Seeing the Sites of the City: Durbar Square

After school one day I noticed several youth at the church talking. I thought that I would stop and say hi before I went home. I met some new friends and chatted with some I already knew. A group of them – Kiran (not our Kiran), Santosh, and John – asked me if I would like to go visiting with them. I didn’t have any plans for the afternoon so I said, “Sure, but who are we going to visit.” All I got were strange looks. Apparently we were not communicating clearly. I asked again, “Who are we going to visit?” One of them replied, “To the tourist area.” And I repeated while laughing, “Yes but who?” They laughed also and told me, “We are visiting you!”

That is just one of the many miscommunications I have everyday. 🙂

We tried to get our sister Sarah to come along with us but she had other work to do. So, it was me and the three boys. They were eager to hang out with me and practice their English speaking skills. I was delighted to travel around the city and see new places. I’ve discovered in the past week that Kathmandu has so so much to offer. I am sure the more familiar I become with the city, the more surprised I will be. As I’m taken different places by various routes, I’m beginning to see how everything is connected and learn which districts are in which directions. It’s not as confusing as it seems, thankfully.

The boys wanted to take me to one of Nepal’s famous sites that it is known for worldwide – the Durbar Square. It was only a few minutes ride by bus. The square is a very historic location still damaged by the earthquake that occurred many years ago. But the earthquake didn’t destroy the beauty and culture. There are many entrances into the square, but four distinct entrances are covered by archways and form the ‘square’ boundaries. We walked up to the first archway to enter and were stopped by an official who told they boys that because I was a tourist I needed to pay an entrance fee. He pointed to a sign that explained rules. The boys shrugged their shoulders and turned to leave. I felt bad for keeping us out because none of us had the money to afford my expensive fee. I told the boys we could come again and next time I would bring money. Santosh turned to me and said, “It’s no problem. We will find another way in.” I stood shocked not knowing if I had heard him right. He, however, new exactly what he meant. After winding through some narrow city streets past dogs, pigeons, cows and chickens, we passed through an alley way. I looked ahead and heard Santosh say, “Welcome sister. We are here.”

Durbar Square is filled with tall temples with staircases leading to the top. Statues fill the pathways cared out of wood and stone by hand. The artwork is exquisite; the detail so rare. Shops line the brick streets with vendors selling artwork, jewelry, clothing, toys, most of which are also hand crafted. And of course there is food! Everywhere traditional Nepali food can be found. The boys treated me to some vanilla ice cream that tasted like cake batter, delicious!

Because I didn’t exactly know what “visiting” meant I failed to bring my camera along. The boys did take several pictures of us and I hope to return in the future and spend more time photographing and shopping. I’ve added a picture that is not my own so you can get a feel for the Square. It’s a one of a kind place that must be experienced. Come to Nepal in October and I will show you around.

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