The Allure Of Kathmandu: As Seen Through The Eyes Of Mukul Bhatia | Verve Magazine
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April 07, 2018

The Allure Of Kathmandu: As Seen Through The Eyes Of Mukul Bhatia

Kathmandu is one of the most electric Asian cities and home to many artists, designers and travellers. Documentary photographer Mukul Bhatia depicts his idea of contemporary Nepalese identity through images shot exclusively for us…

Haru Tamg (20)
Wine sommelier and student

Working at a local winery, she is studying to leave the country for her majors in art history and literature. She loves Japanese anime and is named after the same.

Helena Asha (32)
Curator and gallerist

Originally from Germany, her love story with Kathmandu began seven years ago when she discovered it after acquiring her arts degree. Owner and curator at Kaalo 101, a five-storey Newari house-turned-art gallery, she represents local artists in all mediums.

Rhea, 21

A student of media, she works as a part-time stylist and full-time blogger. She is wearing a 30-year-old Manipuri sarong owned by her grandmother, which was passed on to her by her mother.

Srishti Sreshtha, 28
Theatre Artist,

She was Miss Nepal World 2015.

Caroline and Promod, 25, 32

Caroline is an art student at Kathmandu University and Promod manages a popular rock bar in the city. Married five years ago they share a love for tattoos and rock-n-roll.

Enayat Shah, 34

An entrepreneur, he owns a retail chai-chain called ZY. After living in Dubai for years, he returned to fulfil a childhood dream of owning a ‘chai-ki-dukaan’. He loves Comme-des-Garcons.

Mukul Bhatia speaks….
“Not all travels will give you the gift of reimagining the way you thought of the world, and how it exists. Having travelled across 39 nations so far for my anthropology project Nomadic Origins, I am constantly looking out for such places — which shape your thoughts, and are farther away from the world as you know it. And if you were to ask me what tops my list, it’d be Nepal.

My fifth time in this kingdom of the living goddess and punk rock was an instant reminder of my childhood in India, in the early ’90s when globalisation hadn’t hit completely, when indie pop was the music format and people created works for the love of making and sharing. Kathmandu Valley is definitely a treat to the senses, although it may take one some time to get used to its chaos and dust-laden roads that have a surprise awaiting you at every turn — an unexpectedly beautiful temple that’s lit with oil candles or a cute little winery, literally in the middle of nowhere.

They say that you come here for the mountains, and you end up taking back stories from its people, and it can’t be truer. Walking along the old streets of Patan, the cultural capital flaunting the Newari style of architecture, I came across a few individuals, young change-makers who are creating a whole new version of the city and themselves — entrepreneurs, artists, students, and rock stars. Everyone sat together, eating at a khanaghars (local restaurants) while discussing their next tattoos, collaborative projects or, simply, the next spot to drink jaad (local rice beer) and continue with their conversations. My interactions at such close quarters made me discover a whole new subculture of self-expression and diversity that’s brewing rapidly but organically. This collection of portraits represents the people I met in the few days that I spent in the city and who, to me, represent contemporary Nepali identity.”

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