• 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.
|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,
|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..
|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?