch of roller-coaster feeling on the bumpy narrow lanes of the city.

Drinking cups of hot chiya and coffee on street-side is one of the joys of visiting Biratnagar. Chiya is not just a cup of tea, but it’s a hot and soothing brew that offers a time to take a rest from the chaotic lifestyle and having a closer look at the streets of the city. Unlike Kathmandu, in Biratnagar, we can see chiya and coffee wala on most of the street— carrying small kettle and selling them in little paper cups. 

And lastly, I love Biratnagar for the courageous soul that it carries. Last year when it rained here, I wondered if the city will come to normalcy. I observed roads, airport and houses being over flown by rainwater. However, I was amazed to see the vendors selling vegetables and people rushing to their daily works. People somehow manage to live with the same spirit, irrespective of anything. The best part is they managed to do it with a warm smile on the faces.

This is why I love Biratnagar.

biratnagar, messy, yet, perfect,

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