Friday, September 26, 2008

Thamel: The Thrill of Moondance

Thamel: The Thrill of Moondance

"All that man is, all mere complexities"

Once touted as a polar opposite of the rest of Kathmandu Valley, Thamel reaches unto the visitor with a piquancy that very few can resist. Grafting together life and fun in a uniquely Nepali way, it is often a place of respite and rejuvenation. Having overcome the "high-brow disdain" earned in its early years, it is now, irrefutably, an indispensable part of the cityscape.

The Pashmina wools set against trekking gear is surprising, to say the least. Narrow lanes that merge and drift become exciting thoroughfares for people as they holiday here as well as rest and experience the bohemian sub-culture of Kathmandu. The eclectic restaurants and barhopping traditions are alive and well for all.

The glamour of the Mandala paintings and the Thangkas lend a provocatively spiritual element to the place. Life-size statues of Gods and Goddesses that adorn the shops further elaborate on a tradition of worship that has long made Nepal a 'spiritual haven'. Peeking at the wares by the roadside reveals a veritable collectible 'warehouse'.

Ignoble strife and economic downturns notwithstanding, Thamel could very well have sustained the travel and tourism influxes in Kathmandu through many of its ups and downs. Life in Kathmandu City is intricately and visibly supported and enriched by Thamel's intermeshed essence. The 'melee' label is, sometimes, coloured by an atmosphere of lively social gathering.

As a born again wayfarer, I enjoy each 'outing' to Thamel. Imparting a feeling and consciousness of hustle and bustle alongside a free-spirited awakening of fun and liveliness, the place is one of my favourite hideouts and venues for food and fun.

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