The royal palace is a tourist site now, where families pose for photos at the gates. You can go in and stroll around, through halls where kings once walked — past stuffed tigers shot by monarchs, and shimmering chandeliers over long, polished banquet tables. “Oh my God, what a life they were living, inside,” Librarian Ananta Koirala exclaimed. “And being a Nepali citizen, I’m facing the lives of the poor people in the country. But after seeing this palace, I’m really shocked. What a sophisticated life inside the palace.” Actually, the palace and its furnishings look like they were lifted out of a kitchy early ’60s timewarp. That’s when the palace was built and decorated. The walls display portraits of 250 years worth of Nepalese kings — and photos of more contemporary visitors — Queen Elizabeth, Romania’s Nicolae Ceaucescu, China’s Jiang Zemin. Prabal Baniya, who’s 30, is a guide here. He used to work for the last king — and Baniya’s father worked in the palace before him. He thinks it was a big mistake for Nepal to end its monarchy .