Street Photography in Kathmandu

I had always wanted to go to Kathmandu. Not just because it is great for street photography (which it is). Not just because of its mysterious and mystical reputation (which it has). And not just because Kathmandu is recognized as one of the world’s most celebrated crossroads: a place where adventurous travelers gather to soak in the gritty atmosphere; dreadlocked, first world, college kids hide away from their future in cubicles back home; and intrepid mountaineers clad in (fake and real) North Face gear begin their quests to climb the world’s largest mountains. Yes, any of those things, and about a hundred others, are reason enough to get me itching to visit Kathmandu, but I wanted to go largely because of that ear-worm of a song – you know the one – “Kathmandu,” by Bob Seeger and the Silver Bullet Band. Honestly, it isn’t one of my favorite songs but, once you hear it, it certainly sticks with you.

Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu

Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu

I arrived in Kathmandu at the end of my sixteen day Highway to the Himalayas adventure as a guest of On the Go Tours. Our group of travelers, which had once been over twenty people, had attritted down to three. Because On the Go Tours offers an almost bespoke travel experience, most of the people we began with in Delhi, India had returned home after touring either the Taj Mahal or later in Varanasi. In some ways I missed the larger group because I had made some good friends among them, but it was also enjoyable, and more flexible, being in smaller transport.

Woman Turning the Prayer Wheel at Swayambhunath Temple

Woman Turning the Prayer Wheel at Swayambhunath Temple

Kathmandu is dirty, dusty, raw and stricken with some of the world’s most heartbreaking poverty. It is also, in its own way, a beautiful and strangely compelling place. I can see why many people return again and again. I too hope one day to revisit and hike the famous trails around Mount Everest that I could only glimpse when Yeti Airlines took me on one of the famous mountain flights. 

These are just a few of my favorite photos, and you can find many more of my images of Kathmandu here. As you can tell the earthquake damage is still evident in places, but, although tragic, it hasn’t killed the spirit of the city. I even felt a small tremor during my stay. Earthquakes are a part of Nepalese life that they accept in stride in much the same way other people accept the weather.

Singing Bowls and Buddhas for Sale in Durbar Square

Singing Bowls and Buddhas for Sale in Durbar Square

Most of these images were made with my Canon 6D DSLR with the Canon EF 24-105 Lens.

A Student Studies by an Earthquake Damaged Temple near Durbar Square

A Student Studies by an Earthquake Damaged Temple near Durbar Square

Flying Among the Himalayas on Yeti Airlines Makes Me Want to Go Hiking Among These Peaks

Flying Among the Himalayas on Yeti Airlines Makes Me Want to Go Hiking Among These Peaks

 

 

 

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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