I went to Nepal without much of a plan in January of 2013 because it was a last-minute trip.
My colleague, Mona Lisa, had spent several months in Nepal and loved it. She highly recommended the Kathmandu Guest House (Kathmandu Guest House), so I promptly arranged to stay there. I downloaded to my Kindle the Rough Guide to Nepal and Lonely Planet Nepal and started reading. Mona Lisa stocked me up with trekking essentials (which I wasn’t sure I would use since I didn’t plan to do any long overnight treks), a city map, a walking stick, and miscellaneous other essentials. She also sent me the link to some Tibetan incantations, music that would soothe my soul in Kathmandu, music that she said I would hear everywhere on the capital’s streets, music that would capture the soul of the place.
Another colleague, Zida, told me she hated Kathmandu because of the filth, pollution and chaos, but she highly recommended Pokhara, which she said was stunning. I hoped the Kathmandu Guest House would help me book a flight to Pokhara, home of Phewa Lake, Mt. Machhapuchhare and Annapurna.
Here are some books about or set in Nepal; I read some of them (the ones with links and star ratings) after I returned home. The others are merely suggested reading:
- The Guru of Love by Samrat Upadhyay *****
- Arresting God in Kathmandu by Samrat Upadhyay *****
- The Royal Ghosts: stories by Samrat Upadhyay
- Mad Country by Samrat Upadhyay
- Buddha’s Orphans by Samrat Upadhyay
- The City Son by Samrat Upadhyay
- New Nepal, New Voices: An Anthology of Short Stories, ed. by Sushma Joshi ****
- City of Ghosts by Johanna Stoberock
- The Memory of Leaves by Manan Karki (Kindle)
- Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East by Pico Iyer (travel essays from many countries)
- House of Snow: An Anthology of the Greatest Writing About Nepal
- The Tutor of History by Manjushree Thapa
- Forget Kathmandu by Manjushree Thapa
- Tilled Earth: Stories by Manjushree Thapa
- Kathmandu by Thomas Bell
- While the Gods Were Sleeping by Elizabeth Enslin
- Thamel, Dark Star of Kathmandu by Rabi Thapa
- Battles of the New Republic by Prashant Jha
- The Living Goddess by Isabella Tree
- The Bullet and the Ballot Box: The Story of Nepal’s Maoist Revolution by Aditya Adhikari
- The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
- Mustang: A Lost Tibetan Kingdom by Michel Peissel
- Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
- The Waiting Land by Dervla Murphy
- Escape from Kathmandu by Kim Stanley Robinson
- Down and Out in Kathmandu: A Backpacker Mystery by Jennifer S. Alderson
- Notes of a Native Traveler: Nepal and Thailand by Jennifer S. Alderson
- Shopping for Buddhas by Jeff Greenwald
- Life and Death on Mt. Everest by Sherry Ortner
- True Summit by David Roberts
- Horses Like Lightning: A Story of Passage Through the Himalayas by Sienna Craig
- The Kingdom by Clive Cussler
- Palpasa Café by Narayan Wagle
- Bones of the Tiger: Protecting the Man-eaters of Nepal by Hemanta Mishra and Jim Ottaway Jr.
- The Soul of the Rhino by Bruce Babbitt and Jim Fowler
- Don’t Let the Goats Eat the Loquat Trees by Thomas Hale Jr.
- On the Far Side of Liglig Mountain: The Adventures of an American Family in Nepal by Thomas Hale Jr.
- Massacre at the Palace: The Doomed Royal Dynasty of Nepal by Jonathan Gregson
- Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalayas by Jamaica Kincaid
- Tibetan Diary: From Birth to Death and Beyond in a Himalayan Valley of Nepal by Geoff Childs
- Annapurna: A Woman’s Place by Arlene Blum
- Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
Here are some movies set in Nepal, but I haven’t seen any of them.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
- Himalaya (1999)
- The Sari Soldiers (2008)
- Kathmandu: A Mirror in the Sky (2011)
- Who Will Be A Ghurka (2012)
- Manakamana (2013)
- Red Monsoon (2014)
- Sold (2014)
- Jerryy (2014)
- Everest (2015)
- Highway to Dhampus (2015)
- Sherpa (2015)
- Seto Surya (White Sun) (2016)
- Dr. Strange (2016)
- Bijuli Machine (2016)
- Dying Candle (2016)
- Death Zone: Cleaning Mt. Everest (2016)
- Even When I Fall (2017)
I would go to Nepal from January 17-24, 2013.
Real preparations. I never knew about so much written material on Nepal. I have been to Mepal thrice and for most Indians they are family. Nepal is a very proud nation
I’m sure it is a very proud nation, Indra. I love to read before traveling, but in this case I didn’t have much prep time. I mostly read the books once I returned home. 🙂
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Your header shot is just gorgeous! I couldn’t remember when the devastating earthquake was and whether your trip predated it, but I looked it up and it was 2015. So like us, you will have seen pictures of places you went utterly destroyed. So sad.
Thanks so much, Anabel. I loved Nepal. Yes, I was there before the earthquake, thank goodness, just like I was in Japan for the first time just before the tsunami. It is very sad these countries have to live through such natural disasters. We have some here too, with hurricanes especially, but not as bad as many countries do.
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The first (top) photograph is especially appealing. The colorful, exotic town and, behind it, the ceiling of the world.
Thank you, Christopher. That was the view from my hotel in Pokhara. It was lovely there. 🙂
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