'What is Kathmandu?'

KATHMANDU: Someone asked me “What is Kathmandu?”, not how Kathmandu is but what Kathmandu is. I'm not sure that is a question which could fairly be answered in one or two sentences. The essence of Kathmandu cannot be contained in a few lines because the city is a spectrum of culture, architecture, people, food, festivals, landscape and much more.

Situated between two of the heavily populated countries in the world, Nepal is a small landlocked country. Drive from north to south for a few hundred kilometres and you’d end up either in China (Tibet) or in India. Likewise, drive about a 1,000 kilometres from east to west and you’d end up in India. But packed within that small area are landscapes and cultures that you’d not find in the biggest of countries in the world. In the central hills of Nepal, forming a valley lies Kathmandu. So what is Kathmandu?

Kathmandu is the vast diversity of a lot of things. It is home to diverse cultures and traditions. Kathmandu is the assortment of colours and energy in the streets of Asan during festivals, the swarm of people, the smell of candles, fruits and nuts, the inescapable smell of dried fish opposite the Annapurna Temple. The overhanging mannequins and dusty new clothes on the streets. The packed streets of Bhotahiti and loud speakers promoting 'branded' pairs of shoes for 100 rupees.

Kathmandu is the mismanaged and congested houses that look like match boxes fallen out of order. That is the charm of it -- not everything that looks perfect is beautiful, sometimes imperfect is all you need for it to be perfection. Kathmandu is everything! Be it dusty, polluted or noisy! Kathmandu is love! Kathmandu is HOME! I was just asked a question and I replied to the person in a few sentences, but I wanted to say all this and much more.