This ancient street was named as Freak Street
referring to the hippy trail of the 1960s and 1970s.
A young restless population in the west,
seeking to distance itself from political and social frustration,
had firsthand contact with the fascinating culture, art and architecture,
and unique life style that attracted hippies to Freak Street.
FREAKY HIPPY DAYS IN KATMANDU
But in the early 1970s the government of Nepal
started a round-up of hippies on Freak Street and
they were physically deported to India,
an action propelled largely by a directive
from the government of United States of America.
The hippy tourism was quickly replaced
with the more respectable businesses
of trekking and cultural tourism.
To Orwell Today,
It is really delighting experience going thru your memories about the trip to Kathmandu: NEPAL REMEMBERED
I live in Kathmandu and did hang out in my teens days in Freak Street around 80s -- now I am running a small gallery in Sanepa.
While being here and wondering about the glory days of Kathmandu in 60s n 70s I have a vision to bring back the days once again thru exhibiting collections of photos and stories shared by travellers and the local active people of the era.
I am now connected with Freak street legends Trilochan who was running a restaurant called Yin Yang and Jimmy Thapa who had a shop name Jimmy's Wagon. I am looking for stories and phototographs.
Anyway I am bumping into interesting people who have shared the glory days via googling.
Thanks for your story,
Wow, it's wonderful to be hearing from Katmandu -- what a godcidental surprise -- and I'm so glad you liked reading my memories of Nepal.
I must admit though, I wasn't aware we travellers from the West had a street named after us -- Freak Street. But on checking it out on Wikipedia I see that we do. Now we know how we must have appeared to you Nepalese -- the invasion of the hippies. But Nepal's had worse invaders since then and probably longs for those old days of freedom -- same here in North America -- everything's changed and it's becoming an Orwellian world.
Actually, I was just thinking about Nepal last week because it was George Orwell's 111th birthday and he was born near Nepal in Motihari, Bihar, India. See BIRTH SHRINE TO ORWELL
I flew over Orwell's Motihari birthplace on the way from Katmandu to Calcutta.
Not long ago I was flipping through the pages of an old National Geographic magazine and there was an article about Nepal -- and the most fantastic map I've ever seen. Mount Everest is in far right center under the word Tibet.
Above I've traced the route I took on the bus from Katmandu to Pokhara. It shows the lake -- what an amazing view. And south from Katmandu you can see Motihari in India -- marked in red with a dot.
Thanks so much for being in touch -- and congrats on your project to bring back those glory days of Katmandu. It's a thrill to think my story or photos may be a part of that exhibit.
All the best,
National Geographic Magazine, November, 1971 (The whole of 525-mile-long Nepal springs to life in this unique panorama by Heinrich C Berann. The noted Austrian artist based his portrayal on maps and photographs, including an aerial survey at 14,000 feet by Barry Bishop and color pictures taken in 1968 by orbiting astronauts of Apollo 7 from 125 miles in space...)
Freak Street, Kathmandu, Nepal, Wikipedia
To Orwell Today,
Thank you so much -- it is really inspiring.
'Freak~Street' now is crowded with young Nepali teenagers and most of them have no idea about the history of it. I wonder if they could just have a little glimpse of old days they may realize where they are standing. Sometimes you see some old freaks hanging out trying to find lost glory perhaps.
But the good things... it is still providing a compassionate space for young travelers to mix up with locals to understand the colorful culture of living in celebration.
Prabod Shrestha, Galleria' Ishine
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~