Skip to content

Exploring Kathmandu: A Sensory Adventure

Keep reading
Exploring Kathmandu: A Sensory Adventure


In the heart of Nepal lies Kathmandu, a city that whispers tales of ancient wonders and cultural vibrancy. Recently, the bustling streets of Basantapur and Hadigaun became a canvas for a unique exploration—a Sensory Walk. Imagine a journey where your senses guide you through the rich tapestry of history, where every step reveals a different element of the city.

The Beginning: Unlocking the Senses

Kathmandu is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited places, and it provided the backdrop for those on the walk to immerse themselves in sensory delights. The Digo Bikas Institute, in collaboration with Kathmandu Metropolitan City, organized Mahasus Yatras, which were events that invited citizens to experience the city through the lens of their senses. From the vibrant markets to the intricate architecture, every element held the potential to charm the senses.

Screenshot 20231218 164846 Whats App

The Objective: A Holistic Understanding

The Sensory Walks were not just a stroll; they were a quest for a deeper connection with the city. A diverse group of 50 participants, spanning different age groups, set out to document their sensory experiences. Armed with qualitative questionnaires, they sought answers to questions like "What can be seen?" and "What does the place smell like?" and "What can I hear?"

Screenshot 20231218 164830 Whats App
Screenshot 20231218 164838 Whats App

The Journey Unfolds: Walking Through Senses

The participants embarked on a multi-phase journey. The orientation phase began with thought-provoking questions about the participants' perceptions and feelings towards the place. Guided into mindful meditation, they tuned into the lights, sounds, and smells around them, fostering a heightened awareness of their surroundings.

The mapping phase encouraged participants to actively engage their senses. What did the streets look like? What textures tempted their touch? What sounds should be amplified or quietened? Through photographs and notes, they captured the sensescapes of Basantapur and Hadigaun.

Making SENSE of Kathmandu: Unveiling Memories and Transformations

The sensory walk unveiled diverse mappings, revealing the city's transformation over the years. For older participants, memories of bustling streets overlayed the present-day scenes of pedestrianization. The city's more recent history, with towering buildings and commercial centres, had left its mark on the identity of these sacred places.

As the participants explored sense-making, a mosaic of experiences emerged. The overall atmosphere was described as unmanaged, grey, and noisy, yet punctuated by positive sensory spots – the sounds of temple bells, the fragrance of flowers, and the warmth of local cuisines.

Screenshot 20231218 164833 Whats App

Conclusion: Shaping Public Space Through Senses

The walk concluded with a collective reflection on how the senses shape public space. Participants acknowledged the influences of sensory constraints and obstacles on their walking patterns. The discussion emphasized the importance of preserving positive sensory experiences to enrich the identity of Kathmandu.

In the final moments, participants, having peeled back the layers of history and interpretation, left with newfound perspectives and a deeper appreciation for the city they call home. The Sensory Walk had transformed their ordinary surroundings into a multisensory, multidimensional adventure, where every step echoed the spirit and history of Kathmandu.

Support HealthBridge


Preventable death and disease are a hard reality for people living in poverty.

You can change this.

Your tax-deductible gift improves access to health services, public spaces and good nutrition for vulnerable populations around the world.

Donate Now