Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bhouda stupa

 I had just walked from Pashipatinath and am now at the entrance to Bhoudanath, 'nath' just means temple. This is the huge Bhouda stupa where Tibetan Buddhist adherents worship. The activity outside was more exciting than inside. I saw some men carrying a corpse through the streets heading for Pashupatinath. This means another Hindu open cremation.  Nepal is home to a sizable Tibetan population, some has been there for generations because of the close proximity of the two places. The others are refugees after the take over of Tibet by China. I heard that the Tibetans are still leaving and I also heard that the Chinese military are killing those that are leaving.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A stroll in Kathmandu

 I passed some interesting neighborhoods and interesting people. Each time I asked for directions, they smiled and pointed the way. I walked near this building and I saw a half naked sadhu (a Hindu holy man) sitting crossed legged at the window and giving blessings to people who visited. It was freezing cold but he had a dusting of sand on his upper torso. Nepal in January is freezing cold and they don't have enough power for heating in rooms. The temperature inside and outside is the same. I slept with all my clothes. Hot water is erratic and you have to be back at your hotel at the right time to get a hot shower. There is only power for a few hours a day, the other few hours the generators are turned on but still between 1am and 7 am, there is nothing and the whole place is in complete darkness. It is a very interesting situation and none of the visitors seem to mind, me included, less carbon footprint. I remember arriving at 12 midnight and was picked up by my hotel people, we went through some dark dark streets if you can call it that. The streets were not paved and it had potholes at every turn. It was scary. I didn't know what I was in for or if I will even be alive at the end of the drive. I was shown to a freezing room and I decided I'm going to another hotel the next day. I can't accept no lights, no heat, no hot water. I learnt the next day, its the same all over town. We all got used to it. I had my headlamp with me and that was what I used some of the time. Nepal has been impoverished by a civil war but it is trying to come back. I like Nepal and I'm going back to do some trekking soon.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Leaving Pashupatinath

 As I left, I had to pass another long line of vendors. Lonely Planet said I could walk from Pashupatinath to Bhouda stupe, its only a half hour walk. It was an interesting walk through some local neighborhoods. I asked for directions all the way and was pointed the way until I reached the stupa, a Tibetan Buddhist stupa. The amazing thing about Nepal is Hinduism and Buddhism exists closely side by side.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

The holy temple

 Right in the center of all the temples is this golden structure, the holiest of all the temples and only Hindus are allowed in. As a non Hindu I wasn't allowed in. Here the faithful offers flowers for the 'puja' and the priests gives back some for them to take home. Also they bring home holy water which is kept in the house in case anyone falls ill, then a few drops is given and they are supposed to recover.
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shiva temple

 There is a main temple in the midst of a huge complex of other temples. As one writer said, no stone is unchiseled, no wood is uncareved. The workmanship on the building materials is second to none. Religion, here, being her greatest patron. The king in those days built his palace near the temples which he also built. He goes every morning to offer 'puja' or morning prayers. This is one of the temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva. Pashupatinath is a UNESCO world heritage site.

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Getting ready for open cremation

 The body is placed by the river for a few hours for water cleansing. Then it will be placed on the concrete pyre and firewood brought to burn it. The ashes will be scattered in the same river.
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Erotic art

 Lonely Planet warns, 'don't bring your kids to these places.' It lists the places and those were the very places I wanted to see. As we meander in and around the temple complex, my guide pointed out to me the erotic images. He said, these were from the karma sutra. In Hinduism, kids are bethrothed at a very young age and when they are ready to consummate their relationship, they have no clue what to do. So they are brought to the temples and taught from the karma sutra. It takes the eroticism out of the karma sutra, it's actually a sex manual.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Continuing our visit

 The mist is still about us as my guide and I wander the grounds of the temple. We walked up and down and everywhere. I was at peace.

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