It has been a year since a massive earthquake hit Nepal, destroyed so many historical monuments, erased numerous villages and killed thousands of people. We were in Bhutan at the time, and could feel the earth trembling under our feet even though we were nearly a thousand kilometers away from the epicenter. Life is slowly getting back to normal, but evidences of the earthquake’s destructive power are still visible throughout the Kathmandu valley. Despite receiving an enormous amount of financial aids from foreign governments and agencies, the Nepalese Government has not been able to enact an efficient disaster relief plan. Our guide, Ram, told us that his village home collapsed after the earthquake. They need at least $5,000 to rebuild it, but so far has got a mere $250 emergency fund from the Government. The slow progress of reconstruction results in many people still living in temporary tents without clean water and electricity. Even heritage sites are not cleared of rubble yet. It looks like the country is a long way from total recovery.
Hanuman Dhoka, Durbar Square
This palace complex is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Kathmandu. It is also one of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu valley. Most of the buildings are made of bricks and wood, so I’m not surprised that many were damaged during the earthquake.
I’m not sure how longer this can hold
Beautiful carved windows
Very intricately carved columns
So many beautiful windows…
A man praying in front of the famous Hanuman statue, which is now engulfed by heavy scaffolding
The top of a stone pillar is now lying on the ground
Temple rubble is now home to hundreds of pigeons
An architectural surprise – erotic carvings on roof supports of Jagganath Temple in Durbar Square
Locals hanging out in Durbar Square
Shiva and his consort looking down on Kathmandu’s Durbar Square from a high window in the Shiva Prabati temple
Kumari House, home to Nepal’s living goddess, survived the earthquake. But its facade is shored up with wooden beams.
This is the most important Hindu Temple in Kathmandu. Even though non-Hindu visitors are not allowed inside the temple, the temple still attracts a lot of tourists, as the riverbanks of the holy Bagmati river is a popular place for cremations. Most tourists are respectful of local customs and stay on one bank of the river, while the bathing ritual and cremation ceremony are performed on the other bank. This place reminds me of Varanasi in India.
On the way to the temple
Tourists and monkeys on one bank, dead bodies and mourning relatives on the other bank of the river
The deceased is first blessed in a bathing ritual
The body is then lifted from the ghat…
…and carried to the cremation site…
Once it’s all done, the ash is wiped down the river. Ash and debris built up over the years now almost block the river. There’s no water flow, and in some parts, the river is reduced to a small waterway.
Swayambhunath Stupa (the Monkey Temple)
We walked from our hotel to the temple
Chicken for sales
A cremation by the side of the road
A painted Buddha statue
Monkey roaming around the temple complex
Climbing 365 steps up to the Stupa
The great stupa in Tibetan style
Some parts of the temple complex were damaged by the earthquake last year
A priest was performing a ceremony for some locals
There are so many souvenir shops inside the temple complex
A monkey eating food offerings
View of Kathmandu from the temple