Saturday Features

In and around Kirtipur

- Merit Maharjan

Jun 2, 2018-

Kirtipur, a quaint town located just 5km southwest of the Capital, for most people is the ‘fourth kingdom’. For me, this city is home. I grew up here, among the medieval temples that dot its streets, running carefree in the narrow gallis. I grew up observing people in and around the brick houses with intricate bay windows.  I grew up listening to stories as women basked in the sun and the men huddled in Falchas that roar with laughter every now and then.

Perched on a hill overlooking the vast Valley, I have seen Kathmandu change so drastically over the past decades. The architecture has changed, the lifestyles too; but more tellingly, the relationships people have with one another—with their family and neighbours—have changed. Which is why, Kirtipur still stands out among Kathmandu’s ancient settlements. Here people still retain the semblance of the tight-knit old town of yore. The Falchas are still full of men guffawing about the community and the country, the alleyways still home to gossiping grandmothers, the chowks still reverberating with rambunctious kids playing one game or another.

And for me, that is why Kirtipur is so fun to photograph—because invariably, you’re taking pictures of not just buildings and monuments but also people who seem to be stuck in a time warp.  And at the end of the day, it is not the buildings, the temples or the chowks that make a city vibrant, it is the people who populate it with their dreams and anxieties.

It is not the buildings that make a city vibrant, it is the people who populate it.

Metal goods for sale. Machhenarayan Mela at Machhegaun.

Everything you need for your home.

From farm to table.

Portrait of Kesh Maharjan, locally known as Dikha.

Life is an uphill climb, Dev Dhoka.

Misari Maharjan with her daughter on a warm sunny day.

You reap what you sow.

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.

Cricket forever.

Favourite daytime snack, Tribhuvan University.

Kulfi sellers beating the heat, Tribhuvan University.


Photos and Text: Merit Maharjan

Published: 02-06-2018 10:59

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