Odd Things in Bhaktapur

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  • This is the cultural capital of Kathmandu Valley, so round the year they have celebrations and rituals, which are a whole lot of fun, sometimes unique and oftentimes downright bizaare. What you see below is an elaborate, two-hour long puja that took place for….. wait for it… GUNS! Gun PujaThat’s right. The entire ceremony was very sober and all the attendees were appropriately solemn and straight-faced, which, of course, made the whole thing unbelievably entertaining.
  • What do you with an ancient 10th century pagoda? Give it heritage status and treat it like the rare architectural jewel that it is? Sure, that’s fine and everything, but what can you really do with it? Well, if it’s an open floor, here’s a thought: turn it into a restaurant. And that, largely sums up the situation of the Nyatapola pagoda-turned-restaurant. You can sip coffee at the very top and keep an eagle eye on the goings-on in Taumadi Square; and while you’re at it, take a moment to soak in the fact that you’re really-truly consuming a beverage within the premises of a historical building, which, anywhere else in the world would be enough to get you clapped behind bars. Odd Things in BhaktapurUnsurprisingly, the place does roaring business because, heck, everyone wants to say I had a chilled latte inside a 10th century pagoda in Nepal, including yours truly. Which is obviously very cool, but what baffles me is how the restaurant administration managed to pull off this feat. Imagine a paani puri wala getting a permit to set up shop on top of Qutb Minar. There would be riots.
  • Collapsible wooden ties are a thing- for real. You can wear them and everything.
  • This walled city is several centuries old and people continue to live in their ancestral homes, which are also several centuries old, and they are totally relaxed about this. This stumps me. If I had to live in a historical monument, I’d be jumpy all the time. If you accidentally drop something heavy and chip the steps, you’ve not just chipped the steps; you’ve destroyed a priceless artifact of your rich and glorious heritage and robbed the world and future generations of a rare and irreplaceable part of your culture. It’s unimaginably stressful. The people of Bhaktapur have nerves of steel.




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