Open Bathing Areas in Nepal
Common for men and women
In Nepal, there is still a trend not to having bathroom inside house. It is located at the backyard of the house with walls upto neck level and without any roof. However in metropolitan cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara this trend is gradually vanishing out, but still in older areas of these cities and other cities or towns you can find such bathroom.
Nepali are habitual to bath at any water source like river, canal, pond, gorge, water stream etc. as Nepal has thousands of such water sources everywhere in Nepal. In Kathmandu there are several public bathing areas.
Public Bathing Areas Common for Men and Women
These are open and men and women bath together there without staring each other. These bathing areas are next to road and can be found easily in Kathmandu. You can see men and women gathered together in such street side`s open-air bathing areas to have a bath.
There are no different bathing zones for men and women and men and women bath together and without staring each other. Men and women use different taps and keep a distance from each other. Generally they are not naked. Men are in shorts and women are covering their body by wrapping a cloth to cover lower part of chest area to their knees. Some women go for topless if they are wearing petticoat and still no men stare them. This looks nice.
Women bath very carefully as it`s not easy to clean every part of the body as this will result in careless exposure in the full blaze of the publicity. Women are usually in groups of 2 or more and help each other to clean themselves carefully. The whole bathing process is under the cloth that they have wrapped on their bodies. It might take more than one hour to finish that.Hardly you will find any women bathing all alone.
The water in such bathing areas comes underground and so is cool in summer and warm in winter. There is also a religious believe that there is a link between the pools and fountains in Katmandu valley with holy lake 'Gosainkund', that is considered sacred among Hindus.
The bathing areas are made of red bricks, decorated with stone carving by figures of snake, lion etc. and water taps are big and shaped like dragon's mouth. Most of these bathing areas are 2 to 5 meters below the earth surface. , with half meter walls around. Drainage system is really appreciating. These old taps flow the water continuously and could not be closed. The water is always very clean.
These ancient bathing areas were mostly built in 13-16 century`s Malla Dynasty, which have high historical and artistic value.
So when in Nepal do not forget to take a look such bathing areas. On Saturdays there is crowd of women and men as in Nepal Saturday is weekly-off day and not Sunday. Take care not to stare women and if you want to take photographs do not take directly.