The Royal family in Nepal



The Royal family of Nepal


Having survived 2 successive national strikes, we thought nothing else could happen in Nepal. On the day of our arrival in the little village of Gorkha, a couple of Swiss German aid workers told us that the King and Queen of Nepal had been assassinated. That afternoon, as we remained in our guesthouse listening to the BBC on a SW radio, a military truck pulled up next to Troopie. We thought then our whole journey could really be jeopardised. For the next day and a half, foreign media was the only source of information on the sad happening. Only on Sunday did the newspapers mention the untimely death of the monarch but without explaining anything on what had happened. 
A military vehicle in the courtyard of our guesthouse, mourning procession, first newspaper 2 days after the event took place.


As we arrived in Kathmandu on the eve of Sunday, crowds were gathered in the streets and one could feel the tension. Motorbikes would roam the city shouting slogans such as "we want the truth".  


On Monday morning, many people took to the streets. A procession was announced. Many people at that time believed it would be the funeral procession of the Crown Prince Dipendra who, since the death of his father, had been pronounced King of Nepal whilst fighting for his life in Hospital. Instead of being a funeral procession, the procession was that of the brother of King Birendra who was on his way to the royal palace. 

Gurkha soldiers on the road leading to the palace (left), New King Gyanendra on his coronation day (right)


It is possible many people were disappointed not to be able to see the funeral procession of the Crown Prince Dipendra. Although it was said that he was responsible for the shootings, he was dearly loved by the Nepali people and many wished to pay him their last respect. As soon as the procession was over the crowds that had gathered in the streets started to get agitated. Official cars started to get stoned and anti-riot police moved in with guns. As we tried to avoid the crowds to get home safely and quickly a 24 hour curfew was declared. This didn't stop many people getting killed on the streets.



For the next few days, there was a succession of curfews. As the Nepali press was slow in explaining what had happened, tens of incredible stories and conspiracy theories were going around. Again, the only credible sources of information seemed to be foreign : CNN, BBC or the Indian Star TV. During those days, one of our concerns was that the situation would escalate and the borders of Nepal would remained closed for an undetermined time, not allowing us to leave the country.



As we were finally able to leave the confines of our home, we found the city covered with small shrines were people came to lay flowers. The royal palace opened its doors for tens of thousands of Nepalese and foreigners alike to sign condolence books.


The entrance gates of the Royal Palace (left), people queuing to sign the condolence books (right)


People sharing the reading of newspapers, still not believing what had happened.


The brisk business of flowers and pictures of the Royal family.


Nepalese people paying their last respects to the deceased members of their Royal family in Pashupatinath, where their bodies had been cremated some days before. 



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