A walk through New Road, Kathmandu

The New Road is the economic and busiest center street of the entire country of Nepal. The New Road is centrally located towards the mid point of the ring road of Kathmandu and also to the center of Basantpur, Kathmandu. As relevant from its title, it is clearly evident that the New Road was built in a newer era compared to the rest of the roads, as I was told by one of the locals. It is also reported to be built by Prime Minister Juddha Shamsher Rana after the 1934 earthquake, which had a devastating impact on much of the built fabric in the Kathmandu Valley.

Regionally delineating the New Road; at its north side is the Dugambahii, Pyukha, Fasikyeba, at its east side is Tundikhel that is a large grass-covered ground in the center of capital city – Kathmandu, at its south side is Pako, Khichhapokhari, Tebahaal and finally at its west side is Basantapur that is front of the old royal palace of the former Kathmandu Kingdom and is one of the three Durbar squares in Kathmandu valley, Nepal – all of them being UNESCO World Heritages Sites.

From a commercial standpoint, New Road is visited by tens of thousands of people everyday, locals and tourists. Everything is available on this market, ranging from clothing, fashion and textiles, electronics, home cutlery, jewelry etc. Visiting the New Road really did develop a lot of insight into the culture of the city and the country of Nepal. As mentioned earlier that it is the busiest area in all of Nepal, but it is also the most populated area in the whole country.

Urban Commercial Agglomeration at New Road, Kathmandu Image: Anosh Nadeem Butt

Landmarks on the New Road, Kathmandu

Considering the five points highlighted by an American Urban Planner and Author, Kevin Lynch – paths, edges, districts, nodes, landmarks; lets take a look at the nearby landmarks of the New Road. These particularly include the New Road Gate in the eastern most part of the road, which marks the start of the road, statue of Juddha Samsher at the western most roundabout of the road, Bhughol Park, which is a small park at southwestern part, Basantpur Durbar – the old royal residence of Nepal etc. Apart from these landmarks there are lot of firsts present on this road as well such as the office of the first fire squad of Nepal, the head office of the Gorkhapatra Sansthan – the first national daily, the head office of Nepal Bank Limited – the first commercial bank of Nepal and the Bishal Bajar – the first supermarket of Nepal.

Old Facade trying to fit into the dense commercial zone Image: Anosh Nadeem Butt

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