A Bowl of Noodle in Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp

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I already understood before Mr. Tirtha told me that my next destination was Tashiling, A Tibetan refugee settlement in Pokhara. Nepal itself provided access to this migration because since ancient times, Tibet and Nepal have had close close relations in economy, diplomacy and culture. They have repeatedly signed various cooperation agreements in their history as two mutually sovereign nations.

Departing from International Mountain Museum, my taxi drove towards east and it was about 3.5 km in distance. This time Mr. Tirtha who changed to interrupt the trip, he stopped at a pharmacy to buy a some drugs. He steadfastly said that his father had a liver problem which required him to set aside his income from driving a taxi for his father’s treatment.

Namaska“, he shouted at his friends on the street. He explained a little to me that Namaska ​​was a greeting similar to “Namaste“.

Then, he emphasized that tourism was like a gold for his country. So many people in his age struggled to have a small car and fuctioned as a taxi. And English was the key for them to attract tourists …. “Sorry Mr Tirtha, if in Jakarta, I prefer to be a salesman with a commission” …..Hahaha, he broadly laughed.

15 minutes later, the taxi exited from Siddhartha Rajmarg main road. Stop on a dirt road. “Welcome to Tashiling“, said Mr. Tirtha.

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The view of Tashiling from dropping point.

My steps were immediately drawn to a row of souvenir stalls. Yesss…. That was where Tibetan people earn money to survive in their refugee camps. On the way home, Mr. Tirtha regretted Tibetan migration because China has paid more attention to Tibet welfare now.

A man who was so friendly explained some various meanings of  merchandises.

Entering this 56 year old village, I could get a peek at a little Tibetan culture. The way they dress and worship was an easy thing to grasp during this brief visitation. The hospitality of the tiny residents with brown skin and slanted eyes became something unforgettable. According to a confession from one of them, there were about 700 Tibetan refugees in this village. Even in the early days of their migration, there were about 2,000 residents.

Tashiling itself was only one of 12 refugee camps across Nepal. It was well known since Dalai Lama resistance, many Tibetans migrated to Nepal on 1959-1961.

Satisfied in seeing Tashiling’s face, I took time to sit at their small restaurant. I ordered a bowl of noodles for lunch. Simple menu for 150 Rupee which made me ready to continue the journey to next destination.

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It was delicious….Was there pork oil in?….Hahaha.

Come on, go to next destination….

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Jalebi from Purano Bazaar

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It was still quite early in the morning when I started leaving Bindhyabasini Temple. Back in riding Mr. Tirtha’s daily rental taxi, I along with a trio of backpackers from hotel started down Pokhara-Baglung Street heading south. Mr. Tirtha planned to take me to an old market which was more than 250 years old. He said, this old market was called Purano Bazaar, but public often called it as Old Bazaar.

The road leads to Old Bazaar.

It was true that said by Mr. Tirtha that this temple and market are close to each other. Only 1.5 km away with 5 minutes of travel time. Quickly arrived, Mr. Tirtha dropped me off on a side of market and he threw his index finger in a corner as a sign that I should meet him there when my Purano Bazaar exploration was over. He wanted to enjoy situation in his own way. All I knew was that he hadn’t been exposed to coffee aroma since early morning.

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Starting to explore the market.

My stomach which started to feel hungry, automatically led me down market corridor to find street food as a breakfast. Before long, white smoke which rising from three furnaces caught my attention.

“Namaste”, said old merchant who was busy frying. Before answering, my heart laughed when it was the first time in my life to see Jalebi’s appearance. Yes, it is a kind of typical Indian street snacks which I got to know when Saroo and Guddu couldn’t afford to taste it because their money from stealing coal in a mining wagon was only enough to pay for a few bags of milk for their poor family in Ganesh Talai. A touching scene in a film which titled “Lion”. Since then I have been determined to taste Jalebi in India, although I was tasting faster in Nepal.

That old merchant who was initially stunned watching me when I spoke English to buy his food suddenly laughed and raised his hand while frowning. Then a young man in blue jacket who was enjoying his meal got up from his chair and with his fluent English helped that old man served me….Great.

Come on….It were sweet jalebi.

Going back down to market corridor, while munching on snacks, I enjoyed the classic Newar architecture which were shown by many old buildings. Each building always featured visual strength of red bricks which were integrated with distinctive carvings on building wood.

One of the buildings.

It was said that Newars originating from Bhaktapur in far east of Pokhara were skilled traders. Short story, King Kaski invited him to trade in Pokhara in 1752. And at that time Pokhara had also developed trading activities with Tibet as well. My mind agreed, because there was a Tibetan village in Pokhara….I would visit it later.

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Are my shoes cool?….#showingoff.

Market beauty could be felt because there were still no activity that morning. Himalayas sight was still an idol just down the road. Two bonus destinations which were well presented by Mr. Tirtha, a tall, thin Nepalese, has brown skin typical of South Asia but has slanted eyes like a Chinese.

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Nice view, right?

Come on, let’s have breakfast at hotel …

Check out the Purano Bazaar situation here: https://youtu.be/wVmGgYnTs-M

Next Story—->

Semangkuk Mie di Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp

Aku sudah faham sebelum Mr. Tirtha memberitahuku bahwa destinasi berikutnya adalah Tashiling, pemukiman para pengungsi Tibet di Pokhara. Nepal sendiri memberikan akses migrasi ini karena sejak zaman dahulu, Tibet dan Nepal telah memiliki hubungan kerjasama yang erat dalam bidang ekonomi, diplomasi dan budaya. Kedua belah pihak pernah berulangkali dalam sejarah menandatangi berbagai perjanjian kerjasama sebagai dua bangsa yang saling berdaulat.

Bertolak dari International Mountain Museum, taksi kini merapat ke timur dan berlari sejauh 3,5 km. Kali ini Mr. Tirtha yang berganti menginterupsi perjalanan, dia berhenti di sebuah apotek untuk membeli seracik obat. Dia bertutur dengan tabah, bahwa ayah kandungnya mengalami gangguan liver yang mengharuskannya menyisihkan penghasilan dari menyopir taksi untuk pengobatan sang ayah.

Namaska”, teriaknya pada teman-teman seprofesinya di jalanan. Dia sedikit menjelaskan bahwa Namaska adalah sapaan yang mirip dengan “Namaste”. 

Kemudian, dia menegaskan bahwa pariwisata bak emas buat negaranya. Jadi banyak orang seusianya berjuang memiliki sebuah mobil kecil untuk dipekerjakan menjadi sebuah taksi. Dan english adalah kunci bagi mereka untuk menggaet wisatawan….”Maaf Mr Tirtha, kalau di Jakarta, aku lebih memilih menjadi salesman dengan komisinya”….Hahaha, dia tertawa lebar.

15 menit kemudian, taksi keluar dari jalan utama Siddhartha Rajmarg. Berhenti di sebuah jalanan tanah. “Welcome to Tashiling”, Ucap Mr. Tirtha.

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Pemandangan Tashiling dari dropping point.

Langkahku langsung tertuju pada deretan kios penjual souvenir. Yesss….Disitulah para Tibetan mengais rezeqi untuk menyambung hidup di pengungsian. Dalam perjalanan pulang nanti, Mr. Tirtha menyayangkan para Tibetan yang bermigrasi ini karena saat ini Tiongkok sudah lebih memperhatikan kesejahteraan Tibet.

Si bapak yang begitu ramah menjelaskan berbagai makna dari barang dagangannya.

Memasuki perkampungan berusia 56 tahun ini, aku bisa mengintip sedikit budaya Tibet. Cara mereka berpakaian dan beribadah adalah hal yang gampang ditangkap dalam kunjungan singkat ini. Keramahan penduduk berbadan mungil dengan kulit sawo matang dan bermata sipit menjadi sesuatu yang tak terlupakan. Menurut pengakuan dari salah satu mereka, ada sekitar 700 pengungsi Tibet di kampung ini. Bahkan di masa-masa awal pengungsian terdapat hampir 2.000 warga.

Tashiling sendiri hanya merupakan salah satu dari 12 kamp pengungsian di seluruh penjuru Nepal. Seperti diketahui bahwa semenjak perlawanan Dalai Lama, banyak warga Tibet yang bermigrasi ke Nepal pada tahun 1959-1961.

Puas melihat muka Tashiling, aku menyempatkan diri untuk duduk di sebuah kedai makan milik mereka. Kupesan semangkuk mie sebagai menu makan siang. Menu sederhana seharga RP. 20.000 yang membuatku siap untuk melanjutkan perjalanan ke destinasi berikutnya.

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Enak euy….Ada minyak babinya engga ya?….Hahaha.

Yuk, jalan lageeeeeeh….

Jalebi Keluaran Purano Bazaar

Hari masih cukup pagi ketika aku mulai meninggalkan Bindhyabasini Temple. Kembali menunggangi taksi sewa harian milik Mr. Tirtha, aku beserta trio backpacker sehotel mulai menyusuri Jalan Pokhara-Baglung menuju ke arah selatan. Mr. Tirtha berencana membawaku ke sebuah pasar tua yang berusia lebih dari 250 tahun. Tuturnya, pasar tua itu bernama Purano Bazaar, tetapi khalayak sering mengujarnya Old Bazaar.

Jalanan menuju ke Old Bazaar.

Benar tutur Mr. Tirtha bahwa kuil dan pasar ini saling berdekatan. Hanya berjarak 1,5 km dengan 5 menit waktu tempuh. Sampai dengan cepatnya, Mr. Tirtha menurunkanku di salah satu sisi pasar dan dia melemparkan telunjuknya pada salah satu sudut sebagai pertanda aku harus menemuinya di sana ketika eksplorasiku di Purano Bazaar usai. Dia ingin menikmati suasana dengan caranya sendiri. Yang aku tahu, dirinya belum terpapar aroma kopi sedari pagi buta,.

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Mulai menjelajah pasar.

Perut yang mulai berasa lapar, secara otomatis menuntunku menyusuri selasar pasar untuk menemukan jajanan kaki lima sebagai pengganjalnya. Tak lama, kepulan asap putih yang keluar dari tiga tungku menarik perhatianku.

Namaste”, ucap pedagang tua yang sedang sibuk menggoreng. Sebelum menjawab, hatiku tertawa ketika pertama kalinya seumur hidup melihat penampakan Jalebi. Benar, itu adalah salah satu jenis jajanan jalanan khas India yang ku kenal ketika Saroo dan Guddu tak kesampaian mencicipi jajanan itu karena uang dari hasil mencuri batu bara di gerbong kereta tambang hanya cukup untuk menebus beberapa kantong susu untuk keluarga miskinnya di Ganesh Talai. Kejadian mengharukan dalam adegan film bertajuk Lion. Semenjak itu aku bertekad mencicipi Jalebi di India, walau akhirnya tercicip lebih cepat di Nepal.

Pedagang tua yang awalnya terbengong mengamatiku berbicara English untuk membeli makanannya tiba-tiba tertawa dan mengangkat tangannya sambil mengernyitkan dahi. Lalu pemuda berjaket biru yang sedang menikmati makanannya beranjak dari bangku dan dengan englishnya yang fasih membantu si bapak tua itu melayaniku….Great.

Yuk….Icip jalebi !.

Kembali turun ke selasar pasar, sembari mengunyah jajanan, aku menikmati klasiknya arsitektur Newar yang dinampakkan oleh bangunan-bangunan tua itu. Setiap bangunan selalu menonjolkan kekuatan visual bata merah yang terpadu dengan ukiran-ukiran khas pada kayu bangunan.

Salah satu bangunan.

Konon, bangsa Newar yang berasal dari Bhaktapur di timur jauh Pokhara adalah para pedagang ulung. Singkat cerita Raja Kaski mengundangnya untuk berdagang di Pokhara pada tahun 1752. Dan pada masa itu Pokhara sudah membangun aktivitas perdagangan juga dengan Tibet. Fikiranku mengamini, karena ada perkampungan Tibet di Pokhara….Nanti ya kita kunjungi.

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Sepatuku keren ga?….#pamer.

Keindahan pasar sangat terasa karena masih lengangnya aktivitas pagi itu. Penampakan Himalaya masih saja menjadi idola di ujung jalan. Dua destinasi bonus yang disuguhkan dengan baik oleh Mr. Tirtha, seorang Nepal berperawakan kurus tinggi, berkulit coklat khas Asia Selatan tapi memiliki mata sipit bak orang Tiongkok.

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Nice view, kan ?.

Ayook kita sarapan dulu ke hotel…..

Lihat suasana Purano Bazaar di sini: https://youtu.be/wVmGgYnTs-M