In pictures: Local life in the Kathmandu Valley

THE Kathmandu Valley is one of the most vibrant parts of the country. Not only is it home to the biggest city, Kathmandu, but it also contains seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites and more than 100 other important monuments. While there is a big concentration of the population there remains much that is naturally beautiful with green terraced hillsides and the promise of mountain views on a clear day.

Much like Dervla Murphy’s comments below on my recent trip I didn’t feel much like seeing all the major sights again and so made a few forages into little known villages to see local life. These images are some of what I saw.

An old woman with the daily cut of grass for livestock, Balthali.

Women in gorgeous red saris celebrating the Nepali New Year in Chobar.

There are many things one “should see” in this valley, but I secrecy resent being bossed by guidebook and am therefore a slipshod tourist. To me the little statue that one unexpectedly discovers down an alley way and impulsively responds to, means much more than the temple one had been instructed to admire for erudite and probably incomprehensible reasons.
~ Dervla Murphy, The Waiting Land

Hair washing takes place right in the street in Balthali.

Take me with you, ’cause I’m goin’ with you
Now, if I ever get out of here
If I ever get out of here
If I ever get out of here
I’m goin’ to Kathmandu

~ Bob Seger

Traditional dancing to celebrate the Nepali New Year, Chobar.

The incredible terraced hillsides at Balthali.

Pulling into Kathmandu
Smoke rings fill the air
A perfume by a Nepal night
The express gets you there

~ Rush

A man with a young child (possibly a grandchild) and sleeping dog in Kirtipur.

Carrom remains a popular game throughout the valley, Balthali.

There's a sense of real community in the villages round Kathmandu. It is not uncommon to see groups of women or men sitting and passing the time of day together. Photo taken in Kirtipur.

Locals near Balthali carrying milk home in the early hours of the morning.

The energy of the place slams like a shock wave… Kathmandu is so overwhelming, so packed with images, that succinct summaries seem almost impossible- certainly inadequate. I’m tempted to say “You’ll understand when you get there….” It’s a dream. I’ve never seen anything 1ike it.
~David Yeadon, The Back of Beyond

A woman peers from her elaborately carved windowsill down into the main square of Kirtipur.

Old wooden bridges remain key to crossing streams and rivers around the valley. This photo was taken near Balthali.


A young girl making colourful balls of wool in Kirtipur.

The morning dudh (milk) is distributed throughout villages in and around Balthali.

A potato picker near Balthali working the fields at sunset.

All images taken by Joanne Lane,
Other photographic posts of Nepal include: Kathmandu, Pokhara, Trekking in Nepal