Saturday, April 16, 2011

Everest & The Kumari Devi

• Up at 4:45 am • Donned head lamps at 5:15 • Woke up Ram to un-padlock the 2 front gates • Walked up our scary hill to Kalinki Temple to wait for our pre-paid cab to the airport • The Temple was in full action, even at that hour, in the dark • It is very important for many people to start their day with their prayer, hitting the bell so that Krishna hears them & putting their Tika on their forehead with flowers • How lovely to believe so strongly • Our cab whisked us to the airport - we passed 2 large cows acting as a barricade on the road, blocking traffic • Scheduled for 6:45 mountain flight through the Himalayas to see Everest • So much easier than trekking in • SPECTACULAR one hour flight • We booked the flight while in Thamel the day before • Flew Buddha Air (our other choice was Yeti Airlines - no kidding) • We watched the foothills grow into an impressive range of ancient mountains  • Most passengers had window seats • The flight went down the valley to the end of the range, Everest, & turned around for all to have a great view • We were given a map indicating which mountains we were looking at, with the flight attendant helping point spots out • Incredible • Words cannot describe what I saw, and the photos do not do it justice • My memory is my best image • The flight was over before we knew it and we were given a certificate from Buddha airways noting the flight & date • Wow, what a way to start the day! • Cabbed into Thamel for breakfast • Met a fellow Torontonian, in front of a yummy Dutch bakery, who was doing literacy volunteer work in Nepal • Nicholas took us to an excellent coffee house • Kitti was very happy • Did our usual check-in at the internet cafe (great to be getting daily emails from my Mom and friends) • Walked a very windy, convoluted route to Kathmandu Durbar Square (saw lovely women knitting, men sewing with peddle power machines, Temples and more crazy wiring) • Determined to see the Kumari, we searched out her house and checked what time she would be appearing • The Kumari is the living goddess of Kathmandu & is around 8 years old • She is picked from a certain caste of gold-silversmiths and must meet 32 strict physical requirements - ranging from eye colour and shape, shape of her teeth, the sound of her voice and so on • Once she bleeds, because of puberty or a cut, she looses her status & is pensioned off • It is said that marrying an ex-Kumari, is unlucky, or hard work, for taking on an ex-goddess - your choice • At 4:10, the Kumari appeared for a mere 49 seconds, only after her handlers were confident that all cameras were pointed down • One is not allowed to photograph the Kumari - I never got a good answer as to why not • The Kumari looked quite bored in her beautiful red outfit and big eyed exaggerated make-up • I guess that's what you get from an 8 year old living goddess • Kitti and I had a bite in a rooftop patio overlooking Durbar Square - quite the view of Monkey Temple • Cabbed back home for our usual Masala tea at out Pepsi shop • The hostel felt quite empty with everyone gone • The UK girls had left us a fun postcard with greetings to us on it - Kitti and I were touched by their gesture • Can't believe I've been here a week already • The day ends with the squeaking of the gates being closed and padlocked, the barking of dogs and the boys laughing upstairs on the rooftop patio until it all falls silent

Pre-boarding of Buddha Air

Approaching Everest.

Everest is in the back, with the clouds just under it.

Typical side street on route to Durbar Square.

Crazy wiring.

Two men sewing in a shop.

I just loved this store front with the woman knitting.

This woman asked where I was from,
and when I told her, she said,
"Thats why your English is so good."

Popcorn vendor.

The Rickshaw stand with Temple in background.

Approaching Kathmandu Durbar Square.
 Note how narrow the streets are.

Another popcorn stand.

Nothing quiet about these streets.
 Streets are generally very crowded & busy.
 I kept trying to capture the narrowness & fullness of the streets.

Durbar Square

Me in Kathmandu Durbar square.

Upper centre window is where the Kumari Devi appears.
 We really were quite close, maybe 10 feet back and looking up.

Our rooftop view of Durbar Square.

Always a crowd to be seen.


  1. What an adventure; to actually see and be up close to Everest. You have experienced what most of us only dream of doing, but unfortunately never get there.

  2. Hi Kat, love these photos and the adventure you're on!!! Fantastic.

  3. Thanks - it was such a special trip.


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