The fire began surreptitiously, away from the bar’s carousing punters, but soon crept into the kitchen. There it licked at the piled gas cylinders, unleashing a conflagration of such ferocity that in no time at all the store next door was engulfed. It was no ordinary establishment. Pilgrims Book House was perhaps the largest, certainly the most loved, purveyor of books in Nepal.
The owner came running, summoned the fire brigade and appealed to his neighbours to employ their buckets. It took 12 hours to tame the fire. There was relief that no lives were lost, that the inferno hadn’t spread through the tourist quarter of Thamel. But for booklovers across the Kathmandu Valley, this was a tragedy of Alexandrian proportions: tens of thousands of books on literally every subject in the cosmos lay scattered in a sodden heap outside the … Read More »