The city is dusty and the traffic maddening but Kathmandu is still beautiful. There’s a lot that this city has to offer that we often end up overlooking in our rush to get to work and finish our daily chores. But then you can always put the weekend to good use. We urge you to take some time out this Saturday-Sunday to explore the city you live in and see it in a new light. Here’s how:
Get to know its rich history
According to ancient history, Kathmandu was a city built by cutting and draining a lake, with a sword. Nothing can come close to that when talking about the history of cities around the world. From all the people who have lived in Kathmandu since the city was formed, it has carried hints of their existence in the form of languages, architecture, and tradition. It has also been the center of revolutions that have occurred in Nepal and has been a symbol of resilience for all Nepali people. And you can relive these moments by visiting museums, reading books, or maybe just by taking a stroll through the city. Every road has a temple and each temple has a unique story. Plus, anecdotes from our parents or grandparents’ lives and experiences in Kathmandu make for some pretty good family time.
Catch a play at a theater near you
Like Shakespeare says, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”. Sure, the movie halls are cool and smell like fresh popcorn but have you ever been seated cross-legged on a mattress while actors give you a chilling ‘live’ performance right in front of your eyes? Well, it is a feeling like no other. The theaters are a relatively unknown but one of the ‘gems’ of Kathmandu. The stories are progressive and reflective, the actors are mostly brilliant and the effort is respectable and admirable. So, an evening at a theater near you, be it Shilpee, Katha Ghera or Mandala, is surely going to lift up your spirits and also give you something to brag about to your friends. According to Peter Brooks, an English theater director “Every form of theater has something in common with a visit to the doctor. On the way out, one should always feel better than on the way in.” And we couldn’t agree more.
Explore the hidden alleys
The alleys of Kathmandu are a wonder on their own. As kids, most of us were left in awe at how our mothers could find the smallest little shop in the smallest little alley in New Road. The people, lights, and noise were all so overwhelming and our small hands were determined to never let go of our mother’s hands. But as we grew up, we could all see the appeal of knowing and recognizing such alleyways. It is like a treasure hunt of sorts, where you brush your shoulders against a stranger and walk past all the unregistered faces like in a montage of a ‘noir’ film but your treasure is your favorite ‘book shop’ or ‘tea shop’, rather than a booty at the end of the rainbow. And, of course, we all know now not to be fooled by the glamour of big shops near the roads. To find something of good quality and at reasonable price to boot one has to look deep in the alleyways.
Sample the local food
Most of us have an exclusive local eatery, where the food is delicious, the host courteous and the price right within our budget and sometimes even well under it. It is where you and your friends can make all the noise without getting unwanted stares. Kathmandu is a haven when it comes to local food. From Newari delicacies to Tibetan dishes, everything is available and one just needs to look at the right place. There is a ‘chat’ and ‘pani puri’ seller at almost every turn of the street and we all have our favorites. Often times, eating out at local joints isn’t just light on the wallet but the taste and portion make for good meals. Other times, you just have to accept the probability of not making it to work or school the next day and indulge the suspicious looking yet for sure delicious ‘chatpate’.
Visit some tourist sites and attractions
One doesn’t have to be a foreigner to enjoy the beauty of the Durbar Squares or the Stupas, no matter what time of year it is. Head over to Boudha, armed with a selfie stick and a pair of sunglasses this weekend. Or go to Hanuman Dhoka or Krishna Mandir. Sip on some warm milk tea as you take in the brilliant architecture at these places. People from all over the world, especially India, come to Nepal to visit the Pashupatinath temple. And while locals of Kathmandu might pass by the place without giving it much thought or even a glance, we recommend you
go there to watch the aarati at seven in the evening. There are also other places and temples all over the city that deserve a closer inspection. So put on your walking shoes and set about to discover the city that has so much to offer in terms of heritage and culture.