After my first unsuccessful attempt at visiting Durbar Square when I went to Thamel, I was still determined to see something of historical significance here in Kathmandu. I heard from a couple of the monks that Bhaktapur was quite expensive – at least 1200 rps entry fee + another 2000-2500 rps taxi fare – so decided against that option. Durbar Square, I was also told, had many similarly styled buildings, was inexpensive, & was only a hop skip & jump away from Thamel. Sounded good….
While not overly enthusiastic, Michael said he’d play tourist with me for the day – first stop Thamel, then Durbar Square, then Swayambhunath (or Monkey Temple as it used to be called). After arriving in Thamel, Michael bought some wire string for his amethyst mala, I bought a happy sack, & we headed for a morning tea/coffee. After feeling sufficiently capable of walking to Durbar Square, not knowing where we were going, we heading off, asking lots of directions along the way. Only a few streets away from Thamel, it started getting pretty grungey, completely tourist free (except us), & more than a tad smelly with garbage lying in piles beside the road. But, apart from the festering smell, I loved the rustic feel & genuineness of the area. Michael clearly didn’t.
On arriving at Durbar Square we were directed over to pay an entrance fee of 750 rps. I argued that it was meant to be 300 rps, but it had just been raised, & only westerners had to cough up the cash. Bugger! Knowing Michael wouldn’t pay, I suggested we try some back door options. We stumbled onto a NZ family exiting another entrance, who very kindly offered us their tickets – so we got in for free – yay!
Must admit, the buildings here weren’t really up to scratch. We were denied access to the palace, I think because we were westerners (other got in freely), & it was really confusing to find your way around. At one point I realised I was debating as to entry with a guard with a loaded weapon & then immediately thought “WTF am I doing?!” & gently backed away. I did get some pics here & there, but feel that with some more knowledge I could have a lot more good ones.
Quite exhausted with the busyness & confusion of the place, we retired to a rooftop restaurant for a vege momo lunch & cool drink. Then decided we’d seen more than enough of Durbar Square for now.