October 28, 1999 Teahouse Features Commentary Poetry Horoscopes Ad Info
|Mysterious Kathmandu |
Few cities in the world can stir the imagination like Kathmandu in Nepal.. Lauded by writers, singers and poets, this city truly is caught in a time warp between the old and the new.
During the 60's revolution, Kathmandu was a popular destination for hippies looking for gurus or to escape the draft. Today Kathmandu serves as a transit point for people seeking to trek the magnificent Himalayas.
However, Kathmandu has an attraction of its own that is undeniable. Despite being nestled between two massive mountain ranges, the city has not been isolated from the outside world. Indeed, few areas in the world are better described as"melting pots."
The principle elements in Kathmandu potpourri are the Tibeto-Burmese peoples from the north and the multi-varied peoples of India from the south. Although the city has attracted many different peoples it has managed to avoid the fate of other cities in South Asia.
When other cities of the subcontinent were suffering invasion after invasion, Kathmandu remained secure. Part of the reason for this were the rugged mountain ranges that surround the nation of Nepal. Another probable reason for this were the rugged and courageous Gurkhas who live in the mountains to the east and west. Famed for their martial abilities, the Gurkhas and the daunting mountains complimented each other.
Part of Kathmandu's charm lies in the fact that one can often see the vast Himalayan range from the city, especially during the exact moment of sunrise. For this best views a short taxi drive will take you to Nagarkoti, where good photo opportunities are almost guaranteed.
Make no mistake about it, Kathmandu is a Third World city, and one of the poorest in the world. But people don't come here for luxury or comfort. The charm of this place lies in its "exotic" mystique, in the splendid architecture, the history and the people.
The combination of pollution and incense may get to you at first , but if you need fresh air there are always the nearby mountains. In the end, the hustle and bustle of the city can become infectious.
Kathmandu and Nepal have become increasingly popular destinations for Asian tourists. Were once hippies stayed, one can now find throngs of visitors from all regions of South and East Asia.
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