The Collection: When Nepal Was A Kingdom

Reflections and some reminiscing of my first trip to Nepal, which was also my first time abroad! It was like visiting another planet …. a totally different culture ….. religion, language, customs, food ……. But it was an introduction to my new family.

1. Travel & Arrival

Imagine marrying someone from a different country from your own, and for 12 years they are not allowed to return! The reasons are extremely complex and nothing to do with family and everything to do with politics. My wife, Dr C, was the first ever woman from Nepal to get a PhD in 1971, the year we were married. Yet despite her being granted British citizenship we were told that the Nepal government \”wanted her back\”! Now skip forward to 1983, we have two children, 7 & 5 years, have saved enough money for the air fares but have no extra money at all, so …….. Sod it, we’re going and to hell with the Nepal government! These are extracts from a daily handwritten journal I kept. No photos from that time …… we didn’t even have a camera of our own! Read more ….

2. Champa and the Merchant

Our first whole day in Kathmandu after a fitful nights sleep under a mosquito net. Left Chauuni at around 9.30am waiting for a taxi near Swayambhu. Champa had warned me about queuing for things in Nepal …….. You don’t! So when the first one arrived …. Whoosh, it was full before you could blink, so next time Champa showed me how to do it with elbows, grab the door, push, shove, easy really. She’s quite good at it, as I would discover more about later. Read more ….

3. Food Is A Gift and a Blessing

Today was a strange day, just not understandable at the time though I get it now. A Saturday, the only day that workers get off in Nepal as they work for 6 days every week. We decided to have a \”quiet day\”. Read more ….

4. A Tale of Three Cities

Once upon a time, in the years before Nepal was unified as a whole country by Prithvi Naryan Shah, the Kathmandu Valley comprised more than one state with three capital cities; Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, and Kathmandu itself whose name derives from the original Kasthamandap (House of wood). Lalitpur is modern day Patan. I didn’t know any of this until I bought some old and battered books in a small shop near Tundikhel and started asking my new family lots of questions. This is therefore a tale of three cities. Read more ….

5. What is a Buddhist Stupa?

“There’s a one eyed yellow idol to the north of Kathmandu”! I knew this poem as a schoolboy, and never dreamed I would marry someone from Nepal, visit the country many times, walk amongst monasteries and temples, and become a Buddhist myself. These are not the sort of things that happen to a boy from a poor working class background in England. Read more ….

6. Bhaktapur the Third City

By now we were really starting to feel like tourists! Taxi rides, city visits, looking at temples, palaces, museums ….. A different experience from meeting and visiting family, sharing food, family stories and living almost the Nepali way. These were the thoughts buzzing around as we got out of the taxi at the entrance to Bhaktapur Durbar Square. To get here we had driven past brickworks and kilns belching smoke into the atmosphere next to acres and acres of agricultural land of rice and so many vegetable fields. This area is the food basket of Kathmandu and the home to the Newari Jyapu (farmers) and also to Newar Craftsmen famed especially for their wood carving skills. Read more ….

7. Champa Goes Home

Imagine leaving home in September 1968 to attend university in a foreign country and not returning to your parents, brothers, sisters until August 1983; married, with two children, now the most educated woman in your country, the first with a doctorate. And now, you are going to walk into the house where you were born, played, grew up, and began school, after all those years: scary! Read more ….


Footnote:

Enjoyed this collection of posts? Then you might like the book it inspired “An Englishman in Nepal.”




Categories: Collections, Nepal

Tags: , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. A long read but a fascinating one! I read each section and enjoyed the exotic location and the colourful scenes. Just one thing would have made it complete – captions on some of the pix. Nevertheless, this was a really great read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. what a wonderful travelogue of yur trip to Nepal. Must be nice to goback and read this; I’m sure doing so brings back wonderful memories…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good advice, I need to after the last 2 years!

    Like

  4. The pair of you have had some amazing experiences, well -worth recording for others to enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

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