Hippies and the 60s/70s Kathmandu

Kathmandu is many things for many people. An indigenous Newa land, Kathmandu has been a site unlike any other in Nepal. Home to rich art and architecture, technological and artistic innovation, religious intermingling of Hinduism and Buddhism, and as the urban center of the country, Kathmandu is unique in its own accord.

Many people have called this fascinating of a place home- farmers, artists, scholars, businesspeople, and even the hippies. The 60s was a time unlike any other, especially for Kathmandu, because of the influx of large number of mostly Western hippies from Europe and the United States. This was the first time such large number of Westerners came and lived a ‘local’ life with the receiving Nepali community.

With ideas about Kathmandu of their own, the hippies came to Nepal. Simultaneously, much of the local Nepali, especially in the receiving community of Jhochhen, had ambiguous ideas about White Westerners and their lifestyle.

What were the projected images that the hippies had of Nepal? What did the Nepalis think about those hippies? How did these images change over time? What influences do these perspectives have at the contemporary moment? These are some questions motivating this project of documenting Kathmandu’s version of the hippie movement.

This project has been possible from the generous funding by the Emerson Foundation.