It’s just a stretch of road between the Thapathali Bridge (that connects Kathmandu to Patan) and Pulchowk where Hotel Himalaya is situated, not a long stretch by any imagination, but it sure has a lot of boutiques and handicraft outlets. So many are the boutiques in particular, that, till not too long ago (before shopping malls began to sprout all over the valley) this moderately long stretch of road was the Valley’s unofficial fashion street. There’s not less than two dozen of these fashion boutiques along both sides of the road.
As for handicraft shops, most of the big fish have their main outlets in this locality, with branches in other places. While it is not clear how the fashion boutiques became to be concentrated here, one can assume that handicraft shops opened here due to its proximity to Patan, the City of the Arts, a lot of INGOs have their offi ces nearby and a lot of expatriates have made this and neighboring localities their home. Among the bigger handicraft shops, Dhukuti, Mahaguthi and Sana Hastakala rule the roost, being big producers and working with a host of womens groups and local workers. They shell high quality and export quality goods. In addition to boutiques and handicraft shops, Kupondole also has two well known manufacturers of wrought iron products, namely, Aakarshan and Thong Na Ga Wa and mention must be made of a branch of one of the larger book shops in Nepal.
Lovingly restored, The Bricks Café is a new restaurant in an old house. Rather than eating in one of the many restaurants in Thamel, the tourist area of Kathmandu, Royal Mountain Travel like to introduce their guests to Nepal to something a little different.
Just a 10-15 minute drive from the tourist area, this restaurant in Kupondole, is in the heart of a bustling residential and business suburb of the city. Not far from Patan and its fascinating Durbar Square and old Newar architecture, it’s far enough from the crowds, to get an insight into how the local offi ce workers spend their freetime.
The Bricks Café, due to open in the New Year is a joint venture between Shiva Dhakal, managing director of Royal Mountain Travel and other partners. Showing me around, Shiva told me how “It was an empty shell just a few months before.” The old house, dating back a hundred years or so, had been left to ruin. Rescued and beautifully renovated, the house exudes charm, with its timbered window frames, wood floors and tasteful décor.
Ideally located minutes across the Bagmati Bridge, this is ideal place to welcome Royal Mountain’s guests, whether just arriving to go on trek, or returning after their adventures. Shiva explains, “We can offer a traditional set Thali or dal bhat to guests just arriving, who don’t know about the local cuisine, but also there will be a range of snacks and wood-fi re oven pizzas, for anyonemaybe tired with dal bhat, if they have eaten too much while on trek.” (Dal bhat is the Nepalese national dish of rice with curried vegetables or meat and dal soup)