faces of nepal

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her mountains are breathtaking - from the picturesque annapurna range that draws trekkers by the plane loads each year to the world's highest summit that crowns the himalayan range. her unesco-listed temples are steeped in significance, their ornate architecture a feast for the eyes and a dream for photographers. in every city, you can feel the pulse beating energetically around the respective durbar squares. indeed, nepal is a land that is blessed with natural, historical and spiritual bounties although contrastingly, the basic necessities of modern societies such as water, electricity and education are still glaringly lacking in many parts of the country.

a visitor to nepal - whether it's the adrenaline seeker aiming to scale wondrous heights, the devout pilgrim searching for worldly truths or simply a travel enthusiast wanting to explore new territories - will find that this little jewel in the indian subcontinent brims with a multitude of offerings just as its streets burst with colours, sounds and sights. above all that nepal presents to her visitors, it is her people who often strike the deepest chords with their warm hospitality, simple joys, smiles that never end and heartfelt greetings of 'namaste' presented with hands clasped as if in prayer.

from dusty kathmandu to bustling thamel, to blockish kirtipur and its surrounding villages, to laidback pokhara and the more modern lalitpur, we met nepalese of all ages, backgrounds and inclinations and we never met a nepalese who didn't return our greetings or said no to our request for photos. children ran up to us and asked to be photographed; sometimes, they also asked for money but were as happy when we pressed chocolates into their palms. the ladies would instinctively adjust their vibrant outfits and straighten their posture. some men puffed up their chests, others played it cool. the elderly were usually highly amused that someone would want to photograph them and played along sportingly if awkwardly at times, flashing megawatt smiles at us - in person, though some would freeze when the cameras were pointed at them. 

these here are some of the portraits we managed to capture on a 14-day trip, the beautiful faces of beautiful nepalese we had the pleasure and honour of crossing paths with. we didn't always find out their stories (those we did, we've shared in the captions underneath their photos) but we will never forget their smiles. namaste.

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we came across this couple during a village tour in kirtipur; the gentleman is 93 years old this year while his wife is 90 but you wouldn't have guessed from their steady walks and energetic demeanour.

we came across this couple during a village tour in kirtipur; the gentleman is 93 years old this year while his wife is 90 but you wouldn't have guessed from their steady walks and energetic demeanour.

separating rice husks; like most asian countries, rice is a staple in nepal

separating rice husks; like most asian countries, rice is a staple in nepal

we met her in the wheat fields of langol village in kirtipur

we met her in the wheat fields of langol village in kirtipur

returning home after a day of festivities on the nepali national new year's day, all pretty in pink

returning home after a day of festivities on the nepali national new year's day, all pretty in pink

our village tour guide, nama, took us to his old house which his father built and where his mother (pictured here) still lives. the house is slated to be torn down later this year and she will move in with nama and his wife and children.

our village tour guide, nama, took us to his old house which his father built and where his mother (pictured here) still lives. the house is slated to be torn down later this year and she will move in with nama and his wife and children.

in nepal, it is common for brands to advertise by buying up the facades of shops and painting them in their corporate colours, complete with logos of course

in nepal, it is common for brands to advertise by buying up the facades of shops and painting them in their corporate colours, complete with logos of course

this lady gave the biggest squeal of delight when we showed her the photos we took of her, although she seemed to have a hard time smiling when the lens zoomed in!

this lady gave the biggest squeal of delight when we showed her the photos we took of her, although she seemed to have a hard time smiling when the lens zoomed in!

it is her people who often strike the deepest chords with their warm hospitality, simple joys, smiles that never end and heartfelt greetings of ‘namaste’ presented with hands clasped as if in prayer
we spotted her from across the road, splashing water to reduce the dust on her sidewalk. when she saw us shooting her, she stopped and posed until we were done.

we spotted her from across the road, splashing water to reduce the dust on her sidewalk. when she saw us shooting her, she stopped and posed until we were done.

we assumed they were family as they were all clad in the same cheerful orange fabric but these ladies are actually neighbours who just chose to dress alike on the nepali national new year's day

we assumed they were family as they were all clad in the same cheerful orange fabric but these ladies are actually neighbours who just chose to dress alike on the nepali national new year's day

a guard at kathmandu durbar square

a guard at kathmandu durbar square

a local policeman working it - excuse us, are you a model?

a local policeman working it - excuse us, are you a model?

these young siblings asked for a photo and then asked us where we're from, in flawless english. they know malaysia because their second brother is working there.

these young siblings asked for a photo and then asked us where we're from, in flawless english. they know malaysia because their second brother is working there.