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Summary and Index

Kathmandu: backstreets, Durbar Square and the Royal Palace.

We spend the next few days wandering around Kathmandu, going also to Swayambunath, Pasupatinath, Patan and on our last day going to Namobuddha.

In Kathmandu it’s delightful to explore the medieval quarters and specialist shops, narrow lanes and hidden courtyards with their profusion of statues of Ganesh and the Buddha. I bought a small clay elephant in the pottery square in 1980. It’s a simple sculpture with soft, fluid like legs and small impressions of a wheel stamped on the ears and saddle cloth. I can’t see anything so delightful this time, the pots are more mundane but porters rest here on the central pavilion, waiting for work. We cross through Durbar Square, entry Rs 750, to a rooftop cafe overlooking a political rally at the end of Freak Street.

The cafe overlooks the Royal Palace and we return past the statue of Black Bhairab to enter the courtyards of the Palace. The carvings, buildings and spaces are stunning though the museum is rather dull. Tall Nepali Palace guards stand to attention but are not averse to talking. I’m told that a figure I took to be an unusual form of Hanuman, the monkey god, is someone else, someone I’ve not heard of. His fingers are inside a wound in the side of a female figure. The 9 storey pagoda is a fantastic building, from the interior you get a wonderful and fascinating understanding of how these magnificent Newari buildings were constructed.

We eat disappointing food at Kilroys, a large popular, partly outdoor restaurant with a water feature that covers one outside wall. A sort of sophisticated place for the in crowd.


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