Thu, 24 Jan, 2019

Kathmandu: The Valley Everybody Loves Yet Hates

By Akshath Andrew Gardner

Photo:  Dipal Malla
Kathmandu is an absolutely scenic valley - surrounded by lush hills and clear view of the Himalayas. People have compared the scenery and beauty of the valley to places in Europe. If you are a person who was brought up in Kathmandu, I am sure you feel a sense of belonging to this city as I do. I have lived all my life in Nepal but never realized what was right in front of my eyes until I got out of the country. The first time I flew back to Nepal after my first trimester of university in Thailand, the realization of having such beauty surround me all my life and to have taken no notice of it, was extremely overwhelming. I almost broke into tears. That was the day I decided I would eventually settle down in Nepal, no matter where my education took me. The Kathmandu I remember was not very different from what it is today. There are a few major changes that stand out like having electricity almost 24 hours a day, a few roads that couldn’t fit two vehicles now can, there is (will be) running water in almost every house (very soon) and the new buses and taxis. In a matter of five years, this is what has changed and what I have noticed. However, there are also things that have rather become worse than they were five years ago. Back then, the Ring Road was a route everybody took to avoid getting into traffic jams, today it is just the opposite. Lalitpur was the clean and lesser-populated part of the valley where there was less traffic and it was more organized; today there is no differentiating between Kathmandu and Lalitpur. The valley has twice the amount of dust and smog it did back then. 'Dustmandu' is what most people are dubbing this beautiful valley and the capital city of Nepal. I have faith that very soon, hopefully in a few years time, the political instability too will cease and the development of this beautiful country that I call home will progress tenfold. Already we can see major changes happening. The dust, which is quite a nuisance at the moment, will also all settle as the infrastructure (roads mostly) development plans are complete. With all the changes, some better some worse, Kathmandu is developing rapidly and all I see in this beautiful city, full of dust, full of people, full of culture and tradition, is potential. There is immense room for development. That I would say is the beauty and essence of an underdeveloped nation, the amount of opportunity available for exponential growth. No matter how dusty or dirty Kathmandu valley is, it will always be the valley that everybody loves yet hates.