Magical Kathmandu mesmerizes me


#SwipeRightToTravel The fresh Himalayan air filled my lungs and tousled my hair. The bluish white mountains were partially visible as the billowing clouds covered them. The monks in their maroon saffron robes walking in the streets was a common sight. I knew I was in Nepal, in Kathmandu to be precise.

'Kathmandu houses variety of ethnicities. There are Indians, Tibetans, Sherpas, Rais, Limbus, Gurungs and Newars who are Kathmandu's original inhabitants.' The manager of the hotel where I was staying informed me.

Lot of colourful shops selling mask, Kurkis which are Nepali knives, Tibetan carpets, caps, jackets, bags, thanka paintings, food, jewelry dot the streets of Kathmandu. In some streets traffic is banned especially in the mornings so that people from countryside can set their stalls. There are many vegetarian restaurants at Kathmandu. I ate gobi paratha at one of those restaurants for my breakfast. I had a cup of tea in an open air stall. Sipping piping hot tea in the cold air of Kathmandu is a magical experience.

I visited the Kumari Devi temple where the living goddess resides. Young girls are chosen and worshipped as Goddess Durga. The living goddess enjoys a royal life only until she attains puberty. Thereafter she is replaced by another girl. Once dethroned the life of these young girls is very miserable. Marrying them is supposed to bring bad luck. So no one marries them. Such age old traditions need to be modified to give a better life to these young girls.

The old palace is worth a visit. There are images of Hanuman and Narsimha at the gate. From the nine storey Basantpur tower one gets a good view of the Basantapur Square, Freak street and the mountain studded skyline of Kathmandu. The Basantpur tower itself is a masterpiece of wooden architecture.

A visit to Kathmandu cannot be complete without visiting the Swayambhunatha, which is a Buddhist Stupa. It is located on a hilltop. It is believed many many years ago the city of Kathmandu was a lake and Swayambhunatha was an island in it. I moved my fingers across the prayer wheels. These prayer wheels contain sacred texts and are meant for those who cannot read and write. I stood before the huge statue of Buddha. There was queue in front of the priest who was performing some rituals. I was not interested in performing any. But at the same time I must confess that visit to Kathmandu and Swayambhunatha in particular gave me immense peace of mind.

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