Kathmandu is made of the same substance of imaginary cities, complicated, rich and fabulous. The news of its existence to the 27 degree latitude and 85 degree longitude has traveled through time and space, changing form and content, telling each time a different city. She spoke of traders, explorers, travelers. Place of Worship, the capital of Nepal, a favorite of the hippie culture, city, Kathmandu is a messy agglomeration closed within one of the most remote valleys of the planet.
His nameless streets are congested lanes by a crowd of cyclists rattling between pebbles and puddles that never dry. At intersections, scattered everywhere, there are several Hindu temples, a prelude to the historic center of Kathmandu where are concentrated the largest number of religious buildings in the world. Here, in front of the temples piled one on top of the other the atmosphere is even more rarefied, the sun brighter, and includes legend in which Kathamndu lives.
It is said that Kantipur, one of the ancient names of Kathmandu, was founded by Gunakamadeva at the confluence of Bagamati and Vishnumati around the tenth century AD But of that period remains practically nothing but an ancient document which speaks of the existence of a wooden building, the Kastha Mandap, which later gave its name to the city. The current appearance of the old town dates back to the Malla dynasty period between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Ancient past of this city do not know anything except what items reported remote and fabulous legends.
Reach Nepal is a long and difficult journey, an adventure. The direct flights linking the country to the other continents are very few, and often it is necessary to make more calls and change different aircraft. To reach Kathmandu by plane you need to stop at the airport in Delhi, where he based the Royal Nepal Airlines. The company’s flights in Nepal are generally very expensive and suffer from long delays due to weather conditions, but once you reach the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) is made: only international airport in the country, the TIA is about six kilometers from the capital, followed with a bus or taxi.
Some prefer to reach Kathmandu overland from India. The main border crossings are: Sunauli / Bhairawa, Birkanj / Raxaul Bazaar and Kakarbhitta / Siliguri. The first cross it coming from Varanasi (Benares), the second from Calcutta, and the third is the most suitable if you come from Darjeeling. The most convenient and economical way to take a trip of this kind is by bus.
The climatic conditions of Nepal are strongly influenced by the monsoon cycle. The winter is short and not particularly cold. The snow comes to cover only the highest peaks around the city, while in the valleys the days are mostly mild and sunny. The spring period is dominated by waiting for the rain that characterize the monsoon season. Typical of this season is the constant drought which contrasts with relatively high humidity.
In the Kathmandu valley the monsoon never comes suddenly. The rain accompanied by rising temperatures are increasing gradually up to last the whole day. A low skies and heavy alternating torrential rains swell the rivers and create new streams. The end of the monsoon period marks the beginning of the best season, characterized by clear sunny days and cool nights. This is certainly the best time to visit Kathmandu, but in case you decide to go during the monsoons do not forget to pack an umbrella.
Taking new road, past the big arch Malla, the famous pipal tree and the statue of Juddha Shumshere Rana desperately plant in the middle of traffic, appear to the left twin towers of Lalitpur and Basantapur of the Royal Palace: Dubar square is the monumental center of Katmandu.
The first building you come to is the palace of the Kumari. Built during the eighteenth century. Bahal-Buddhist style, has fine carvings of the pillars, window frames and girders. The facade is covered with white lime on which there are windows covered by a grille that hides the rooms of the palace in the eyes of passers-by. Inside, in a temple frescoed, resides the Kumari, the young virgin chosen from the Buddhist Sakya clan to be worshiped as a goddess. Young is considered one of the eight Matrika goddesses representing the feminine principles of knowledge and creative power, but it is also an incarnation of Durga, wife of Shiva. Wrapped in this double gold Kumari was crowned at the age of five years and shall hold office until, due to an injury or any other reason, there is a loss of blood from his body. That of Kumari, the protector of the nation, it is a prison, inside the palace is closed for most of his office and is allowed to go out only during special ritual feasts.
Continuing west towards the center of Maru Tole, a vast area once frequented by ascetics and merchants, today dedicated to the vegetable market, we reach the Kastha Mandap. According to legend, the building, one of the most important in the history of Nepal, has been built with the wood of a single tree of heaven. And in fact its open structure is supported by a series of robust wooden columns that form a sumptuous square pavilion.
Around this building are located several temples and pagodas. Also on Maru Tole is the three-story temple dedicated to Dhansa Visnhu and built in 1673 in the heyday Malla. Adjacent to one of the four sides of the square are the Temple of gilded bronze Ashoka Vinayak and the more modest temple contains the statue of Durga Mahishamardini. But the focus will inevitably be drawn to the pagoda of Bhimsen (or Maju Dega). Built during the XVII’s mother Bhupatindra Malla, the imposing pagoda rises from a base of terraces from which you can contemplate the city in its entirety. The windows of the small temple with three roofs Narayan, besides the immense pagoda Maju Dega, are facing the statues of Shiva and Parvati that leaning toward passage of the crowd shaking in a unique embrace. The lower part of the temple is decorated by five torana, while that superore is made entirely of wood and resumes the physiognomy to open gallery of the houses Newars. A few dozen yards ahead, before reaching the Royal Palace, then you will come out on the square of Hanuman Dhoka where protected by a grating is the golden statue of Bhairav White (Seto Bhairav), placed by Bahadur Shah to protect the building from the spirits evil.
The strange white portal surmounted by a group of naive figures that can be seen just past the statue Seto Bhairav is the entrance to the Royal Palace. The palace, built in the XIV century and remodeled in the eighteenth, is today a highly complex edifice that is built around ten courtyards. The entrance opens onto the courtyard of the dancer, so named because of the presence of the statue of dancing Shiva, while the center is the platform on which are crowned kings of Nepal. The anagolo northeast of the royal complex is occupied by five pagoda roofs circular Panchmukhi Hanuman (the monkey from the five faces), while on the south rise the five floors of the Basantapur Tower, the tallest of the four that make up the Basantapur Chowk. Each of the towers has been built in a different style according to the skill of the craftsmen who built. Among the rooms of the palace are open to the public include the throne room bed, in the past dedicated to real audiences and the rooms where the museum is located in numismatics and the exposure of objects TU.
Of Hanuman Dhoka are four of the most beautiful pagodas in Kathmandu. That of Jagannath in addition to being the highest of the four owes its fame to the erotic motifs which are carved into the wood of the roof pillars. Small Mahadev Krishna Gopinath and instead are considered the most suitable place to be read the hand: what is whispered in their steps, it would have the power to come true. The last pagoda, one of Taleju was built by Mahendra Malla in 1576 and rises majestically above the city for eight floors. The carved frames of the doors, the eardrums of embossed metal, the series of figures carved on the pillars supporting the roofs golden bells that decorate the eaves and Gajur make it one of the most impressive buildings in Kathmandu.
Leaving the monumental center of the city you proceed in the old part that extends along the cross which leads to Hanuman Dhoka Rani Pokhhari. Along the way, the streets that open up between the buildings, you can still find temples, pagodas and sacred statues, but the atmosphere is replaced by the solemn spirit of the people of the city. Surrounded by people, hidden from the market stalls, covered with myriads of carpets monuments seem to disappear, giving way to a contemporary noisy and messy. In the old town you can see a set of everyday gestures that refer to the traditions of a people who, even before being a phenomenon folklore are an unforgettable human experience.
The most important events in Kathmandu are closely linked to religious festivals, occasions when the city’s population, and in particular the monks engage in religious rituals and social. Each year has the sacred moments, whose cadence goes hand in hand with the changing seasons and the motions astral.
Among the winter holiday season the most interesting is that of Holi, which takes place in February and March and lasts for eight days. The festival celebrates the victory of a disciple of Krishna on the demon Holika. On this occasion, young and old, throw buckets of water and colored powder, in a battle that does not save buildings and monuments. The festival ends on the night of the full moon, when it is raised a bamboo pole that will be carried in procession and burned in the exercises Thundikhel to honor the death of the demon in flames. Among the most ancient spring festivals is to Seto Manchendranath Rath Jatra takes place in the months of March and April and lasts four rounds. This festival consists of a series of processions of chariots carrying the statue of Moanchendranath white and Kumari to the temple of Taleju, where they will be performed the prescribed rites of the ceremony. According to tradition, the festival dates back to the second founder of Kantipur.
The party felt by the people of Nepal during the monsoon period is Gai Jatra. It takes place in August and lasts a week. The ceremonies that take place during this time paying homage to Yama, the god of death: all the families who during the year have suffered a bereavement parade a cow harnessed to yellow in a procession that includes many masks of ghosts, animals and women, and mini improvising skits satirizing current aspects of the country. The most important festival of the whole Nepal is the Dasain finally, the great harvest festival that takes place during the autumn months of September and October. The celebration lasts for ten days when the city is hit by a series of masked dances, parades and tantric rituals that do not stop even at night.
Originally posted 2012-08-29 09:49:53.