You cannot have all the good things in the world and Nepal, surely, is not an exception. We are not proud of the fact that Nepal closes down (Nepal Bandh) at times of political turmoil, but in any developing country one or the other such traits is common. Strikes and shutdowns is not a new thing for us but for a person from another country, it can be terrifying.
The next week is the elections, so a lot of strikes and shutdowns could be expected. But you can make the most of this situation and the first step is, don’t stay locked inside your hotel rooms! The protest would go on but you will see a lot of people travelling on foot. Kathmandu is not a very big place and you can travel to a lot of places in the same way. But, if you are not much into walking you can always hire a bicycle.
You may have already been through Kathmandu, so you might want to go to some new places. Nepal Bandh may have closed some path but it has also opened new paths that would have been hard to go through in a normal day. I would suggest you to go to the old city areas of Kathmandu like Ason tole, Bhedasingh and other galis (alleys) and small temples you may not have been to, before. If you are new to this place you can always ask people for directions or if you know someone, ask them to show you around.
I was born and raised here and I love strolling around old Kathmandu. The tight walls between the houses, here, everything looks so congested until you enter into the galis where you’ll find a lot of wide spaces. You will probably find a temple of some sort after every 10 steps. Nepal Bandh gives you more time to get intimate with Kathmandu. Just take a stroll around and you will find a lot of intricate design and architecture from ancient times.
What’s astonishing is the height of 3- 4 storey houses, they’re real short! Now Nepalese are not the tallest people on earth but looking at those houses always gets me thinking ‘Were our ancestors really that small?’ Whenever I go to a relative’s house in the old town, I need to watch my head while walking as there are many areas that are too short for us.
I can just go on and on with the details of old Kathmandu! If you want to go to a place full of people, then head down to the Durbar Square where you can enjoy feeding the birds. Here, it is said that feeding the birds everyday takes the burden of your sins away. I can’t do it everyday but once a while it is a good past time and these bandhs are perfect for it.
The quiet streets and pollution free air are major bonuses in bandhs and ironically, you may find all this more relaxing. Having said that, I wouldn’t want you wandering off on streets and getting yourself in any danger, so keep close to your hotels and try not to travel in public vehicles during this time. If you are in constant contact with agencies, you can always ask them for secure ways to travel. Whatever the reasons are for your trip to Nepal, we only want you to have the best time. Hope you have a great day!
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