Some of this blogs longtime followers may remember a post published here two years ago in October 2013, entitled "Village life in the Kathmandu Valley". In that post I describe what I saw on a visit to the village of Bungamati; the traditional old houses lining narrow alleys, the village square with its old temple, the rice drying in the square, wood carving and people going about their daily life. It was a picturesque unspoilt traditional village.
How shocking was the change to this village, when I visited again this week, and witnessed the destruction caused by the earthquakes earlier this year. Many houses had fallen or were so badly damaged that they have had to be pulled down. Walk along any lane and there are big gaps where once houses stood. Sometimes the destruction of one house leaves its neighbour with rooms open to the world.
Wooden props were in place against walls, to try to keep houses standing until they could be repaired. Cracks in some walls indicated that the building was almost beyond salvage and would need to be pulled down.
Piles; rubble, bricks, wood, dust and remnants of the household indicated the position of some homes. Pieces of carved wood reminded one of the traditional trade of these Newari villagers. The broken terracotta pot discarded with the other remains of someones home was a poignant reminder of what these people had lost.
In every lane we saw stacks of bricks and wood, salvaged from the demolition of the old buildings. The bricks were neatly stacked and waiting to be used in the rebuilding, nothing is wasted.
|This years vegetation surrounding a |
colourful lion statue
The old temple, which had dominated the centre of the village square is sadly no more! As we wandered around where the square had once been we saw pieces of statues from the temple amongst the rubble.
|Broken lion statue amongst the rubble.|
|The old temple two years ago.|
|All that remains of the temple in the village square.|
|View over the village square today - without the temple.|
How heartbreaking for the residents of this once attractive village.
However, to demonstrate the resilience of the Nepali people, my final photo of this post shows a woman in the village, sitting on her doorstep, stringing purple flower heads that she had collected, to make the special garlands given to brothers at the forthcoming festival. Life goes on!