Tania and I visited an area of Kathmandu called Patan where most of the craftspeople's families have lived for centuries. When I walk up and down the narrow streets, I literally trip over masterpieces. Even the gutters have carvings of open mouthed celestial beings that spout water. All day long in this area you can hear the hammering and chiseling of statues, prayer wheels, door handles, window frames and all manner of handicraft items. The craftspeople live in districts where many of the neighbors are related and everyone seems to have the same vocation. There are entire blocks of silversmiths, stone cutters, metal workers, or painters. This is not a tourist show, this is art as work and worship intertwined-- life as it always has been in Patan.
Here are the ordinary dwellings of Patan!
|This is an inner courtyard. There was a little cafe back here where we had lunch behind the apartment homes.|
Below is Patan Durbar Square, or Patan King's Square. What I love about this place is how alive it is. I have been to beautiful town centers in the USA that are virtually empty. This square is 500 years old and much more than that in spots. It is composed of temples, museums, homes and shops. It is also the playground of children, the market place for merchants, the holy place for believers, where women separate the wheat from the chaff, and the meeting place for old men who smoke and swap stories. It is a place to think, to work, or to beg. Life happens here!
Please double click on these so that you can see the detail and the exquisite beauty that I saw.
|Even in the city, many people get their water from, and bathe in, the public taps.|