Hippies seeking refuge from the 'rat-race' of the western world have been banned from entering Nepal.
Hippies seeking refuge from the 'rat-race' of the western world have been banned from entering Nepal. The ban came from King Mahendra himself, following complaints from the population that the tranquillity o the country was being disturbed by the behaviour of foreign hippies.
Nepal's foreign immigration authorities are trying to enforce the ban without knowing exactly what a hippy is. Whilst awaiting official guidance the border officials allow only "normal-looking" westerners into the remote Himalayan kingdom.
For the past two years, Kathmandu has been the end of the road for hippies from all over the world. For some, the aim is the serious pursuits of studying Buddhist culture and sampling the fabled mysticism of Nepalese life. For others, the attraction is cheap and legal hashish. Kathmandu lies at the end of the "drug route" from Turkey through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
Local feelings against the hippies, who number about 500, have grown recently, particularly since a minor incident in July when five of them tried to approach King Mahendra at Nepal's leading hotel.
"Foreign hippies have nobody to blame but themselves for having provoked the government into deciding not to issue visas to them anymore", one Nepalese newspaper said.
"Hippies had abused the hospitality of this country by indulging in drug (hashish) smuggling and such activities as carrying unlicensed arms on their persons."
The hippy cult in Kathmandu has given rise to many cheap lodging houses and restaurants, but many are so poor that they rely on the hospitality of the Buddhist temples run by Tibetan monks.
While most Nepalese have welcomed the move to restrict the hippies truck drivers are none too happy. They bring most of the hippies from the Indian border at one US dollar a trip.