Posted on 9th , August No Comments

Discover Freak Street or Jhonchhen

Discover Freak Street or Jhonchhen

Before Thamel became a popular tourist hub, it was to Freak Street (local name Jhonchhen) that tourists headed to when they arrived in Kathmandu. This was during the early sixties and seventies when the hippies used to come to Kathmandu in busloads in search of ‘nirvana’ or enlightenment, peace, happiness and cannabis or marijuana that was openly sold in shops. Further during this time, songs released by popular western musicians like Cat Stevens and Bob Segar describing ‘Kathmandu’ as the ideal place to escape from the decadent lifestyle and crass commercialization in the west made Nepal a sought after destination. Westerners, especially the generation known as the ‘Flower Children’ wanted to visit this mystical kingdom with its strange culture and religion. Though the hippies have long since gone, Nepal still remains one of the most visited destinations in Asia. With the departure of the hippies and the ban on the sale of marijuana, Freak Street lost its lustre. But it still remains a popular place for locals to hang out.

If you are in Kathmandu and want to explore this street with a ‘colourful past’, now is the best time as the week-long ‘Freak Street Festival’ (6th to 12th August,2017) is underway. Enjoy live performances on the street by traditional dancers (Lakhey Dance) and musicians.

Freak Street or Jhonchhen lies just a couple of steps from Basantapur or Kathmandu Durbar Square. The street is lined with traditional Newari houses, shops, cafes and restaurants.

Go on Kathmandu Day Tour to visit the old freak street.

A shop selling marijuana in Freak Street, 1973
A shop selling marijuana in Freak Street, 1973

Image Source: Wikipedia

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