Goodbye Basantapur

<—-Previous Story

Stepping away from Kumari Ghar, I was still thinking. When Kumari retires later, how does she live in society after only leaving Kumari Ghar once a year for a dozen years, how does she work until which man who is lucky to marry her…. Hmmhh.

My steps arrived at a wide plaza. Elongated white buildings with European architecture flanking the wide courtyard on the left and right, while in the middle, souvenir traders place their stalls.

Basantapur Dabali is a must-visit historical landmark.

Playing a role as the heart of Kathmandu, Basantapur had indeed been a meeting place for people from all over for politics and trading since Nepal was still a kingdom. Therefore Basantapur is always crowded until now.

For you as millennials, Basantapur provides many modern cafes to just hang out. Himalayan tea is also easy to find in this area. You can feel the deliciousness of Chiya (tea mixed with milk) in the cold air of Kathmandu.

Hunting for Himalayan Tea at one of the stalls.

Freak Street was a lane which looks quite busy with the existence of this iconic plaza. The charm of Basantapur Dabali hypnotized anyone to last a long time enjoying it. But the sun had slipped far, it was time for me to leave Basantapur to return to Thamel.

Sinha Swan Khala, a fairly busy religious institution in Freak Street.

Enjoying Kathmandu can’t be done by taking a taxi, make sure you keep going and enjoy the authentic Newar culture and architecture which is in every side of the city.

Now I was back in the streets of Layaku Marg. “Layaku” is another word for “Durbar Square”, while “Durbar Square” itself means “Palace Square”. It is true as it is, this Layaku Marg divides Basantapur and places the Royal Palace of Malla on its a side.

Layaku Marg towards Bishal Bazaar area.

Bishal Bazaar or Vishal Bazaar is a very famous shopping area in Kathmandu. Characterized by the existence of an old mall and Chinese Market. Bishal Bazaar may be the right place for fans of jewelry knick-knacks.

The Basantapur and Bishal Bazaar areas are bordered by the Sukra Path that begins with the Juddha Statue, a statue at the crossroads in honor of Nepal’s King Juddha Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana who played a major role in rebuilding his country from the severe damage caused by the Nepal earthquake in 1934.

Juddha Statue.
One side of the Sukra Path.

Before actually completing the trip to Thamel, I tried to enjoy the busy activities of local residents by entering a restaurant in the Sukra Path number

Vegetable Chow Mien for 150 Rupee.

That afternoon was my last evening in enjoying Kathmandu because the next day I would fly using Jet Airways 9W 0263 to the capital of India. Maybe tonight I won’t wander around much because I have to get ready to leave for Tribhuvan International Airport in the dark of the morning.

I arrived in Thamel and immediately checked-in online for my flight, tonight I’m only going out for a while to enjoy dinner.

Wow… Look that beautiful woman in the shampoo commercial.

Next Story—->

Madira at Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square

Early morning….No doubt, I exchanged 1.000 Rupee with a pink-white ticket as an access to enjoying the history of Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square.

Walking on andesite-covered Layaku Marg Street which looking gray color and the thin dust which thrown by the cleaning staff’s broomsticks, I was ready to entering ancient Nepal are which was still in the form of a kingdom.

The temple to worship “Goddess of Science” I passed passed and then I met a crowd of people who were busy burning incense, sowing flowers and then putting their palms together on their chests facing a black six-armed statue which was believed to be the embodiment of Lord Shiva the Destroyer.

Saraswati Temple.

Meanwhile, the incense traders in Indorapur Mandir courtyard made this area very crowded if was compared to other areas in Kathmandu Durbar Square. In harmony with a busyness of hundreds of pigeons were eating their breakfast which was given by travelers who have come first in this area.

Kaal Bhairav ​​with golden crown as embodiment of Lord Shiva.

Roof layers of all temples look the same and took me to Majapahit fiction atmosphere likely in Indonesian cinema. The atmosphere of Hindu Knights which was very thick that morning, was able to throw me for a moment from a world which was fanatical with technology.

Corn kernels were sold to pigeons.

The Royal Palace of Malla which was later used by Shah Dynasty was an important icon in Kathmandu Durbar Square. Because the statue of Lord Hanuman was guarded at front gate, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square. Some people call it as Basantapur Durbar Khsetra because this palace was located in Basantapur area.

That was the gate.

After gate, the spacious palace courtyard welcame. Known as Nasal Chowk. Nasal means dance, referring to Lord Shiva who danced Tandava Nataraja when destroying the obsolete universe. This plaza-like courtyard was surrounded by palace buildings on all four sides.

White building on west side of palace.

Meanwhile on south side of courtyard was a sign of a project funded by Ministry of Commerce of People’s Republic of China to renovated the palace which was badly damaged after a tectonic earthquake which was resulted from the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates in the Himalayas in 2015.

The Nine-story Basantapur Tower which has collapsed.
The room in which there was a statue of Lord Shiva who was dancing.
Sun Dial, the timepiece before clock invention.

Then, on north side, there was the architectural form of Newar with striking green windows. Nicknamed as Sisha Baithak which its functions as a work audience room. On the lower floor of this building, there were rows of king photos. And two palace guards were seen pacing with their rifles around this building.

From left were King Rana Bahadur Shah (third King of Nepal) and his son King Girbanayuddha Bikram Shah (fourth King-pictured at right)
With Guard Police at Sisha Baithak before leaving the palace.

I left the palace while throwing my thanks and goodbye to Guard Police. Suddenly his friend who had just arrived said to him in Nepali, I guess it reads “Where is he from?”, because the policeman who I took the photo with said simply “Indonesia”.

One tip when you are in Kathmandu Durbar Square area is to try to understand one by one buildings which you pass, because every building there has an amazing function and historical value.

Again I found a unique building. A temple which studded with Shwet Bhairav ​​which was believed to be the most powerful embodiment of Lord Shiva. Hidden in wooden curtains and waiting for the Indrajatra Festival to fully reveal itself to the people of Newar. When the festival arrived, Madira (alcohol) will be emitted from his mouth as a form of blessing for humans.

Shwet Bhairav.

It was noon….The sun was now starting to penetrate every gap in the square, warming my body which had been exposed to the cold since morning. It was time to move on to next destination.

Next I would show you the beauty of a goddess in Hindu and Buddhist mythology in Nepal.

Yups….Follow me!

Selamat Tinggal Basantapur

Melangkah meninggalkan Kumari Ghar, aku masih berfikir. Apabila Sang Kumar nanti telah pensiun, bagaimana dia bermasyarakat setelah selama belasan tahun hanya sekali setiap tahun keluar dari tempat tinggalnya, bagaimana dia bekerja hingga lelaki mana yang beruntung memiliki Sang Kumari itu….Ah sudahlah.

Langkahku sampai pada sebuah plaza nan luas. Bangunan putih memanjang berarsitektur Eropa mengapit pelataran luas itu di kiri dan kanan, sementara ditengahnya para pedagang souvenir meletakkan lapak-lapaknya.

Basantapur Dabali adalah landmark bersejarah yang wajib dikunjungi.

Memainkan peran sebagai  jantungnya Kathmandu, Basantapur memang menjadi tempat bertemunya khalayak dari berbagai penjuru untuk berpolitik dan berdagang sejak zaman Nepal masih berbentuk kerajaan. Oleh karenanya Basantapur selalu ramai hingga kini.

Untuk kamu millennial, Basantapur menyediakan banyak cafe modern untuk sekedar berhang out. Teh khas Himalaya pun mudah ditemukan di area ini. Kamu bisa merasakan nikmatnya Chiya (teh bercampur susu) di dinginnya udara Kathmandu.

Berburu Himalayan Tea di salah satu kedai.

Freak Street menjadi jalur yang terlihat cukup sibuk dengan keberadaan plaza ikonik ini. Pesona Basantapur Dabali menghinoptis siapa saja untuk bertahan berlama-lama menikmatinya. Tapi surya sudah jauh tergelincir, sudah saatnya aku meninggalkan Basantapur untuk kembali menuju Thamel.

Sinha Swan Khala, lembaga keagamaan yang cukup ramai di Freak Street.

Menikmati Kathmandu tak bisa dilakukan dengan menunggang taksi, pastikan kamu terus melangkah dan menikmati keotentikan budaya dan arsitekur Newar yang ada di setiap sisi kota.

Kini aku sudah kembali di jalanan Layaku Marg. “Layaku” adalah kata lain untuk “Durbar Square”, sedangkan “Durbar Square” sendiri berarti “Alun-alun Istana”. Memang benar apa adanya, Layaku Marg ini membelah Basantapur dan menempatkan istana Kerajaan Malla di salah satu sisinya.

Layaku Marg menuju ke area Bishal Bazaar.

Bishal Bazaar atau Vishal Bazaar merupakan area berbelanja yang dahulu cukup terkenal di Kathmandu. Ditandai dengan keberadaan mall tua dan China Market . Bishal Bazaar mungkin menjadi tempat yang tepat bagi para penggemar pernak-pernik perhiasan.

Area Basantapur dan Bishal Bazaar dibatasi oleh Jalan Sukra Path yang berawal dari Juddha Statue, sebuah patung di bundaran perempatan untuk menghormati Raja Nepal Juddha Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana yang berperan besar dalam membangun negerinya dari kerusakan cukup parah akibat gempa Nepal pada tahun 1934.

Juddha Statue.
Salah satu sisi Sukra Path.

Sebelum benar-benar menyelesaikan perjalanan hingga ke Thamel, aku berusaha menikmati sibuknya aktivitas penduduk lokal dengan  memasuki sebuah resto di bilangan Sukra Path

Vegetable Chow mien seharga Rp. 15.000.

Sore itu adalah petang terakhirku menikmati kota Kathmandu karena keesokan harinya aku akan terbang menggunakan Jet Airways 9W 0263 menuju ibukota India. Mungkin malam nanti aku tak akan banyak keluyuran karena harus bersiap diri untuk berangkat ke Tribhuvan International Airport di gelapnya pagi.

Aku sampai di Thamel dan segera melakukan check-in online, malam nanti aku hanya keluar sebentar untuk menikmati santap malam saja.

Duh…cantiknya perempuan dalam iklan shampoo itu.

Madira di Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square

Masih pagi….Tak ragu, aku menukar Rp. 125.000 dengan tiket putih-kemerah jambuan sebagai akses menikmati sejarah Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square.

Menapaki jalanan Layaku Marg yang keabuan berlapis andesit serta debu tipis yang dilemparkan oleh sapu lidi para petugas kebersihan, aku telah bersiap memasuki Nepal tempoe doeloe yang masih berbentuk kerajaan.

Kuil untuk menyembah “Dewi Ilmu Pengetahuan” kulewati dengan cepat untuk kemudian ku jumpai kerumunan warga yang sibuk membakar dupa, menabur bunga dan kemudian menyatukan kedua telapak tangannya di dada meghadap patung hitam enam lengan yang dipercaya sebagai perwujudan Dewa Siwa Sang Pemusnah.

Saraswati Temple.

Sementara para pedagang dupa di pelataran Indorapur Mandir membuat area itu menjadi sangat ramai dibanding area lain di Kathmandu Durbar Square. Selaras padu dengan kesibukan ratusan merpati dalam menyantap sarapan pemberian para pelancong yang sudah datang lebih dulu

Kaal Bhairav bermahkota emas perwujudan Dewa Siwa.

Lapis-lapis atap segenap kuil tampak sama dan membawaku pada nuansa rekaan Majapahit di perfilman tanah air. Atmosfer Ksatria Hindu yang sangat kental di pagi itu, mampu melemparku sejenak dari dunia yang fanatik dengan teknologi.

Biji jagung yang dijual untuk merpati.

Istana Kerajaan Malla yang kemudian dilanjutgunakan oleh Dinasti Shah adalah icon penting  di Kathmandu Durbar Square. Oleh karena dijaga patung Dewa Hanuman di gerbang depan, UNESCO World Heritage Sites ini dikenal dengan sebutan Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square. Beberapa khalayak menyebutnya Basantapur Durbar Khsetra karena istana ini terletak di area Basantapur.

Itu gerbangnya.

Selepas gerbang maka pelataran istana nan luas menyambut. Dikenal dengan sebutan Nasal Chowk. Nasal berarti tarian, merujuk pada Dewa Siwa yang menari Tandava Nataraja  ketika menghancurkan semesta yang sudah usang. Pelataran yang mirip dengan plaza ini dikepung oleh bangunan-bangunan istana di keempat sisinya.

Bangunan putih di sisi barat istana.

Sementara di sisi selatan pelataran terpampang papan nama proyek yang didanai oleh Kementrian Perdagangan Republik Rakyat China untuk merenovasi istana yang mengalami kerusakan hebat pasca gempa tektonik yang dihasilkan dari tumbukan lempeng India dan Eurasia di Himalaya pada 2015.

Basantapur Tower Sembilan tingkat yang telah runtuh.
Ruang yang didalamnya terdapat patung Dewa Siwa yang sedang menari.
Sun Dial, penunjuk waktu sebelum ditemukannya jam.

Lalu, di sisi utara terpampang bentuk arsitektur Newar dengan jendela hijau mencolok. Berjuluk Sisha Baithak yang berfungsi sebagai ruang audiensi kerjaan. Di lantai bawah bangunan itu, terpampang deretan foto para raja. Dan dua polisi penjaga istana nampak mondar-mandir dengan senapan laras panjangnya di sekitar bangunan ini.

Dari kiri adalah King Rana Bahadur Shah (Raja Nepal ketiga) dan anaknya King Girbanayuddha Bikram Shah (Raja keempat-foto kanan)
Bersama Guard Police di Sisha Baithak sebelum meninggalkan istana.

Aku meninggalkan istana sembari melempar kata terimakasih dan sampai jumpa kepada Guard Police itu. Sontak temannya yang baru tiba berucap kepadanya dalam bahasa Nepal, kutebak berbunyi “Darimana dia berasal?”, karena polisi yang kuajak berfoto berujar singkat “Indonesia”.

Satu tips ketika berada di kawasan Kathmandu Durbar Square adalah coba pahami satu-persatu bangunan yang kamu lewati, karena setiap bangunan disana memiliki fungsi dan nilai historis yang mengagumkan.

Kembali aku menemukan bangunan unik. Sebuah kuil bertahtakan Shwet Bhairav yang diyakini sebagai perwujudan paling kuat dari Dewa Siwa. Disembunyikan dalam tirai kayu dan menunggu Indrajatra Festival untuk menampakkan diri secara penuh kepada penduduk Newar. Saat festival tiba, dari mulutnya akan di pancurkan Madira (alkohol) sebagai bentuk berkah bagi manusia.

Shwet Bhairav.

Beranjak siang….Matahari kini mulai mampu menembus setiap celah alun-alun, menghangatkan tubuhku yang sedari pagi terpapar hawa dingin. Saatnya meneruskan langkah menuju destinasi berikutnya.

Selanjutnya akan kutunjukkan kecantikan paras seorang Dewi dalam mitologi Hindu dan Buddha di Nepal.

Yuks….Ikuti aku!