Where to go when one needs to go


Kathmandu, Dec. 3: Max was strolling around Makhan, taking photos of the shops and temples, on Tuesday when nature called. He looked around for the proper facilities but could not spot any. He asked the local shopkeepers who suggested he visit a café or a restaurant, but he would probably have to make a purchase.

Frantic, he approached a member of Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s police force who directed him to the tourist toilet at Nava Adarsha High School near the Kumari House. “It would have been good if they had more toilets,” Max, who preferred to not share his surname, told The Rising Nepal after attending to his business. “Thank god I was nearby but what if someone was a bit far and needed to use the restroom more urgently?”

That is precisely what happened to Amy, who also did not divulge her full name because of the embarrassing nature of the matter. She was at Naradevi on Thursday when she felt a shiver down her spine. Her body began feeling heavy and her tummy bloated. She knew what this indicated and told her guide, who suggested they make their way to Basantapur to use the toilet at Nava Adarsha.

“But it was an emergency. I either had to find a restroom or find a new pair of pants,” she chuckled as she described her situation. “Fortunately, after pleas from my guide, a local allowed me to use the restroom in his house.”

“Are there no toilets here except the one at Basantapur?”

This paper put this question to Chandra Gopal Pradhan, head of the Hanumandhoka Durbar Square Conservation Programme, who answered that the Nava Adarsha School lavatory was indeed the only tourist toilet in the palace complex. Use of the toilet is free to all foreigners and the Programme makes sure to keep it clean throughout the day. But it is still the only one available to tourists visiting Hanumandhoka.

For context, 137,904 foreigners visited Hanumandhoka Durbar in the fiscal year 2022/23. That’s an average of over 375 tourists per day who only had the restroom at that one location at their disposal, pun unintended.

Meanwhile, Patan Durbar Square, which saw 151,800 Nepali and 105,632 foreign visitors in the same fiscal year, does not have a separate restroom for tourists. However, Lalitpur Metropolitan City stated that there are several ‘smart’ public toilets in the city that both denizens and “visiting guests” can use with ease.

The toilet nearest to the Patan Durbar Square is at Mangal Bazaar across the road from the Area Post Office. “But there are no signs showing the way from the Durbar,” complained Dambar Basnet, a domestic tourist visiting from Tanahun.

His daughter-in-law was showing him the Krishna Temple when he felt the need to address the biological imperative. He could not find a lavatory, so he asked the person at the tourist ticket counter who pointed him to the one at Mangal Bazaar.

“I think there should be a sign telling tourists where important facilities like the restroom, police station, hospitals and ATMs are,” Basnet said.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square, which welcomed 167,652 foreigners in 2022/23, seems to be best at “toileting,” Max proclaimed. He visited Bhaktapur on Wednesday, a day after his experience at Hanumandhoka and he said he saw “relieving facilities” at the main entrance gate to the square, Dattatreya and the Silu Mahadev Temple.

When asked, the Tourist Information and Service Centre (TISC) of Bhaktapur Municipality could not give an exact number but said that they had tourist toilets at the three locations mentioned, and at Chyamasingh, TISC buildings and multiple other places across the square. Like at Basantapur, they are free to use and are kept clean, the Centre said.

But just like Basnet in Patan, Max would have found a sign helpful. “Some small information boards here and there would go a long way,” he felt.

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