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.

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
Or you can see a typical and colourful shopping scene
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
Many distinctive temples are close together
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
The damage is plain to see. Some temples look ready to fall apart
Many buildings are helped by numerous wooden supports
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
Nowadays they still chase the pigeons but they have to dodge the rumble
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
Same place but very different. This temple was utterly destroyed (as far as I can tell)
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
However reconstruction is happening but progress is slow and will take many more years. I think this was a project funded by the Germans
Not to be too downbeat, there is still a nice vibe to the place and lots of people are still around and enjoying life
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


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


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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