Architecture

Gallies from Valley

Jan 19, 2018 |

Text & Photo: Soyana Nyachhyon

Growing up in one of the upbeat part of the town filled with different flavors of culture and tradition which has always been astounding and surrounded by the monuments, temples and Durbars (Palaces) constantly look as if it is hovering wherever you go. Now, this city is occupied with chaotic crowd, constant nagging and the unbearable sounds of sirens and dust, thus the name it gets “Dhulomandu”.

Kathmandu, where the culture flows in every nooks and corners seems to have lost its touch of magic like before. The people around here are bound to walk in the chaotic crowds or even move back and forth in the company of their peculiar automobiles with themagic, automobile,  baggage of heavy noise surrounding them. In the midst of all these people seem to have forgotten about the Gallies that are historically appealing and are right in the middle of many hot and cold neighborhoods. These “Gallies are spiritually alive, and the only way to experience this tangled up maze more is by foot. It’s a portal that will guide you to some surprising ends just like the famous kids story Alice in Wonderland where the main character of the story unravels her own adventures with the help of her friends. Just like that the Gallies are waiting for us to unravel the stories hidden behind them.

The Gallis are nostalgic, intimate smile like a treasured old possession pulled out of the back of the drawer. Walking through it, makes you feel like you are in your own quest or in a journey to find something that is immensely beautiful. If you love playing video games, you would actually come to like walking through them and not mind getting lost in right or left turns.

Gallis or Alleys are often reserved for pedestrians, which usually run between, behind or within buildings in the ancient parts of towns and cities. They are covered with shops which is also called as arcade. The origin of the word “Alleys” came from old French language, similarly the origin of the word Gallies came from Gopala and Kirat dynasties. These Gallies are the passage way to stories, with wistful feelings to it; the end of it is always intriguing. You never know where you might end up. Winding your way through markets, and bahals one should keep their eyes open for the architectural marvels that seem to appear on every corner, it might be Buddha’s tall sculptures or a small traditional mudhouse or a dead end, you never know!. This is where locals would socialize, children would play hide and seek, elders would sunbathe or would sun dry spices. Keep walking and you might find yourself in the anxious, vibrant local stall filled with traditional Newari food cooked on wood ovens while you are strolling through the small little Gallies around one of the ancient cities.

Automobiles and huge building are subjugating the landscape in every imaginable way possible creating more turmoil in the valley. The people here feel that the valley has become a no where kind of town. The real beauty is lost in the dusty and bustling crowd of automobiles and people.Therefore,it’s not a real town anymore. Before they were filled with laughter and gossips of what happened in the other neighborhood. Even though, the Gallis are now dusty, they are filled with colorful pavement whose walls come alive with vibrant wall art. Here people wandering as there are ranges of artistic expressions all the way from meticulous thanka style spiritual painting, beautiful sculptures to abstract that looks like an attempt by a six-year-old.

In landscaping, Gallies is traditionally a straight route with a line of trees or large shrubs running along each side. In most cases, there are trees planted in an alley which are of the same species or cultivar, so as to give uniform appearance along the full length of the avenue. In older cities and towns in Europe, alleys are often what are left of a medieval street network, or a right of way or ancient footpath. Similar paths also exist in some older North American towns and cities. In some older urban development in North America lanes at the rear of houses, to allow for deliveries and garbage collection, are called alleys.

Alleys may be paved, or unpaved, and a blind alley which may also provide a service road to allow for waste collection, or rear access for fire engines and parking.Because of geography, steps are predominant form of Alley in hilly cities and town. Some Alleys are roofed because they are within buildings. However, most of the Alleys are architectural structures built with a commercial purpose.

Diversity can be seen in the Gallies of each intersection you cross and motify which changes with each corner you turn. Each of it seems to personify the face of the respective neighborhood. In this vastness, young people are immersed in making music, girls jogging, and further along people playing cricket, football and more. The valley is actual a walking contradiction, a beautiful collage of diversity. The smoke of incense sticks and the smell of pure ghee flowing through the tiny windows hit your senses; this very thing that initiates what Gallies is.

The unfamiliar Gallies as you make right and left turns, the constant sound of bells and the pounding sound of handworkers working on his next projects seems pleasant than the constant sound of sirens. The wooden carved designs and pattern are woven like a maze that fills the valley, making us the maze runner. This is where the authentic beauty of Kathmandu valley has been hidden which makes any outsider wonder, “Why can’t my city be like this?”


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