ALL PICS: KONG YEN LIN
As night falls in Basantapur, the frantic rush of people is replaced by the shuffle of feet on the cobble stones. The crowd becomes more Nepali as the small tourist nik-nak shops beside the Kumari's house pack up.
On the walls and benches around the market, youngsters start gathering in groups, sipping tea from small plastic cups and chatting noisily. Street children cart-wheel around the benches, carefully avoiding the old men seated on fallen wooden pillars around the temples. Some of them are porters, resting after a hard day's work. Others sit quietly huddled together, watching the rush of people coming and going.
A bigger crowd gathers around the stalls at the entrance to the square. Wheeled in stalls crowd the streets, displaying copious piles of food, the fat spitting as vendors dip meats and rich tofu into vessels brimming with oil. There's everything from sausages, salami and burgers to fish, goat's tongue and chicken lollies.
From a small caf? around the square, the white stucco palace at the centre is bathed in reflected glory. Youngsters chatting on the highest steps of the temples start making their way to their bikes, and lovers stand up to leave. Even in the dark, noisy square, most people seem to come here for peace, and many leave for home having found it.