The Glory That Was Hippie-Era Kathmandu Finally Died in the Nepal Earthquake

A bittersweet tribute to Nepal’s Hippie Era Kathmandu and the sad change and hardship, which have been forced upon it and its people as a result of the earthquake.

TIME

Though the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck last Saturday has now claimed more than 7,000 lives, modern, workaday Kathmandu — the Kathmandu of ring roads and malls — has come through.

Fabled Kathmandu, however — that mystical waypoint on the Himalayan hippie trail with its promise of enlightenment and cheap, potent hash — has been devastated.

Anyone who has been to the Nepali capital will know the red brick color of the old city. Today, those bricks are dust, and their trademark red coats the arms and faces of workers digging through rubble in the mournful search for bodies.

According to Nepal’s UNESCO chief Christian Manhart, who has just completed a thorough assessment of the city, 60% of all heritage buildings were “badly damaged” in the quake. With them, a whole way of life has finally vanished.

The Kathmandu valley lies at an ethereal altitude of 4,600 ft. (1,400 m), and…

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