Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Kathmandu Valley: Getting Around - A Photo Essay


After the initial shock of hearing about the massive earthquake in Nepal, my thoughts shifted to the recovery effort, especially after seeing reports of cracked roads.  Having seen the narrow streets and traffic situation there, I recognized the difficulty of bringing supplies to the survivors and the recovery effort. It was hard enough getting our mini tour bus in and out of the Kathmandu Valley under normal circumstances, let alone bulldozers and trucks of supplies on fragile roads.

I thought the pictures I took before the earthquake could give you a better perspective than what I could describe in words.

#1. AT THE TOWN CENTER
We visited three towns in Kathmandu Valley: Bakhtapur, Kathmandu and Patan. They pretty much have the same layout of very narrow streets and alleys, some lined by commercial and residential homes with beautiful balconies in unique woodcarvings.  The narrow streets lead to a "Durbar Square" (rectangular plaza), which is mainly a cluster of temples or a continuous row of temples. Walking and motorbikes are the mode of transport.


#2. THE ROAD TO NAGARKOT (Where the peak of Mt. Everest can be seen on a clear day).
Not only a one-lane road, but public transport for the local people does not come very often. Hence, the overcrowded buses. Houses cling to the edge of the cliffs.


#3. These are the last pictures I shot.  I shot the last one while we were stuck in traffic on the way to the airport. Basically, the traffic in Kathmandu is bad under normal circumstances.

#4. THE MAIN HIGHWAY TO GET IN AND OUT OF THE KATHMANDU VALLEY.
The road we traveled through to get to Chitwan National Park is the main route for commercial truckers that bring supplies and goods to the Kathmandu Valley.  Also, it brings both locals and tourists out of the hills of Kathmandu to the Terai Valley.  I saw houses clinging to the edge of the cliffs along the roadside, and from a distance, houses clinging to the hillsides. Our bus was inches away from the edge of the cliff.

The road follows the lines of the mountains, bend after bend...


then follows the Trisuli River.


A MUST SEE VIDEO:  


On the way to Chitwan, the exhilarating and bumpy ride caught me by surprise that I was not able to get my camera ready. I tried to film on our way back to Kathmandu, but the ride was so bumpy that it was almost impossible to get a steady video footage. Here's a very short video from that bumpy ride, where I saw tourist buses and trucks inches apart from each other and from the oncoming traffic.[Click on the thumbnail below to watch the video]

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