At Sundarijal, the water runs crystal clear, gurgling down from Shivapuri. Translucent fish dart in the cool pools among the boulders, and water birds peck gingerly along the sand banks. The air is scented with forest flowers.
Just five kilometres downstream, as the Bagmati passes Gokarna, the stench is already overpowering. Large cement pipes dump yellowish sewage into the river. Further down, new squatter settlements come right down to the river with plastic privies dotting the water's edge. At Pashupati, there is just a small channel to take the ashes of the cremations.
At Chobhar, the holy site where Manjushree sliced the mountain to let the water out and create the Bagmati Valley Civilisation, the white water is caused by detergents tumbling over boulders.
On World Environment Day, let us help the youth clubs, environmental groups and heritage conservation organisations helping to revive a river that once defined what was best about the Kathmandu Valley.
Biogas moves up, Foo Chee Chang
Reviving the river
The age of enlightenment, Ahmad Iskandar
Maoists block upper Marsyangdi, Dambar K Shrestha
A weathered people, Prawin Adhikari
Revisiting Crapmandu, Rabi Thapa