Thursday, April 14, 2011

My fancy men - the Sadhus

• The mystical allure of the valley awaits our full day of Hindu and Buddhist culture in Kathmandu Valley • 2.5 million people live in the Kathmandu Valley and about 1 million in Kathmandu proper (not including yaks, yetis or tigers) • Kathmandu is spread out like the GTA of Toronto, so when people ask me is it a big city, well, yes, it is, just not in terms of our traditional skyscrapers • Visited three of the original kingdoms that merged in the sixteenth century to become present day Kathmandu • Started with Bodhnath  Stupa • Prayer flags & prayer wheels abound • Each spin of a prayer wheel and flutter of a flag is believed to send a prayer to the heavens • The eyes of Buddha were big and wide • You are always to walk in a clockwise direction around a Stupa • The monks were praying in their monastery • Never one to shirk a good luck symbol, I spun the giant prayer wheel beside the Stupa,  three times for good luck • Next stop was Pashupatinath temple • I found so many names tongue twisters • This is Nepal's most important Hindu temple and stood on the bank of the Bagmati river • The Bagmati river is as sacred as the Varanasi on the River Ganges • Not being Hindu, I was not allowed to enter the main temple, but enjoyed the giant cow sleeping beside the entrance • Witnessed  a traditional Hindu cremation on the banks of the river from the preparation of the saffron shroud body to the funeral pyre • Only male family & friends of the deceased prepare and witness the event • Herbs, water from the Bagmati river, flowers and incense were placed within the shroud • They say that the smoke rising from the pyre is the spirit leaving the body • Had a pleasant photo op with the Sadhus men • The Sadhus are holy men who have embarked on a life of a spiritual nature • They also think that smoking pot will bring them enlightenment • My chaps happened to be fun posers, wanting to know where I was from • Tantra sex images abound • The "Grinding Wheel" was in a line of 25 Temples, containing it, representing either fertility or good luck, which ever way you wanted to interpret it • We had a lunch of spicy steamed veggie Momos • Last stop was the Monkey Temple otherwise known as the Swayambhunath Temple • This is where we will eventually be teaching our Monks • Buddhist and Hindu Temples sit happily on a hilltop, in a shared setting, with panoramic views of Kathmandu • Another white stupa with the eyes of Buddha staring down at me • Monkeys really are running all around, hence the name • I was told not to make eye contact with the playful creatures – I didn't • Swayambhu means "self arisen" leading to the legend that the hill that the Stupa sits on, spontaneously rose above the valley, which was once a lake • Sounds very believable to me • Purchased a bracelet made with beads from the Bodhi tree • The Bodhi tree is where Buddha is said to have sat under for many years and achieved enlightenment • Ended the day with Masala tea at our Pepsi shop - the cups were getting nicer and the price was dropping as we were becoming regulars • Have become very adept at crossing our main street where we catch cabs into town - I simply held up my hand and knew they wouldn't hit me - at least that's the message I was saying in my head - and they didn't • Ram go ha (Its good)

The eyes of Buddha at Bodhnath Stupa,
with prayer flags.

In prayer.

Amit just finished his third spin on the giant prayer wheel.

Outside of the monastery.

I don't know, there is something calming about this to me.

Our little group of volunteers from the hostel.
I am sitting lotus style.

A quiet moment captured at the Stupa.

I purchased prayer flags from this Monk.

The sacred cow guarding the entrance to the Temple.
The cow had no clue as to the masses passing by.

The endless Grinding Wheels.
Couples came here, if they were having difficulty conceiving,
for luck.

My Fancy Men - the Sadhus
They had a sense of style - there is no denying that.

Check out the guy in the back. He wanted to be in every shot.

I told you my fancy men were posers.

I only thought to take a picture of my Momos half way through my meal.
It really was a pretty plate at the start..

Truck Art.

A view of Kathmandu from the Monkey Temple.

I couldn't resist these Tea Pots made from Yak bone.
I have a turquoise coloured one.

When was the last time you saw Kodak film advertised?

Kathmandu - it is a large city.

The Stupa at Monkey Temple.

Sleeping dogs seemed to be at both Stupas.
Some had flower petals strewn on them.

I just couldn't resist the name: Alien Beauty Parlour Training Centre.
Perhaps this should be in New Mexico, rather than Kathmandu?


  1. Reading your commentary and viewing the photos has been an education for me regarding a culture that I know very little about. Not only fun in viewing the "fancy men", but a real learning experience.

  2. Thanks, my goal was to interject some background info along with my experiences, so that you, the reader, could understand my experiences better.

  3. Your adventures are the kick start to my day Kathi ! great pics - keep it coming !!


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