Want to get away from the city for a few hours? The new cable car on the valley rim at Thangkot is quite an experience: rise above the city in a western-standard cable and reach the fresh air at 2540m above sea level! Enjoy the vistas, the verdant green, the temple, the watchtower, the restaurants, shops, playgrounds … and if you get lucky like we were: the show of a Nepali pop singer at the arena near the watchtower.
Where is Chandragiri cable car?
The cable car station is positioned at about seven kilometers from Thankot on the southwest of the Kathmandu valley. The top station lies at an altitude of 2540m above sea level. It is a new destination for daytrip inside the Valley, opened in 2016. It is possible to sea the high peaks on the horizon and you will have breathtaking views of the whole Kathmandu valley. On good day you might have a continuous view of the Himalayan ranges from Annapurna to Everest.
How to reach Chandragiri cable car?
The cable car lies at a distance of 16 kms from Kathmandu. Thankot can be reached within half an hour of travelling with local transportation. There is a huge parking space both for cars and for motorbikes, all very neat and clean. The cable car route is around 2.5 km and it takes around 9 to 14 minutes depending on the windspeed on the cable car. It is easy, thrilling and fun-filled experience exploring in the cable car. The cable car is expected to serve tens of thousands of visitors per day.
How much does it cost to ride Chandragiri cable car?
At this writing prices for Nepali citizens are NRP 700 while foreigners have to pay quite a bit more, namely NPR 2200 – for a ride both ways. It’s quite a stiff fee for non-residents, but then the impeccable set-up and the trustworthy construction and equipment by famous Austrian Doppelmayr company make the price seem okay.
(All photos courtesy www.chandragirihills.com and Beata Wiggen)
Another cool place I like to retreat to when the Kathmandu city noise gets to be just a bit too much is BABER MAHAL REVISITED. It’s rather high-end ambiente, but oh so neat and clean, and a really fine place to recharge and relax. (You don’t have to shop or even eat there, you just might want to enjoy the pleasant surroundings.)
Originally built in 1919 by the then prime minister for his son, this unique complex of neo-classical Rana palace outbuildings has been redeveloped to house quite a broad selection of chic clothing shops, designer galleries and handicraft shops, as well as a couple of top-end restaurants and bars.
Neatly touched up after the 2015 earthquake, It’s aimed squarely at expats and wealthy locals so prices are as high as the quality.
From website www.babermahal-revisited.com
French restaurant “Chez Caroline”
If you want to touch base with European elegance in food and service, you might want to enjoy the lovely French restaurant CHEZ CAROLINE (prices seem high, but are pretty much equivalent to what you would pay in the West). www.chezcarolinenepal.com
Boutique hotel “Baber Mahal Vilas”
If you want to just have a look at a very classy accomodation, check out the splinternew boutique hote BABER MAHAL VILAS (with a rooftop pool!), the friendly staff is very willing to give you a little tour!. www.babermahalvilas.com
Siddhartha Art Gallery
Kathmandu’s finest gallery is also located in Baber Mahal, always worth a visit: SIDDHARTHA ART GALLERY. www.siddharthaartgallery.com
Location of Baber Mahal Revisited
Where to find this little oasis? It’s right near Maitighar Mandala (if you take a taxi, make sure the driver understands that you want to go to the Baber Mahal “REVISITED” complex, as there is an old government building of the same name nearby!
Please also check out the blogpost about a lovely shop situated here: Cool place: JAVANA SILVER JEWELLERY
On my last day in Kathmandu a few weeks ago I stumbled across JAVANA WORKSHOP in Bakhundol, after a long goodbye-lunch with dear friends and with no more money in my pocket (how very unfortunate!) to splurge on the absolutely lovely silver jewellery, so tastefully displayed that it was a total joy to my eyes.
I got to talking to Balkrishna Asharpati, modern silversmith in an old family tradition, and learnt about the nice story of how this company came into being. A company he is running jointly with his lovely business partner Hazel Birchall, originally from England and presently living in Thailand.
Balkrishna in front of the Bakhundol workshop
Balkrishna and Hazel at the opening of the Dutch shop in Dokkum
JAVANA: a great partnership
It was Hazel, then living with her Dutch husband and family in Kathmandu on one of his many posts, who sought out Balkrishna for silversmithing lessons. At that time she was already keeping herself busy with the sales of a small collection of handmade jewellery, then from Java. Getting to know each other and learning more about each others special strengths eventually led to the creation of a joint business, “Javana Jewellery”. And now, in 2017, we are many years and three shops further (plus a thriving internet sales platform!
Three times JAVANA: Bakhundole, Baber Mahal Revisited, and Dokkum/Holland
So most recently they re-opened their shop in Baber Mahal Revisited (check also my post here), after having stopped there for a few years due to earthquake damages. At an absolutely stunning upstairs location in the delightful complex with lots of fine shops, restaurants, and small boutique hotels, the silver collection is presented in an exquisite ambiente:
But also in Holland you can enjoy the Javana collection in a charming shop in the pretty little city of Dokkum, in the North of the country, near Groningen. In August of 2014 “Huis of Javana” was opened and has since successfully sold the collection of silver gems of all different price classes.
The JAVANA COLLECTION
… and here are some examples of the fine work Balkrishna (and his brother Bishnu) create with Hazel’s unique and elegant design. She stresses that “all the beautiful gemstones of the most lovely colors are of highest quality and they are individually chosen for every design piece.” From the hammering of the massive block of silver to the final beautiful produced piece, every single step is carefully done by hand with great precision and love for detail.
Find out more about JAVANA and the collection on their website: http://www.javanajewellery.com/
Friday, 10th March 2017 is the opening of the long-awaited next exhibition at my very favourite hotel in KTM. My friends Thomas & Anette TIngstrup are back in town and, together with their great team, busy with the preparations of “Bardo by Aditya Aryal”. 5 years ago was their first art exhibition with Nepalese Art – the group show NoNameNoThemeJustArt with works by the most talented young artists they found at the time.
Friday March 10th Kathmandu gets a chance to see Aditya’s new works. As always the opening is a celebration – of art, creativity, humanity and love. Like in all other Art @ Tings celebrations it will be an evening with snacks, music, art lovers and drinks from their friends at Gorkha Brewery
Thomas Tingstrup: “It has been fantastic to follow the artists from that show. To see their progress here in Kathmandu, to show their works at Tings and to see how their art conquer the world. We even have the privilege to be able to help some of the artists getting their art exposed outside Nepal.”
Thomas Tingstrup: “Aditya Aryal is not only the first Nepalese artist we met back 2011. His works are among the first (of many) we bought and he is the first artist we managed to get to Europe. Not because he comes from a developing country but because he is as talented as his contemporary colleagues in other countries.In 2015 he was one of the 10 artists from all over the world invited to 5th Viborg International Billboard Painting Festival in Denmark – an event he almost missed because of the EQ, but managed to overcome with flexibility and help from the involved embassies, the galleries and our friends.”
Earlier photo of Thomas and Aditya, conversing in the streets of Kathmandu
What is special about the new exhibit?
Thomas Tingstrup: “With Bardo Aditya re-interprets the Buddhist concept of the transitional state between two lives on earth as a time-related idea of letting go and a spiritual connection to one’s mind. In his Bardo paintings Aditya Aryal is questioning not only his position in relation to those essential binaries, but also the constellations of contemporary Nepali society. Through a connective web of Tibetan imagery and references to Thanka traditioncombined with Western influences in technique and composition, the artist contributes an alternate vision of reality represented in his idea of Bardo.
Aditya: the artist at work
What is new about Aditya?
Thomas Tingstrup: “In june 2017 Aditya will return to Europe for the 3rd time. In contrast to his chaotic first appearance on the European art scene, this time Aditya is prepared.He will bring his Bardo collection of the brand new art works he has been creating since his return from his 2nd European visit in 2016.
The works are impressing – they show an artist that has grown and matured personally as well as technically. They show an artist with reflexions and visions. And they show an artist who is ready to take over the world and dig deeper in his local culture at the same time. We’re proud to present Bardo by Aditya Aryal
For more info on TINGS LOUNGE HOTEL:
My absolute favourite hotel: TINGS, a jewel just off Lazimpat Road:
For more info on Aditya:
For more info on earlier exhibits at TINGS:
Sneha Shrestha graffiti art exhibit opens at TINGS HOTEL!
Now at TINGS: fabulous small frog sculptures of MZN Shrawan
… today a somewhat different post, about FOOD!
Last time in Nepal I discovered something super-yummy: “Laphing”, a cold noodle dish which is served all over the Bouddha neighbourhood as it is a traditional Tibetan specialty. I just loved this spicy culinary gem – nice and cold on a hot day, good and spicy (you can ask the cook to make it just a little or very hot, adjusting it to your own palate), really a wonderful treat which is not to be missed.
Please find below the “photo essay” a little article, reposted from the wonderful ECS Magazine, which gives some background information on this lovely dish.
Here’s the repost from ECS Magazine, titled: “Exploring Boudha’s true culinary gem”:
Boudha is the melting pot of everything that has come to represent Kathmandu – religion, culture, chaos and good food. Multi-colored prayer flags flutter from the buildings, guttural chants waft the air and the peace that suddenly envelops as you wander the bustling streets is almost surreal. Stray from the main thoroughfare and you will suddenly end up in an intricate network of gallis, and it is in these hidden alleyways that you will find delicious servings of the relatively unknown lhaphing.
Try Lhaphing for three main reasons. First for its origins. Lhaphing was originally a Sichuan cuisine called liang fen, that is universally enjoyed as delicious street food across the Tibetan plateau. Secondly for its culture. This Tibetan dish has travelled via northern Nepal with the many Tibetan émigrés who have made Boudha their home. Here, the taste has been kept alive by the migrants and now the cuisine is finally catching on with Kathmandu locals as well. Third and most importantly, try lhaphing for its scrumptious taste. A cold summer dish, extenuated by spices, this culinary delight is bound to twist your palate. All in a good way.
So what is lhaphing like? Lhaphing is a noodle dish seasoned with spices. The noodle is made from starches extracted either from potato or flour, and is cooked overnight. Once the extract has settled, they are cut and formed into noodles before being dipped in a sauce made from dried chilies and vinegar. A variety of spices including garlic, cloves, onions and coriander is thrown in to add to its flavor profile, along with a healthy dose of sesame oil.
This cold dish takes your taste buds by storm, and is a culinary experience that you will not find anywhere else in the valley. Couple that with the rich history and culture behind the food, and it makes a mandatory Kathmandu experience.
The taste aside, lhaphing also makes for a delicious social food. It is light and spicy and you don’t necessarily need an empty stomach to enjoy the dish. It is easy to prepare (thus quickly served) and easier to devour over gossiping and merry making with good company. On your next escapade to Boudha, make sure you hunt down a good lhaphing pasal. I bet it won’t be too difficult!
Reposted from ECS Magazine (May 27, 2015)
Wending our way back
What there is to see at the Taragaon Museum is as much about the museum complex as it is about the museum collection, a documentation of Nepal’s cultural, anthropological, architectural, and artistic history as made by foreign scholars and researchers. The distinct, barrel-vaulted rooms which museumgoers need to navigate as they walk through the permanent exhibits were originally built by Carl Pruscha to house temporary visitors who came to Nepal seeking encounters with its landscape, its culture, and its people.
In the 1950s, when the decision to open Nepal to the larger world was made and implemented, it was not just a Hindu kingdom on the Himalayan foothills that was introduced to the 20th century but also the century–rapidly changing with technology as it was and drastically affected by the two world wars–that was introduced to this country. As foreign visitors who came here in the 50s and increasingly in the 60s and the 70s, took in the sights and sounds of the country– specifi cally the capital Kathmandu, and breathed in heavy bits of it, Nepal too took its few first steps into the modern era.
To the foreigners who came here–some seeking research and documentation, others exploits and experiences; all of them adventure and understanding in one form of another–the country must have seemed a romantic idyll of the oriental sort. Nepal’s forests were pristine then, its villages as if trapped in time warps. Up until 1957, when the Tribhuvan Highway was built, there weren’t even motorable roads that lead to Kathmandu, just paths on which it was not cars that ferried men but men in their hundreds who carried cars on their backs to the Capital. Documentation is central to Taragaon Museum’s goal and existence. The photographs, drawings, sketches and other pieces of crucial visual information that are in its collection record Nepal’s recent history and showcase it to a people who are fast-forgetting the city Kathmandu used to be.
To those entering it for the first time, Kathmandu Valley must have seemed a city left untouched since the middle ages. Indeed, the architecture of the Valley was still largely dominated by elements from the Malla Era at the time. The white plaster, classical columns and Venetian windows that the Ranas brought into Kathmandu were largely limited to their own homes and palaces.Brick-walled and often more than two storied–their tiled roofs double-pitched saddles, and their structures supported by brick and timbre–the typical homes and residences of Kathmandu still retained the typical Malla-era Newar house characteristics.
These houses were joined together and built around a central courtyard, and community–the very fabric of Newar culture–was manifested in the architecture.Kathmandu was a walking city full of old routes back then, and its water was still largely supplied by stone spouts. To those who laid eyes on it for the first time, the Capital must have been an exotic land, a place unlike any other in the world. It was these eyes, foreign eyes that recognised the wonder of what must have been a beautiful and exceptionally unique city, which presented the first documentations of Kathmandu and its periphery. The foreigners who came here at the time studied the Valley’s culture and recorded it for posterity.
And this documentation is what we get to see at the Taragaon Museum, Bouddha (the Hyatt Regency compound), an exhibition space that houses permanent collections– photographs, sketches and architectural drawings, mostly–inside premises built by Carl Pruscha, the Austrian architect extensively involved in Kathmandu’s urban planning in the 1970s, and revered not just for the brilliance of his regional designs but also the instrumental role he played in getting Nepal’s cultural heritage on the world map.
What there is to see at the Taragaon Museum is as much about the museum complex as it is about the museum collection. The exhibition space is scattered across the roughly 16 rooms that were originally built by Pruscha as temporary residences for foreigners visiting Kathmandu and boarding at the Taragaon Hostel. The hostel itself was planned as part of the larger Tara Gaon Village, a tourist complex envisioned by Angur Baba Joshi, a woman born in Kathmandu’s Dillibazaar in 1932 and educated at Oxford in the 1960s, a time at which few women in the country even got a chance at receiving an education. It was Joshi’s wish to “propagate Nepali culture” and “promote Nepaliness in the tourism industry”, that planted the seed, as it were, of Taragaon in the late 60s, and the museum that we see today is a reflection of that wish in many ways.
The architecture of the complex will seem immediately familiar to anyone who has walked into the superlatively designed and appallingly maintained CEDA building at Tribhuvan University.
The drumroofed structures that repeat throughout the complex are based on barrel-vaulted structures that sheltered pilgrims–“a kind of Pati” as Pruscha calls them–which the architect came across at temple complexes in Kathmandu while conducting research here in the 1970s
Individual drumroofed structures, the actual exhibition rooms at the Taragaon Museum, lead to common courtyards where art performances, book launches and social gatherings take sometimes place.
Here, Pruscha’s modern Chinese kiln-fired red bricks–a material he chose to work with for the aesthetic and structural affinities it shares with Kathmandu’s traditional Dachi brick structures–bring the sort of Nepaliness Joshi was aiming for in her Tara Gaon complex to a very modern design. A letter dated May 13, 2010– portions of which have been transcribed and blown up for display at the Taragaon Museum–provides insight into the actual designing of the complex. In passages readable at the museum, Pruscha talks about how the centre and focus of his design for the Taragaon Hostel, the drumroofed structures that repeat throughout the complex and give it a structural harmony that has an almost classical underpinning to it, were based on barrelvaulted structures–“a kind of Pati” as he calls them–he came across at temple complexes in Kathmandu in the 70s, serving as shelter for pilgrims.If form does follow function, then the basic form of the Taragaon Museum, what Pruscha calls the “prototype” for his design, can be seen as following the same sheltering purpose that these Patis provided religious devotees.
The pilgrims’ at the Taragaon Hostel came here seeking encounters with the Nepali landscape, its culture and its people, and for Pruscha it was extremely important that he give these temporary residents the kind of space that would serve their needs–for contemplation as much as interaction, perhaps, and privacy as much as society.
Hence the individual drum-roofed structures, the actual exhibition rooms at the Taragaon Museum, today lead to a community building–the Museum cafe, as well as common courtyards where art performances, book launches and social gatherings sometimes take place. The function of the complex has been revised with the deliberate purpose of documenting an era and a way of life that is gradually slipping from living memory. The Saraf Foundation–which endeavours to support the preservation, restoration and documentation of the arts and heritage of Kathmandu–turned a beautiful and culturally-historically significant complex that had fallen into disuse and subsequent disrepair into a documentation centre.
The Museum today houses and displays to the public a significant body of work that the artists, photographers, architects, anthropologists and Sanskritists who travelled to Nepal in the second half of the 20th century have left behind.“Those foreign scholars and professionals who worked and lived in Nepal these past couple of decades are leaving, and their work is often leaving with them,” explains Roshan Mishra, museum manager at Taragaon as he talks about the documentation that is central to Taragaon Museum’s goal and existence. These photographs, drawings, sketches and other pieces of crucial visual information record our recent history, and it is this history that the museum showcases brilliantly as well. “The pictures we have in our collection might have ended up in garages in different parts of the world,” Mishra continues. The Taragaon Museum saves these works, the museum director points out, and enables visual documentation in a manner never before been attempted in Nepal.
Images from as far back as the 19th century are currently in the museum collection, the two oldest being an 1853 etching and a 1863 photograph of Kathmandu. The architect, photographer and author Niels Gutschow (who is also involved in a curatorial role with the Museum), photographer Kevin Bubriski (who has been documenting the Nepali landscape and its people in haunting black-and-white images that stick to you since the 1970s), photographer and theoretical physicist Jaroslav Poncar, photo activist Thomas L Keely, architectural photographer Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, and photographer, journalist and author Tiziano Terzani are amongst the expatriate documentarians whose work the Taragaon Museum has in its permanent collection.
– Thank you, ECS Magazine, for such a wonderful article and fantastic photography!!! Please see the original publication here: http://spacesnepal.com/detailview82-wending+our+way+back#sthash.mYhxWtLd.dpuf
… I’ve been reading a lot about the new NexUs café and art center in Kathmandu, created by eminent artist Ashmina Ranjit and her community. I haven’t been able to see it myself (will do so on my next trip) but it seems a safe bet to present it here and let you know about another “hot spot” in town.
NexUs is the brain child of a successful Nepalese artivist community organisation: Lasanaa. It means art in Newari, the indigenous language of Kathmandu. Lasanaa has successfully driven art projects since 2007, bringing Nepali artists, art and the community together to explore ideas, promote art and artivism, and collaboration. Check out what they do here: www.lasanaa.org.
NexUs is based in central Kathmandu, an easy access point for people across the city. A three storey building that includes a café, artists residency rooms and studio, an event terrace and garden. All the materials used are recycled and upcycled.
They are a cafe as well as accommodation. Check out more about staying with them: https://lasanaa.wordpress.com/stay-with-us/
After the setup/startup period, NexUs will become a self funding social enterprise via the book / art cafe, the sale of artworks contributed by members, the organic farmers market and the artist in residence program.
It is a space that is so desperately needed in Kathmandu, according to Ashmina Ranjit: “Up until this point the community has not had a central space to gather to creatively and critically think, collaborate, create meaning and heal.”
We wish this project all the very best and much success!
My friends at TINGS www.tingsblog.com recently posted about a trip I really want to make when I am in Nepal next time. Such good info, absolutely not to be missed!!! I have featured their lovely hotel earlier on this blog and it has really been my home away from home ever since I found the place in an alleyway off Lazimpat road. We have had such good times there together, even had a big party for the ChautaraGallery artist friends there one year – such fun and good times and fantastic food!
Yesterday we got back after the most stunning trip we’ve ever done in Nepal!
We have been driving on beautiful roads on all continents on this planet. According to Annette this circuit has some of the most beautiful roads we’ve ever seen in our life.
This is the circuit we took:
1. Kathmandu (A) via Muglin (B) to Pokhara (C)
The first time you take this road you love it. The second time its OK. After that it’s a nightmare. After Muglin – towards Pokhara – you get the first beautiful views of The Annapurna Range. Here the traffic gets easier…We left Kathmandu 6:30 am (before all the tourist buses) and reached Pokhara 5 hours later.
2. The Siddharta Highway: Pokhara (C) via Tansen/Palpa (D) and Butwal (E)
This is the old road between between Pokhara and Lumbini. The road is stunning! through beautiful valleys picturesque and charming colorful villages,
We stopped over one night in Tansen. The city itself was a big disappointment. We should have stayed outside the city in a place with a view. We left Pokhara 12:15 pm and reached Tansen 4:15 pm.
3. Butwal (E) via Narayanghar & Sauraha (G) to Hetauda (H)
We left Tansen around 6:30 am and reached Butwal in Terrai an hour later. At 10 am we had breakfast with our friend in Narayanghar where we stayed). In the evening we went to Sauraha for sun downers & dinner (30 minutes away).
Before we left the following morning we went shopping: Tuborg Strong – the champagne of beers – is only available in Terrai. And at Tings when we get at chance to bring them to Kathmandu.
4. The Tribhuwan Highway: Hetauda (H) via Daman (I) back to Kathmandu (A)
We left Narayanghar around 10:30 am and reached Daman at 4 pm.The reason why we took the circuit counter clock wise was because Annette wanted to drive towards the Himalaya Range… a very wise decision.
This part of our 4 days travel is among the most beautiful trips we’ve ever done…If you don’t believe us – click on the pix below
The following morning we left Daman at 8:15 am after a sunrise so beautiful that we kept asking ourselves why we haven’t visited Daman before… and why all tourists are send to Nargakot and Dhulikhel when Daman is only two hours from Katmandu…. this does not make any sense at all
Do you have the time and prefer to travel on your own by local buses this circuit is perfect to combine with popular treks from Pokhara and/or more exotic trips to Lumbini and or Janakpur and Illam in the far east.
Almost all of our guests who visit Nepal for the first time have Pokhara and Chitwan on their itinerary.
And a lot of them also want to go to either Nargakot or Dhulikhel to get a view of the Himalaya range. We would never do this after this trip.
We would definitely skip Nargakot/Dhulikhel – the Himalaya view from Daman exceeds the both places by far! And in stead of the usual Kathmandu (via Mugling) – Pokhara (via Mugling/Bharatpur) – Chitwan (via Mugling/Bharatpur) – Kathmandu route we would definitely take the above circuit. The only reason why we haven’t done it before is because we have spend all our time starting up Tings.
The total time of transportation is around 5 hours longer… BUT that is a very cheap price to pay to escape from the horrible Mugling/Bharatpur Highway.
The bonus is a fabulous scenery, NO TRAFFIC!, fantastic roads (the quality of the roads is much better compared to the popular tourist trail) and a possibility to drop by Lumbini (F) which is only 1 hours drive from Butwal and/or trips to Janakpur and/or Illam for long term travelers.
There are all kinds of accommodation along the way – and you can find them all online. We stayed in a modest home stay in Tansen (500 NRP) and an expensive resort (80 US) in Daman instead of the 1,000 NRP Guest House around the corner…
We had our own car. But the local buses run frequently between all destinations on the map. An alternative is renting a car – more expensive but maybe more convenient. If you are planning to fly – DROP IT and spend the money on a car.
The ultimate way to take this circuit is a Motorbike….!
Annette & Thomas
In the spring of 2014 an article in KATHMANDU POST nicely described three of the more recent additions to the city’s art scene, all of which I had the chance to see on my last visit. I was greatly impressed by the fabulous modern minimalist architecture of the Kathmandu City Museum, hidden away in a side alley off Durbar Margh (and across the street from YAK AND YETI HOTEL which is accessed via the same small street) and found it a haven of calm and aesthetic pleasure.
The Nepal Childrens Art Museum is a bit of a misnomer but a wonderful space: not so much a museum but rather a lovely airy and sunlit workshop space. It is a new construction on top of an existing building right across from the Air India offices on Hattisar Sadakh, overlooking the neighbourhood with views all around.
Bikalpa Art Center and Café have moved since the article was published to an alleyway off Pulchowk (across from the Sahaj gas station) in Laltipur.
The article featured below was written by Nhooja Thuladar, titled “Coming together in Kathmandu”, all subheads and images, if not credited, mine.
Kathmandu’s art scene more vibrant than ever
As Kathmandu pursues the stature of a metropolitan city that could well compete with other big cities of the world, the Valley’s art scene has been attaining new heights too. The streets have never been more colourful and the cinema halls around are seeing more people coming in with every new release. Musical acts are more regular than ever. It’s almost like the creativity of the city is yearning to gush out through any outlet it can find.
The Kathmandu City Museum
image by Kashish Shrestha
images for collage of the lovely museum café taken from KCM website
Among the many such ventures cropping up at present is the City Museum Kathmandu (CMK), which recently hosted a programme titled ‘Khumbila’, a concert and live-art fundraiser for the families of those who lost their lives on Everest this spring. The May 8 programme saw performances by Shree Tara, Aveeg, _RHL, Night and Kutumba (who were also celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band). Also present was Jamie Catto from the double Grammy-nominated band 1 Giant Leap, who collaborated with Kutumba to perform a song titled Little Prince. As the musicians were performing their numbers in the garden, a group of visual artists—namely, Kailash Shrestha, Aditya Aryal, Shraddha Shrestha, Kiran Maharjan, Sudeep Balla and Kane Alexander—were making art on the third floor gallery of the complex. What was exciting about the setup was how artists from different backgrounds and different styles had come together for a cause. And this is just one of the many collaborative programmes happening around town in recent days. Perhaps artists and facilitators alike have begun to acknowledge that getting together is integral for the development of the scene as a whole.
Kashish Das Shrestha has been promoting artists in audio and print media since the late 90s, but this year, with the opening of the CMK, he intends on doing much more. In 2004, Shrestha had organised an exhibition of photographs taken by his late grandfather, Dwarika Das Shrestha. It was then that he realised the need for a fixed space that showcases works of art that bear a degree of historic importance. “All of it would be useless locked up in my hard-drives, so we thought of establishing a permanent space that would house these artefacts,” says Shrestha. The museum accommodates old and new photographs of Kathmandu, revealing the transitions the Valley has gone through over the years. Apart from that, the CMK building also houses an art gallery, the Fig Cafe, and an art shop. “I felt the works needed public ownership of some sort, hence the museum. The gallery and the art shop is for the curation of contemporary art,” says Shrestha, adding that plans are being made to form gallery policies that would benefit artists each time the art work is sold. “We are also thinking of merchandising works by local artists, which will in turn provide them with equated royalties.”
Apart from fair curatorial policies, Shrestha also states that the joint will be organising events that will, through sharing and interaction, benefit local artists in Nepal. “Irene Taylor Brodsky, who won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for her film Hear and Now in 2007, was here with us earlier this year, and we did a workshop with her and asked local filmmakers to participate,” says Shrestha. Such programmes, where local artists are exposed to the tricks-of-the-trade from experienced artists like Brodsky, is certainly admirable. “Through these kinds of events, we are not helping local creatives directly, but we are, in a way, setting up a platform.” http://thecitymuseum.org
Nepal Children’s Art Musum
Sneha Shrestha, a graffiti artist, is attempting to set up a similar kind of platform, but for a younger demographic. She recently started the Nepal Children’s Art Museum, due to open in about a month, although various workshops and projects have been started already. The organisation aims at endorsing art literacy through a variety of workshops designed for children. In a country where art is included in the school curriculum, but only implemented by a handful of schools, most within the boundaries of the Valley, the establishment of a facility where children are free to express, contemplate and enjoy, is a step forward. While education in arts is being deemed important more and more around the world, its importance in Nepal is still relatively understated.
The museum, located in Hattisar, will facilitate kids with books, art materials and other resources. Story Time—one of the sessions planned—will let children explore books and reflect upon them through words and images. Another such programme is titled Alphabet Workshop, where participants will learn to look at alphabets not as mere text but as an art form. The workshop intends to instil love and pride for Nepali alphabets and is also an attempt at showing children that reading and writing can be fun. The facility has also been planning collaborations between local artists, teachers, visiting artists from outside Nepal and, of course, children. The joint effort will result in an exhibition of artworks for the children to see. www.nepalcam.org
Bikalpa Art Center
Bikalpa is trying to raise funds for an additional building
While the two museums have opted for a more subtle approach to the development of the art scene, the Bikalpa Art Center in Pulchowk has taken a more direct route. Founded in 2012, the organisation was started as a platform for practicing contemporary art. Saroj Mahato, an MFA graduate in Video Art from the Korean National University of Art, was thoroughly inspired by the art scene in Korea and was keen on contributing to the Nepali scene in some capacity. “There is a huge gap between the public and art here,” says Mahato. It was to overcome this very obstacle that he decided to establish a number of sub-organisations under the Bikalpa umbrella.
Random Line Production, BAC Art Cafe, Bikalpa Art Gallery and Bikalpa Initiative—which share a common campus in Pulchowk—all contribute to the growth of the artscape in their own ways. “People who come to the cafe see the gallery, get curious and check the space out. The name itself manages to create interest,” says Mahato. Random Line Production, on the other hand, produces documentaries and also organises weekly screenings of social-themed documentaries, while the Bikalpa Initiative strategises new projects.
Since last year, the organisation has been hosting three month-long art residencies for foreign and local artists. During these residencies, artists from different backgrounds share a common studio and interact while creating. This offers them the opportunity to learn from one another, and the curve is especially high for local artists as the country has a limited number of art galleries and museums where such interactions are facilitated. “In my experience, the residencies create long-term connections between artists,” says Mahato.
Establishments like the Kathmandu Contemporary Art Centre and the Sattya Media Arts Collective, among others, had already laid the groundwork for facilitating collaborations in art. And new concepts such as the CMK, the Children’s Museum and Bikalpa, which build on that interactive, are now readying to take things forward and further than ever before. www.bikalpaartcenter.org
(Source: KATHMANDU POST, MAY 09 – 2014)
In April of last year ECS magazine published an article by Tan Pei Lin about several venues in Kathmandu which are actively promoting modern art. It is amazing to see this trend of art merging into mainstream and a very cool thing to see. I personally was fortunate enough to enjoy the art space at TINGS hotel and at PLACES restaurant, two of my favourite chill places in the city.
Displaying a growing appreciation for local artwork, several of Kathmandu’s popular eateries are doubling as art spaces. These restaurants do not just satisfy hunger, they are also places where art can be consumed.
Tucked away in the inner alleys of Naxal, this well-furnished café stands out from its neighbors. With a European style finish and a cozy space, the eatery is also home to an art gallery. The owner, Rachael Manley, came up with the combination because she felt it was easier to attract customers to food than to art itself. By fusing both in a single space, it would allow people not necessarily seeking art to be exposed to it. The gallery showcases both new and senior artists. Imago Dei hopes that through this fusion of art and food, people will take a bigger interest in art and perhaps one or two will take it even further and invest in the field or promote a promising artist.
Places Restaurant & Bar
Stepping into the narrow hallway leading up to the restaurant, you can’t help but be amazed at the art-covered walls. Places Restaurant & Bar utilizes the concept of combining art with food, hoping to attract more than just tourists in Thamel. Via showcasing modern art by local artists (or collaborations with local artists), the owners hope that their customers will develop an appreciation for art. Besides the pieces on auction in the restaurant, Places also has a rooftop exhibition space where street artists can create illustrations on planks of plywood which will then remain as permanent installations.
Ting’s Tea Lounge & Hotel
Beyond being just a tea lounge, Ting’s is more of a hotel that lends its compound walls to local artists so that they can exhibit their creations. The idea materialized when owners Thomas and Annette Tingstrup decided to help local artists commercialize their artwork. The couple’s stand is that they only exhibit art that they believe in – art that expresses the artist’s inner feelings and attitude. They do not charge the artist for using their facilities and proceeds from sales go solely to the creator. Besides art exhibitions, Tings also organizes film festivals, music evenings and poetry readings.
RatoMato Organic Restaurant & Bar
Priding itself in trying to be as local as possible, this restaurant grows most of its produce in its own organic farms in Lazimpat and Kirtipur. RatoMato also lends out its extra space to upcoming artists to display their work. The owners, Ambesh Rajbhandari and Prashid Gurung, wanted to create a hub where like-minded people could gather and appreciate local culture. Displaying mostly modern or cultural art, the current exhibition hosts the work of three artists – Sailesh Maharjan, Subesh KC and Shraddha Mukhiya.The pieces can remain there for as long as the artist wants or until someone else comes along and enquires about the space. The restaurant cum gallery’s goal is to provide a platform for upcoming artists to break into the scene and get noticed.
Do you want to know more about kar.ma coffee? The great coffeeplace at Gyan Mandala? Damian Caniglia made this really nice video clip:
Thanks so much Damian says Austrian owner Birgit Gyawali…
… coffee tasting and wonderful cookies on the side!
… this is my home away from home in Kathmandu. My absolute favourite place to stay, in a quiet neighbourhood off Lazimpat Road, a short walk away from Thamel where all the action (and often too much action!) is, with lots of nice restaurants nearby. Owners Thomas and Anette, originally from Denmark, have become dear friends and they really have created a jewel with a great local staff of individual “jewels” here. Info: http://tingsblog.com/
Providing a creative space for art and culture among youth of Kathmandu, Nepal
Political instability, a low literacy rate, lack of access, and outdated views conspire to keep Nepali children from the joy of art. In conjunction with a public and private school, several community organizations and local artists, KCAM will be the first sustainable art space for Nepali children and youth.It will facilitate art workshops on Nepali culture for children and local artists, resulting in production of exhibitions. Multidimensional projects will encourage children’s appreciation of their culture and promote self-expression through hands-on art experience by allowing them to express themselves and reflect on their culture amidst the instability in Nepal.NCAM occupies a unique niche in the Nepali art and education scene by providing services that are not available else. We are committed to establish a safe space for creativity and generating collaborations; also promoting Nepali cultural and art, advocating social awareness through art and organizing and encouraging literacy programs.NCAM has done and will be doing lot more community out reach programs like Chalk Art for childrens day, Alphabet workshops, NCAM Hand wash day, Wall of Hope ( creatively raising awareness on violence against women). NCAM will be doing a lot more creative workshops for children of all age groups, by having lots of fun through arts and also learn creatively on more sensitives issues.
About Sneha Shrestha, the original driving force behind NCAM:
Sneha Shrestha is a Nepali artist based, until recently, in Boston, where she created unique art pieces that meshed the Nepali alphabet and Boston street art. She has had several exhibitions and commissioned works in Boston and Kathmandu. She is an award-winning children’s book writer and illustrator. Sneha holds bachelors’ degrees in globalization studies and studio art from Gettysburg College.Sneha is committed to using art as a vehicle for positive social change, which led her to work as a mentoring artist in painting and an education coordinator at Artists for Humanity in Boston, helping inner city youth for almost three years. Her passion for the arts, mixed with her concern for global issues, shapes Sneha’s work and her art. In 2009, a Kathryn Davis Foundation grant helped Sneha establish a children’s library for a struggling public school and publish three bilingual and culturally sensitive children’s books. The library is sustained by book sales and sales of her t-shirt line, MO:MO: NATION.After living and learning in the United States, Geneva, and Bali for the past seven years, Sneha has recently moved back to her hometown in Kathmandu to establish Nepal’s first Children’s Art Museum, a space for Nepali children to express themselves through art.