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It’s a shock to the system, 16-hours of travel and suddenly the noise, the chaos and the colour of Kathmandu. It’s an incredible and frantic explosion on the senses after isolated seclusion of a plane.
Toot toot, beeeeep, honk honk; car horn after car horn provide a soundtrack to our arrival and amongst this noise frenzy a gentle layer of permanent dust circulates. You look around, faces and colour everywhere. Reds, blues, greens, cyan, and magenta it’s just incredible. Weary eyes through lack of sleep flick open and stay there allowing everything to soak in.
‘Namaste’ welcome to Nepal and I am encircled with a garland of orange flowers from a gleaming local. I have been in Nepal 5-minutes and I am already excited at the prospects of what lie ahead.
It’s not far, but far enough to get a taste of the life, the character and the passions of Kathmandu. Moving through the streets in a bus that feels as though it is from another time, our short journey to Hotel Shanker is soon over and we are welcomed to our base for the next two days by the team members of the ETR,
Sipping tea in our plush green surroundings while the sun beats down and the contrast between what is outside the gates and what is enclosed within them has never been more apparent.
I need to move, I need to go out and I need to explore. I need to get a feel for the place I am in and I am just desperate to take images. Pleasantries over, I go to my room, shower and leave. It’s a quick turnaround and within minutes I am walking a long dusty and unfinished road.
It’s a paradise. I love to capture life as it happens, raw, uncensored and naked. The harshness of what I see is often softened by a beaming smile or a splash of colour. The car horn symphony continues and minutes later I don’t even notice it.
A man selling apples, a girl begging, her friends a goat and a chicken while her little brother crawls around the floor in rags for clothes.
I am in my element. While others relax and catch up on lost sleep, I am wired.
Kathmandu is the capital and largest urban agglomerate of Nepal. Kathmandu is the gateway and it serves as a nerve center for tourism and as such, the variety of services and culture on offer is wide.
Rich in history, most of Kathmandu’s people follow Hinduism and many others follow Buddhism. It is a cosmopolitan melting pot and English is widely spoken.
As I walk, flowers (Rangoli) adorn many shops/ homes, pavements are coloured with paints or powders and everyone is in a festive mood. It’s a very important time of the year. A religious festival is taking place.’Tihar’ also known as Deepawali in terai region of Nepal is a five-day-long Hindu and Buddhist festival celebrated in Nepal which comes soon after Dashain. Tihar means the festival of lights, where many candles are lit both inside and outside the houses to make it bright at night. The five-day festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crow, cow and dog, who maintain an intense relationship with the humans. People make things outside of their house, called “Rangoli” in Nepali & Hindi, to make their Home look attractive & beautiful at night. (from ©Wikipedia)
Darkness soon arrives and with it, time to relax. The evening will provide everyone with an opportunity to get together and discuss the up and coming adventure.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, will be a day of exploring. I can’t wait, And just think, I haven’t even had a glimpse of the mountains, peaks or trails yet.