Nepal – Old Temples or Old T-Shirts?

Posted by: Aarju Pandey

Similar to a dark shadow sweeping across the sun bathed land, filth and carelessness are taking over the breathtaking landscape of Nepal. A beautiful country is slowly but surely losing its natural extravagance. The once pride filled city of Kathmandu is too dirty to breathe in and littered from head to toe with all kinds of garbage. When you walk in the streets of Kathmandu you will be sure to see people covering their mouths and noses with cloth or their hands because of unpleasant smells or excess dust. You will also see people, instead of using a bathroom, leaving their waste in the street. It is also good to note the many dogs with Rabies roaming the roads; these dogs could take peoples lives with a simple bite or lick. Was this how the land of the Himalayas usually was?Nepal often reminds me of an old shirt that was once brand new and clean but is now tattered and filthy; this shirt must be mended and cleaned to be nice and wearable once again. The people who call this country their own need to do the mending and cleaning of Nepal, or else the situation will get further out of control that it already is.

Though Nepal has some bad factors like any other country it also has some good factors. It is famous for its beautiful mountains and someone used to say if Nepal’s mountains are cut and laid flat Nepal would be larger than India, The only problem is lack of development. The pages of Nepali culture and history are too beautiful to have the filth of the urban cities splattered upon them.

I feel that Nepal can grow in terms of a country if there is more of an effort to increase tourism. Tourists come to see the mountains, but are disappointed by the garbage and dirt in the city. The tourists should be impressed by both the scenery and the cities. Another problem is that Nepali tourists are not treated with nearly as much respect as foreign tourists in most restaurants, hotels or any other place. This is very unfair and this particular problem makes no sense at all. Internal tourism, in my opinion, is extremely important and should really be somehow promoted.

The villages and cities stand in sharp contrast. The villages though without resources and new technology are wealthy in natural beauty and unpolluted, whereas, the cities are dirty and very polluted even though they have advanced further than the villages. I find it very funny that there are keep Kathmandu clean signs in and around the city, if it is dirty in the first place than how can it be kept clean? The villages can and should be more developed and the cities should be cleaner and more organized.

Organization is also something the cities lack. You see random people selling random things in random places. People build their houses less than four inches apart. Not to mention, nobody cares for the lawns. The traffic is dangerous and simply horrible, one julus or protest march can throw everyone’s lives off balance traffic wise. The reasons for these problems are that nobody cares about them, it is mandatory for everyone to follow laws and rules.

Nepal’s beautiful sights and sounds need to be protected at any cost; pollution is making Kathmandu warmer and warmer. The capital on such a great country is not so great anymore. Other cities are not any better. The only people that can make a difference in the dark future of Nepal are its own sons and daughters. I think Nepal should use its assets, its natural beauty to grow in every way.

The country of Nepal houses Lumbini, Muktinath, Pashupati and other holy and sacred places, but the condition of the cities overshadows this. In conclusion, this problem is one that should be addressed hurriedly before it becomes too late and the country is strangled by its own mistakes.

Nepal – Old Temples or Old T-Shirts? was last modified: July 30th, 2007 by Aarju Pandey

Blog Comments

  1. Mabi

    I don’t blame Nepalese for smelling.


    I used to work in Nepalgunj where lots of people from Jumla and Humla came for business and medical Rxs and made fun of them. Especially their black coat that shined with “mayal” or dirt. They smelled pretty bad.

    I went to Jumla for ten days. It was not even winter and it was cold. I had to keep my plates over the fire to keep it warm to eat. Shower ?? The water was cold as ice and whenever I tried to take mini shower (head only), I used to have severe headaches. I just washed my body with the limited warm water. The fuel was scarce and they had to be transported from Nepalgunj. My friends in Jumla used to say that I was lucky to get that much.

    So when you don’t get what you want – you compromise.

    Nepalese (especially Kathmanduites) are rationed with water . They do not get sufficient water to drink and wash pots ( I am talking about those rich fellas who can afford transported water from the trucks). In that case, what do you do ? Compromise !! and the results are – body smell, smelly cloths etc.

    Probably almost every body smells – (not that sexy smell you idiot)- and it has become a norm out of compulsions, not by choice. Lets accept the reality and facts, people and start designing techniques to harvest rain water.

  2. Geeta

    Thank you Mr/Mrs Mouse. You are awesome. Your parents tought you to write like that. Great up-bringing you had. You parents must be proud of you.

    Geeta – the Geeta Lover!

  3. Geeta

    Anjana – what is wrong about writing what you see? Nepal would be worse than what it is today if every Nepali would have stayed in Nepal. I am glad they have learned to come out of the cave and extend their wings. There are enough Nepali in Nepali – actually – you know – 29 millions of them. You need more? Get to the reality lady from Jomsom, do not comment just for the sake of comments and also learn to digest negative comments – life is not always between flowers and you are not always surrounded by someone who tells what you want to listen to. Peoople have diverse thinking – they are proud of that and many of them express fearlessly. I am sure you are one of them too – but you do not seem to appreciate when others do so.

    Geeta – the Geeta Lover!

  4. heretic

    I might have no idea what I’m talking about here, but with respect to showers, I think the fact that there’s central heating and hot water almost everywhere in the US makes a huge difference. If I had that here, I’d WANT to take a shower all day everyday, :-) .

  5. Anjana

    It definitely is easy to stay in one’s own cosy world and comment on how bad things are. People rather fly abroad escaping the situation of the country and those who really care, lead by action rather than just words.

  6. pawan

    Yeap many Nepalese smell because many of them don’t take shower for weeks. Weather it because they are lousy or because of lack of water. And Nepal is a poor country is not a good reason to stay smelly. Staying hygienic is basic for all. If you can stay dirty, you don’t care how your city smells, right?

    About Arju’s feeling funny about Kathmandu’s dirty, may be people are flocking this city at the rate higher than it has resource to keep and remain clean. Same thing is true about other cities of Nepal as well.

  7. Sohan

    Bad discussion. It started with city dirt. How did it get to the topics of taking shower? And there is nothing wrong about reminding each other that keeping ourselves neat and clean is foundation to civilization. If we can’t keep our own body clean, how can we keep the city around us clean.

  8. Geeta

    Nilesh – Forget about those who can’t afford taking shower everyday because of poor infra-structure they have to live with. I am talking about those who can afford. Please check all those who wear jacket costing Rs. 5,000 and shoes costing Rs. 10,000. Many of those people smell. There is no excuse for them not to take shower. Wake up man! Where are you? They can afford deodorant that cost Rs. 200 and last for two month. These are basic stuff. Please do not be defensive. After 16 years of education these people better learn these common protocol. If they don’t, they will always remain behind.

    Geeta – the Geeta Lover!

  9. Nilesh Shrestha


    “Many Nepalese smell and do not take shower daily – they have to learn those basic things first”

    It seems to me that you live in Nepal, but you are just having best of it and even do not bother to think of the other side. You have been hearing and reading everywhere and all the time that Nepal is a poor country. But it seems like you do not understand the meaning of a poor country. A country being poor has many challenges and people struggle from dawn to dust just to keep hands and mouth together at the end of the day. When one is struggling for food the garbages do not smell leave alone the body smell and 90 percent of the population do no have facility to take a daily shower. That is why the country is poor.

    Those who live in Nepal and those who live abroad, those who have capacity to bring the slight changes in this place look at it to harmonize the views with the western views embedded in their retinas, they smell Nepal to match with the smell studded in the nostrils and they lose track. The only thing most of the people do is write and complain. A handful of people, who really understand the difference, who really want to help out, are there in Nepal fighting with every challenges the poor people faces, laying mud bricks to build schools, raising funds to build water mills and santitation.

    The bottom line is that someone’s basic thing (hygiene) might not be basic thing for everyone.

  10. niks

    Seems visiting Nepal and reading about Nepal is totally two different things. Past and present really has a big difference. It is right to say cleaning yourself is a good start for cleaning Nepal.

  11. Rajendra K. Pandey

    Good article Arju, very much balanced, precise and justifying. Your article must be read by the proper tourism authorities and we all Nepali. Keep it up. You are good in writing.

  12. Geeta

    This is actually very balanced thinking. I find many people either prasing Nepal beyond the limit or cursing Nepal above the limit. I agree those who can’t stay clean can’t develop. Many Nepalese smell and do not take shower daily – they have to learn those basic things first.

    Geeta – the Geeta Lover!

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