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!

Indra Chowk before Kathmandu Durbar Square

Got ready for breakfast….

Unusually, a slightly luxurious breakfast had been prepared on the top floor of Shangrila Boutique Hotel. Fried rice sprinkled with diced buffalo meat, two slices of sausage and a sheet of beef eye egg. Two layers of toast with a sheet of cheese were also prepared. Then they closed with a cup of hot black coffee.

A full stomach and I was ready to enter the past Nepalese glory that will be implied in every inch of area in Kathmandu Durbar Square, one of three famous Durbar Square in Nepal. “Durbar” itself means “palace”. So actually Durbar Square is a palace square in general.

Walking in Amrit Marg, the warm morning sun eased my steps when I must defeat 9 degrees Celcius air which was still reluctant to move up. While coughing had inhabited my throat since a day ago due to dust which continued to be uncontrollably inhaled. “It’s okay, tomorrow I fly to New Delhi, surely air will be cleaner there,” I thought to calm myself. This belief kept Ambroxol tablets which I brought from Jakarta still intact.

Now I was starting to enter a number of narrow intricate turns. Andesite-floor streets lined with a row of sun-blocking shophouses and spreading of irregular signboards. Even in Jyatha Marg, it was decorated by the very tangled knotted strands of electric cables.

Nepalese electric officer must be adept at dealing with electrical damage.
Gemitir flower trader on the edge of Chandraman Singh Marg.

It was time to step out at last intersection before entering the famous Indra Chowk area. It was 10 a.m. but shops along Chandraman Singh Marg were still closed. Meanwhile, motorbikes which were passing could be counted in a matter of fingers.

Pedicabs which started their services.
Tasting boiled peanuts.

A few steps, the area which I headed for was in front of my eyes, intersection of five streets with very high activity. The rumble of morning trading which stunned me to observe it from a intersection side. This was Indra Chowk, an area which for centuries had been a famous trading center in Kathmandu district. Anyone who wanted to hunt for Nepalese clothes, souvenirs or tasting local food then just came here!

Pedicab base at Indra Chowk.

Entering intersection area from north side via Chandraman Singh Marg, I could see other four roads which made up the intersection, namely Siddhidas Marg (from Northeast), Watu Marg, Sukra Path, and Siddhidas Marg (from Southwest). All five lead to a broad circle with an iconic view of Aakash Bhairav ​​temple.

Aakash Bhairav yang bersejara The historic Aakash Bhairav ​​became Nepal’s first king’s palace.

Stepping back, away from the noise of Indra Chowk while holding Dhaka Topi which I bought from a shophouse, a less crowded street greeted me again.

Siddhidas Marg.

On this street, there was an interesting spot. Public knew it as Makhan Tole. A famous art spot in Kathmandu. There were many fine arts works here and of course many travelers chase them.

Makhan Tole Gate.

From Makhan Tole, it only took 5 minutes walking to Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Finally I arrived.

Let’s explore what were in Kathmandu Durbar Square …….

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!

Indra Chowk sebelum Kathmandu Durbar Square

Bersiap sarapan.

Tak seperti biasanya, santapan pagi sedikit mewah telah disiapkan di lantai teratas Shangrila Boutique Hotel. Nasi goreng bertabur potongan dadu daging kerbau, dua potong sosis dan selembar telur mata sapi. Masih pula disiapkan dua lapis toast berselai selembar keju. Kemudian ditutup dengan secangkir kopi hitam panas.

Perut kenyang dan aku siap memasuki kejayaan Nepal masa lalu yang akan tersirat pada tiap jengkal area di Kathmandu Durbar Square, satu diantara tiga Durbar Square terkenal di Nepal. “Durbar” sendiri berarti “istana”, sementara “square” berarti “alun-alun”. Jadi sebenarnya Durbar Square adalah alun-alun istana pada umumnya.

Membilang di Amrit Marg, hangatnya mentari pagi meringankan langkah ketika harus menembus suhu 9 derajat yang masih saja enggan beranjak naik. Sementara batuk telah menghuni tenggorokan sejak sehari lalu akibat debu yang terus terhisap tak terkendali. “Tak apa, besok aku terbang menuju New Delhi, pasti udara akan lebih bersih disana”, batinku menenangkan diri. Keyakinan itu membuat Ambroxol yang kubawa dari Jakarta masih saja utuh.

Kini aku mulai memasuki sejumlah tikungan rumit sempit. Jalanan berlapis andesit dengan deret ruko penghadang surya dan bertabur signboard tak beraturan. Bahkan di bilangan Jyatha Marg diperparah dengan untaian kabel listrik yang bersimpul sangat kusut.

Petugas PLN Nepal pasti mahir menangani kerusakan listrik.
Penjual bunga Gemitir di tepian Chandraman Singh Marg.

Tiba saatnya melangkah di perempatan terakhir sebelum memasuki area terkenal Indra Chowk. Waktu sudah jam 10 pagi tetapi pertokoan di sepanjang Chandraman Singh Marg masih saja tutup. Sementara itu, sepeda motor yang berlalu-lalang tercacah dalam hitungan jari..

Pengayuh becak yang beranjak mengais rezeqi.
Mencicip kacang rebus.

Beberapa dasa langkah, area yang kusasar ada di depan mata, simpang lima dengan kesibukan sangat tinggi. Gemuruh perniagaan pagi yang membuatku tertegun mengamatinya di suatu sisi. Inilah Indra Chowk, area yang selama berabad-abad telah menjadi sentra perdagangan tersohor di distrik Kathmandu. Siapa saja yang ingin berburu pakaian khas Nepal, souvenir untuk dibawa pulang ataupun merasakan aneka makanan lokal, maka datanglah kesini!

Pangkalan becak di Indra Chowk.

Memasuki area simpang lima dari sisi utara melalui Chandraman Singh Marg, aku bisa melihat keempat jalan lain sebagai penyusun simpang yaitu Siddhidas Marg (dari Timur Laut), Watu Marg, Sukra Path, dan Siddhidas Marg (dari Barat Daya). Kelimanya bermuara pada lingkaran luas dengan pemandangan ikonik kuil Aakash Bhairav.

Aakash Bhairav yang bersejarah menjadi istana raja pertama Nepal.

Melangkah kembali, menjauhi kebisingan Indra Chowk sembari mencangking Dhaka Topi yang kubeli ketengan, jalanan yang tak begitu ramai kembali menyambut.

Abege di  Siddhidas Marg….Manis ya?….Hahaha.

Di jalan inilah terdapat satu spot menarik. Khalayak mengenalnya sebagai Makhan Tole. Spot kesenian terkenal di Kathmandu. Karya seni rupa banyak dijumpai disini dan tentu banyak pelancong yang memburunya.

Gerbang Makhan Tole.

Dari Makhan Tole, hanya memerlukan 5 menit berjalan kaki menuju Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Akhirnya aku sampai juga.

Yuk kita eksplore apa saja yang ada di Kathmandu Durbar Square ini…….