I set off wandering through Thamel to attempt to reach Swoyambuthan temple up in the hill. Armed with a crap map and a good sense of direction I found the tiny signs and meandered out of the back of Thamel towards the temple up on the hillside. It can’t be that hard to get to, as its so visible on the hill top, or so I assumed.
It was nice to wander the back streets through housing areas and local neighbourhoods to see places tourists in Thamel rarely venture through. My sense of direction was a bit off, and while I got there in the end it was certainly not the most direct route.
Also known as ‘monkey’ temple I was disappointed to see only a handful of monkeys there, perhaps with the lack of tourists they too have moved on. The temple sits on top of a hill meaning there are a hundred or so steep steps to access it. The temple and surrounding buildings must be well built as they have suffered only a little in the earthquake and what damage there has been is already being repaired. Having no idea which way I wandered to get there, instead of getting lost trying to retrace my steps I jumped in a taxi back to Thamel to see Kathmandu’s Durbar Square. When I arrived there was a small festival taking place for Hindu women.
While Bhaktapur seems to have lost the most tourists, Kathmandu’s Durbar Square has definitely lost the most buildings in the earthquake. And yet, it’s still an amazing place – no less interesting for some of the buildings being in ruins.
I was surprise to find the former museum partially open with its rear courtyard accessible despite severe damage. While restoration work is underway it’s clear it’s going to take many years.