Bungamati is a small Newari village situated about 10 kilometers from downtown Kathmandu. As I was staying near the Gwarko junction in Lalitpur, I headed to this village by taking a bus from Gwarko junction along Ring Road. Buses passing by Gwarko come from the Lagankhel station in Patan. Fare was Rs 15 while the trip took about 30 minutes.
A scene from the Bungamati Bus Station
Arriving at the bus station, I walked along narrow streets to the Rato Machhendranath Temple. The absence of other tourists made me feel like I was trespassing into their village, until I met a few locals who, with a smile, showed me the way to their main square.
On my way to Rato Machhendranath Temple
Unfortunately, the Rato Machhendranath temple was outlined with scaffolding when I was there. Nonetheless, Bungamati still depicts a unique character of being a traditional Newari village, spared by modern development, where the people are living a rural life in much the same way as how their ancestors have lived in the past centuries.
At the main square
Traditional dwellings around the main square, with corn sheaves drying next to their windows
Those metal pails look so royal. I would have taken home one if only it fits my backpack =)
Much of their daily activities take place outside their dwellings
Still life in bright colors
Bungamati is also known for its tradition of wood carving. True enough, I found a number of sculptors and woodcarvers while walking into this small village.
I thought I saw Manny Pacquiao carving the wood
…and Sam Milby? hehe
Other souvenir items sold in one of the workshops
A display of expertise in wood carving in one of the doors in the village
After Bungamati, my plan was to head to the next village, Khokana, which is about 15 minutes walk, including passing by the rice fields. It would have been fun and easy but on my way, I was cornered by a large black dog that barked at me with rage, and definitely does not sound friendly at all. With no one around and left alone to tackle this angry animal, my instant reaction was to back off and forget about Khokana. I would rather choose not seeing Khokana over a heart attack. So, I headed back to the safety of the bus station.
Back at the bus station
Was about to hop on the bus and saw this scene. There’s simply no running out of interesting subjects.
Taking the front seat aboard the bus
My short stroll inside the Bungamati village gave me a sneak peek into the ordinary lives of the Newars. For them, it’s just an ordinary day, but for me, the experience was out of ordinary.
Traveled: April 2014
Are you using Pinterest? Pin if you like this article. 🙂