“I walk the lonely road, the only one that I have ever known…” This is a line from the song of Green Day called Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Well it was the same with me couple of years back but I cannot say the same now though. Yes, I am talking about the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, and the crowd being on the street and never leaving the street lonely as it was couple of years back.
There is a long history of the nomenclature of our capital. There is a structure near the durbar square of Kathmandu called Kasthmandup, where kastha means wood and mandap is covered shelter in Sanskrit. It has a legendary story that this two-story pagoda-styled structure is build out of a single structure. It is believed that the Kathmandu is derived from the Kasthmandap to Kantipur to Kathmandu. The original inhabitants of Kathmandu are Newars, who speak Nepal Bhasa (Newari language). In their language Kathmandu is called Yen.
Kathmandu is actually a valley which is surrounded by high hills. There is only a very small gorge near Chobar, where one of the holy rivers Bagmati goes out of the valley to south on its way ton the of course. It is believed the Manjushree from China cut the hills of Chobar and saved the valley from drowning. So a valley was created with the beautiful topsoil which is enriched for cultivation.
At present the Kathmandu valley consists of four primary cities: Kathmandu, Kirtipur, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur. Most of the streets in the Kathmandu valley are named from Nepal Bhasa language, owing its origin to the rich Newari culture and heritage. There are lots of Buddhists and Hindu chaityas, temples, and palaces, mostly from 17th century but many of those landmarks have been damaged by earthquakes and pollution.
That is a brief introduction of the city where I was brought up. When I was a kid, the city was not so crowded. There no traffic rushes. It was just so peaceful. At present, the population has grown up enormously and due to the increased population and pollution, the city has become a crowded place where you will have lots of traffic rushes here and there with the disgusting smell of littering around the city corners. People still haven’t been able to organize and make it a better urban civilization as of yet. May be it is due to the government stability and lack of funds, but anyhow people should be serious in improving the city which is also the capital of our country.