Let’s face it. You can either love Kathmandu or hate Kathmandu. But you can’t ignore Kathmandu. If divided into two, the ones loving Kathmandu would be very less. Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. It is the city of refugees with people from all over Nepal and has a population over 5 million. It’s the most populated city in the country.
At some point of the day, each person (including me) hates this city. There are familiar candidates for the reason of this hatred.
Kathmandu is nowadays characterized by the hazy mornings, dusty day, muddy noon and lightless nights or bright nights to be crystal clear. Over the course of time, Kathmandu has been neologised or replaced by more convincing names such as Dhulomandu, Hilomandu, Vidmandu, Fohormandu and more. The fusion of millions of automobiles, their exhaust, horn they produce and the curse word their captain uses during a never-ending traffic jam is the particular scenario of everyday Kathmandu. Nobody is as busy as the traffic police officer in the city. Explaining why you are late to school, college or job is the part of life now. An airplane crashing with a bird, airplane punctured in the only international runway of the country is rather unfortunate news that brought up Kathmandu among the international society. Rivers in Kathmandu have lost their original charms and mixed with the residential drainage is only the odor releasing mediums. I bet the fish are long gone to Terai. No need to mention that it is the second dirtiest city in the world. To add up the accolades, recently WHO has described the atmosphere of Kathmandu as Carcinogenic.
Since the day Manjushree cut the mountain to let the lake flow, there is always a shortage of water in Kathmandu. This has drastically changed the lifestyle. The proportion of people wearing jeans is ridiculously reduced. Dishes shouldn’t be done on regular basis. Clothes are selected based on the relatively less dirty looking capacity of it and once it becomes dirty, is recycled with the less dirty ones and so on.
The climate of Kathmandu is one of its kind. The 12 pm Sun has made all the beautiful girls of the city covered in a Muslimisque burkha type mufflers. If blessed with heavy rainfall, thanks to the not so proper drainage system, almost all the roads in the city look like streams in which muddy water and sometimes few scooter floats.
For a newcomer, walking through the belly of the city is like walking through a maze. The similarity of the gullies is quite confusing. Taking a public transport in Kathmandu is so challenging. At buzzing hours, to get a bus is a tedious task. The winter is so cold that it is difficult to do your usual routines.
Like the Gotham city has Don Falconi and Don Marouani, Kathmandu has their own Don Chari and Don Ghaite. Being the populated society, Kathmandu has never been free from thugs. People get robbed, gang fights on different streets are not a new topic for the daily headlines.
The reality of the country is not only in its negativities but also in its positivities. Yes, Kathmandu is not perfect but boy she is beautiful. For a city which has witnessed devastating earthquakes several times, digesting all the complaints and curse of people is a cake walk. Still, Kathmandu is a city full of temples and blessings. It is a place that caught the eye of the most visionary person in Nepal’s history, Prithvi Narayan Shah. It is the administrative nucleus of the country from where legendary kings (Gopals, Licchavis, Mallas, and Shahs) have ruled the country in different time-period and has served so well in doing so. It is the city which has seven world heritage sites namely Durbar square of Hanuman dhoka, Patan and Bhaktapur, Hindu temples Pashupatinath and Changunarayan and Buddhist monasteries Soyambhu and Bouddha which reflects how rich and diversified the city is cultural.
The large palace of a Hindu king near to the sacred masjid of Muslims depicts how deeply rooted secularism and communal harmony in the country is. It is home to the only living goddess “Kumari”. It’s a historical city proud of its arts, flora and fauna, architecture. For a single city, to be so rich in history is extraordinary.
It’s only a timely reminder of what Kathmandu stands for. For a city to have such a rich history, it’s a shame to see the current state of the city. In this time, when the head of the state is busy making some potential hypothesis of installing bullet train in the city or gas lines in each house, all we need is a lovely city, clean and peaceful, full of passionate people having a responsibility, intensity, and emotions spread in its atmosphere. As a coin has two sides, so does Kathmandu. People for the sake of their sophistication has made Kathmandu worse. But, without blaming each other, let us realize our mistakes and be sensitive enough to raise Kathmandu back to its glory days.
IF NOT KATHMANDU, WHERE
IF NOT NOW, WHEN
IF NOT YOU, WHO
P.S: In 2013, Tripadvisor ranked Kathmandu 3rd all over the world and 1st in Asia in theirs must visit places.
So break your piggy bank, hop of the plane. Paradise awaits.