An olfactory tour of Kathmandu’s streets

6 Jun

The streets of Kathmandu are crowded!  Not just with people, or traffic, also with smells.  Walking the narrow stone-tiled alleyways of a Kathmandu neighbor is like a roller-coaster ride for the nose.  One minute alluring, the next disgusting.

No rules and no right-of-way. Traffic in Kathmandu is jam or be jammed.

Overwhelming on main roads you notice the traffic!  Motorbikes zip in and out between motor-rickshaws and cars as buses barrel down the road belching pure black exhaust.  The smog gets so bad it’s actually hard to see the mighty Himalayan mountains ringing the Kathmandu valley.

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mmm the smell of smoldering plastic in the morning.

As you walk by a market area you may be hit by caustic smoke of burning trash – as the city grows and modernizes, it’s consumption of new plastic goods outpaces it’s urban planning for dealing with the waste.

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But then your next turn might take you by one this holy city’s many temples.  The sweat smell of incense curls up from some deity statue adorned with flowers and colorful offerings.

You can find a little holy place around every corner on the walk to work.

upward facing dog

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Dogs bask lazily in the heat of Kathmandu.  Sometime along the road, sometimes right in the middle of it.  They offer plenty of their own scents to the urban bouquet.

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No part of this buffalo will go to waste.

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As you turn one corner you might catch a whiff of the fresh blood of buffalo being cut for sale in the many market stalls dotting the roadway.

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But turn that next corner, you might just be rewarded with the juicy fresh scent of a fruit stand, the zest of a spice market or the savory aroma of tonight’s simmering curry.

oooh the fresh scent of the produce market!

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