Kathmandu and the earthquake

They say that you can re-read books or re-watch films; they never change with time, while you certainly do and so experience the work in a new way. I relish the chance to visit the same place twice because not only will I be different but no place remains entirely the same. Unfortunately this is not always a change for the better. Almost exactly two years ago to the day I was back in Kathmandu. What happened in between was a devastating earthquake.

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For me there are few places that feel more exotic than Kathmandu, even the name conjures up a far-flung, remote place. Once leaving the backpacker hub of Thamel you can wander along the streets and find yourself in peculiar temples or busy streets
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Or you can see a typical and colourful shopping scene
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I was eager to revisit the city’s Durbar Square where previously I had a great experience soaking up the atmosphere of temples and Nepali life
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Many distinctive temples are close together
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I was intrigued to see the damage that the 7.8 magnitude 2015 earthquake did to the city’s cultural heritage. Nearly 9000 people died in the earthquake
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The damage is plain to see. Some temples look ready to fall apart
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Many buildings are helped by numerous wooden supports
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This image from the first time I visited Durbar Square is one of my favourite photos. I love the fun and joy the children had in chasing the pigeons
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Nowadays they still chase the pigeons but they have to dodge the rumble
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Also from my first trip you see that the temples are busy places for locals to meet, relax and chillout. In fact you can see the signs of a music video that was being shot there 2 years ago
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Same place but very different. This temple was utterly destroyed (as far as I can tell)
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It was sad to see the destruction. I remember the tower in the centre being at least twice as high, I did climb up and remembered having a wonderful view. I don’t want to compare the physical loss to the thousands who lost their lives or were injured; that is undoubtedly a huge tragedy however the cultural heritage belongs to all Nepalis and it is also a tragedy of sorts
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However reconstruction is happening but progress is slow and will take many more years. I think this was a project funded by the Germans
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Not to be too downbeat, there is still a nice vibe to the place and lots of people are still around and enjoying life
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I also visited the nearby Durbar Square of Bhaktapur (for the first time). I hired a guide (he must have been persuasive) and he asked why I thought the doors were so low here. Not wanting to fall into the trap of the typical answer that it’s because Nepalese are short I guessed that it must be because it forces people to bow their heads upon entering. This was the correct answer and the brownie points gained caused me a ridiculous amount of happiness haha

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Hi mum. Tallest temple in all of Nepal
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A highly ornate and intricate craving so typical of the Kathmandu valley

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A reminder of the area’s active seismology on the day I was due to leave. I think this wasn’t serious, at least I couldn’t find any news about it after the fact

Next up: India!

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