Thursday, October 3, 2013

Roaming Around Patan Darbar Square

This is Day 10 of Nepal Travelogue (May 22, 2013)
 Day 11 Day 9  
An Antique Prayer Bell at Patan Darbar Square
After exploring the jungle we returned back to Kathmandu, which is not only a hub for trekkers heading to high Himalayas but also a place worth exploring in its own. 

Kathmandu Zoo

Before shifting the gear fully to sight-seeing mode we first concluded the wildlife episode by visiting the Kathmandu Zoo. Since it was in the proximity to Zaeem’s workplace (our hosts in Kathmandu) he offered us the ride and also took his son Rafan for the outing.

Kathmandu’s Central Zoo is the only zoo in Nepal – perhaps a country so rich in wildlife might not need even one! Nonetheless, it was a good experience. Most of the animals were brought from the tropical sanctuaries around the region and looked well kept – if I compare that to Karachi Zoo. The giant hippo was in activity mood attracting spectators’ attention while the Bengal tiger, whom we could not meet in the jungle, was also getting restless.

Apart from the animals, the interesting thing was the entrance fee. Ticket for locals was priced at NPR 100 while it was NPR 500 for foreigners, five times dearer. There I successfully distorted my Urdu to sound more like a local, or Indian, to get the subsidized one: all’s fair in travel and love!

Kathmandu Zoo - Ticket Counter
The Hip Hippo
Hey Big Mouth!
Rhino Asks Where's My Horn?
Bengal Tiger in Nepal!
A Nepali Buffalo
Study Tour
Studious Ones
And the Weird One!
Patan Darbar Square

After ogling enough at flying squirrels and other weird species we walked to Patan to visit the antique Darbar Square; a ‘must see’ sight in Nepal. Actually there are three such squares; each in Kathmandu’s three valleys – Kathmandu downtown, Patan, and Bhaktapur, collectively designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the middle of everywhere, Darbar Square was as bustling and thriving as it could be with archaic structures spread all around. Architecture was impressive and reminiscent of various periods in country’s history. Again I found the site well maintained especially when judged against to such comparable places around Karachi, e.g. Makli, etc.

Although it was fenceless, i.e. no apparent restriction to wander around the busy street, government found its own ways to differentiate tourists from locals to obviously charge them. As soon as the proceeds are going for the upkeep of this historical treasure, I guess no one would mind being charged reasonably.

In the morning Kathrine graciously invited us for the in-house dinner; so after a day of sightseeing we rushed back to our home in Kathmandu where sumptuous grilled chicken, stuffed with flavorsome vegetables, was waiting for us. Post feast we had a cup of coffee together with our kind hosts and shared our traveling and other life experiences at length. The best part was that the kids, ours and theirs, also clicked in promising a good time in the coming days.
Going Towards Patan Darbar Square
An Ancient Structure at Patan Darbar Sqaure
The Big Bang
Patan Darbar Square from the Top
Darbar Square's Busy Street
This is Where Sacrificial Buffalo Are Tied Up
The Green Backyard
People Lined up for the Holy Water
Traditional Nepali Cap
And Pajama
A 'Rath' Was in the Making Near Jawalakhel
This Rath was to be Paraded in the Coming Festival
Today’s Bills – in Nepali Rupees
300 Sight Seeing Entrance Ticket: Kathmandu Zoo
90 Food Cone Ice Cream!
200 Sight Seeing Entrance Ticket: Patan Darbar Square
130 Food Snacks
30 Logistics Bus - Lagankhel to Nakhu
0 Accommodation Couch Surfing!
750 Total for May 22, 2013
28390 Total as of Today

Traveler's Tip # 19: Keep Kathmandu at the Tail-End of Your Nepal Trip
Most of the tourists in Nepal first arrive in Kathmandu and then spread around the countryside either for trekking or for exploring religious and wilderness sites. Kathmandu is itself worth spending 3-4 days as there are various cultural and historical sites skipping which will be a big mistake. However, it would be better to keep Kathamdnu sight-seeing at the tail-end of the trip, i.e. before departure, rather than doing right after landing there. This strategy will give you an emergency buffer in case you may not return back to Kathmandu in time due to various reasons, such as logistic hurdles, which is not uncommon in the mountainous Nepal.

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