People say Kathmandu is dusty when it doesn’t rain and muddy when it does but it always looks surreal and mesmerizing to me. And I especially enjoy nighttime in Kathmandu. Have you ever strolled around aimlessly once dusk falls? I always find myself wandering around the streets of New Road, Durbar Marg, or Thamel before I head home after a busy day at work.
The hustle bustle of the capital city seems to settle down and there is a comforting pace to life. This has a very calming effect on me, one that often calls for a lot of introspection and reorganizing of thoughts. From college students catching up with friends over a cup of tea before heading home to people shopping on their way back home from office, there is a lot that happens once the scorching heat gives way to soothing cool breeze in the evenings.
Just a few years earlier, you would see a lot of tourists and very few Nepalis in Thamel but that scenario has changed now. It is mostly youngsters who can be seen in the numerous restaurants and pubs that line the streets of Thamel. There will be couples canoodling to some jazz music, groups of friends celebrating birthdays or anniversaries, and even kids with their families having ice cream or just window-shopping almost every single day. There is a leisurely pace to life that’s missing during the daytime.
I recently asked a young couple what they loved about the nightlife in Kathmandu and they said that with more youngsters out on the streets till 10-11pm at night, it doesn’t feel unsafe like it used to before.
Another girl said that it’s the music scene that she enjoys the most. With more and more bands coming up, there’s a lot of good music waiting to be discovered, she said. Her friend said that Kathmandu streets are friendlier in the evenings as compared to daytime because you don’t need a purpose to be somewhere. He said you could casually perch yourself on the side of the pavement while munching on a sandwich and no one would bother you. In the daytime, it’s a little hard to be that inconspicuous, he joked.
The reasons are varied but one thing is certain: Kathmandu’s charm in the evenings is unparalleled. There is something for everybody to enjoy when the dust settles down, the lights come on, and the city takes a different avatar.