From the time we boarded the flight till we landed in Kathmandu, there was only one thing in our mind – the snow-capped peaks of Himalayas (actually what was in our mind was a selfie with that backdrop).
The Tribhovandas airport, for the amount of international tourists it handles, is surprisingly small. Add to it the local population returning to homeland from mainly the Persian Gulf countries. We literally had to trudge on the baggages, jump and manouvre to get towards the exit.
Outside, it did not look any different from any Indian city. The hotel nestled in the heart of the capital oozed class and looked like the Pandavas palace of the yore.
We went to Durbar Square and were amazed to see the riot of colours that abound this place. The flea market that sells an array of artefacts like wall hangings, wooden wares and bangles and necklaces is a sheer feast to your eyes. There are good number of monks too thrown in. The serious monks walk away from the crowd and into some obscure doors, while the less serious ones, urge you to take a photo with them; And then they ask for money!
Early morning is a good time to go to Nagarkot – a quaint village away from the din and dust of the capital Kathmandu. There is a vantage point if you locate the steps hidden behind the trees. From here you can get a lovely view of the whole village and the snow-capped peaks. The key to sight-seeing is getting a good local driver. If you have to opt between a good driver cum guide or a posh car, go for the former. We did (we didnt have a choice due to fund requirement!) and happy were we! Actually we wanted to go to Pokhran, which is a good option and a lovely place to see. But the chopper ride was damn too expensive that we had to ditch the idea and chose the closest poor cousin, Nagarkot.
There was a Memorabilia shop on top of the stairs. Looking at the distant Himalyan range on a cool February mid-morning, listening to the rendition of om mani padme hum, was super ethereal. So much so, we actually felt like celestial beings. No joking!
The Nepalese we met were smart, helpful and observent. I admire them for their grit to surivive in the extreme weather conditions, in the face of natural disasters (land slides are very common and earthquakes happen in good measures ) and political turmoil at times.
Nepal – mystic, mysterious, divine, spiritual and quaint.