Day 30: Kathmandu


We started our day with a lovely breakfast provided by our hotel. After that, it was time to tackle Kathmandu!

We met our guide Rajeev (whom had been our guide in Patan) and this time we also had a driver! The sites we were going to were fairly spread out around the city, so a car was a must!

Our first stop was to Swayumbunath, or the Monkey Temple. It is the smaller of the two huge stupa in Kathmandu.

True to its nickname, this temple area and entrance are covered in these monkeys. They even have vendor selling food so that you can feed them!
A mom and her baby escaping the busy walkway.
The Swayumbanath Stupa, said to have a burning flame in the centre.
A stall keeper selling his wears close to the stupa
Stairs leading up to the stupa area
Women making a special ceremony by the stupa

From there we went to Kathmandu Durbar Square, or the king’s square where we visited some of the temples ( not open) as well as were awestruck by the destruction of the 2015 earthquake.

A well visited temple of Ganesh found in Durbar square
Rebuilding an ancient square. Many of the temples are no longer as important because ancient relics have been removed or destroyed.
The entrance of the home of the living god, or Kumari. This is a young girl who has been chosen based on 32 bhuddist aspects. Oddly enough, she is worshiped by the Hindus in this region. When we entered we were lucky enough to see her standing at the window of her courtyard.

We then went into the former palace, which was being rebuilt with the aid and support of the Chinese Government. The scale of the palace was very impressive, and the devastation was immense.

A Gorka guard at the entrance to the former palace.
The obvious destruction and damage done to the inner walls of the palace
A view into the inner sanctum of the palace
Detailed wood carving of the columns

From Durbar Palace, we went through the streets of old Kathmandu seeing the markets flourish with clothing, dry goods, spices, fish and vegetables. A trip for the senses indeed!

Fabrics and scarves
Metal work. Each stall a family business.
Wholesale fabrics with Rajeev leading the way!
Smoked dried fish.
Lentils, beans and spices
Fresh vegetables. The whole tour was a feast of sites, sounds and smells!

From there we went to one of the largest stupa’s in the world, Bodnath Stupa. Both stups’s we visited were said to have been built in the 5th century with divine intervention. We happened to have lunch at a roof top restaurant by this stupa and got some glorious views!

Bodnath Stupa. Reviled in size by one in Sri Lanka
Our view from our lunch restaurant. The scale is hard to imagine!
One of the temples at the entrance to the stairs up to the stupa

From there, we went to the holiest Hindu Temple in Kathmandu, Pashupatinath. While we were not allowed in the temple itself, we could see some of the splendour from the door; the huge bronze bull, the silver filigreed doors, all beyond belief!

After a visit to the temple entrance we walked to the Bagmati River side within the grounds. This is the location of cremation, where they may cremate as many as 30 – 50 people per day. The piers or ghats are lined up along the river. The pier itself is built and tended to by special wardens who are hired to ensure an efficient and pure cremation. Once the cremation is complete, the ashes are pushed into the river to float along this holy river to the Ganges in India and join this holiest of rivers in this region. The procedure was spell binding, and many Hindu people request that they be cremated here.

A body burns as another is being prepared by family for cremation
This side of the bridge was reserved for adminitrators and those with the highest status. Notice the marigold garlands decorating the site. Also the man dressed in white tending the pier.
Here we have a view through 8 small temples above the cremation sites

From here we said goodbye to our guide Rajeev, and headed back to our hotel with our driver. Tonight would be a relatively early night at we are off to Chitwan National Park to see some wild game and enjoy some fresh air. Today was around the mid 20’s, and it could get higher in temp as we travel to the southern border of Nepal to the park.

Until tomorrow!

Categories: Himalayas: India, Nepal and Bhutan 2019

6 comments

  1. I’ve seen the Stupa in Sri Lanka and yours is prettier by far. You really are on a fabulous adventure. Buen Camino! 🧸🐻❤️

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  2. The explosion of colours continue to impress me and I am sure the strong fragrances of the foods would too if I were there. The waterside cremations are still something I don’t understand but certainly a sight to see. (Sorry I am just getting caught up)

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