Caught in the whirlwind of Thamel

  •   2018-08-28  |  nepaltraveller.com

Linder's take on the birth of Thamel and KGH’s growth; the heady infusion of the past and present

Kathmandu Guest House (KGH) held a book promotion event for 'Thamel Through Time'  to commemorate 50 years of KGH and Thamel on August 26. The author, Benjamin Linder shares tales of the locality and his journey. To show support, a small gathering of close friends and family came together for a wonderful evening. 

Benjamin Linder first came to Nepal 10 years ago and he instantly felt captivated by the charm of the tourist hub, Thamel. His frequent visits to Nepal for research purpose led him to discover how Thamel has layers of intriguing hidden history.  As he began uncovering the history of Thamel he met the man behind the birth of Thamel, Karna Sakya (founder of KGH). Together to Commemorate 50 years of the Kathmandu Guest House and Thamel, ‘Thamel Through Time’ book was launched.  

The author in his book has answered and encapsulated how the establishment of Kathmandu Guest House in 1968 led to the bloom of Thamel.  Reiterating this notion, Thamel has continuously evolved through social, cultural and political realities. The once isolated and sparsely populated 'Tha Bahil' gradually evolved into a bustling hub of touristic space after the Sakya family decided to convert their extravagant house built by the Ranas into a hotel.

Benjamin captures the history and tales of how KGH came into existence and how it helped Thamel gain its momentum and popularity among tourists. All details wrapped up in a book with glossy historic and contemporary photos aid in conceptualising the feel of Thamel from the past and present. The author has outlined a timeline which brings together culture, politics and the birth of KGH, modern Thamel and its cosmopolitan zest, Thamel post-earthquake and beyond. At the end of the book, he marks some of the famous personalities who have shared their fond memories and experiences in Thamel and at KGH.

The author recalls his fascination with Thamel and how understanding the layers of history behind the locality has drawn him closer to Nepal. Thamel has brought together many people from different nationalities to become friends and some family.