Monday, 20 April 2009


I am not sure what to think about Kathmandu. It is a fairly large city, 750000 people, dirty, polluted, with touts, street sellers, drug dealers and the fake holy man trying to plant a tika in your forehead and then ask for money. There are kids sniffing glue out of plastic bags, while begging for money, and chasing tourists around

Nonetheless, this town has got a certain charm.

This charm does not come from the hundreds of vehicles on the roads, blowing their horns for you to get out of the way before they run you over, but from the fact that it is an ancient city, with beautiful temples and stunning wooden houses that have seen better days, which give the Old Town a very atmospheric feeling.

Size is not all that matters....Ashok Vinayak, one of the holiest sites in Kathmandu and where you should pray before going on a journey.

I loved this temple with the clothes drying outside

We came here, as most people do, to get ready for our trek and to buy several items, like a sleeping bag, polar fleece, etc...all of them, in my case, fake North Face. The only genuine thing I bought was a pair sunglasses as I wanted ones with strong protection for the snow.

Today we visited the most important Hindu temple in Nepal, Pashupatinath. I thought that we were not going to be able to get into the main temple, so was a bit surprised when we were able to pay an entrance fee of £2.50. As in Varanasi, the river that runs through the temple is holy and people come here to be cremated.
I could not help but wonder how you were meant to be purified in the filthy river. Some holy men seemed to be wandering around and then there were other people who were just filthy and stoned, asking shamelessly for money.

Not sure if he was a holy or a stoned man
Just outside Kathmandu there are some towns, which will be soon merge into the Kathmandu sprawl. One of them, Boudha, is home to one of the world's largest stupas and also to a large Tibetean population. All around town we saw maroon-robed monks, a much more subtle colour than the bright saffron robes worn by monks in Laos and Thailand.
We both really liked the circular square containing the stupa, and took some pics as we walked around it, always in a clockwise direction. There were lots of older people just walking around with beads, very much like rosary beads, saying their prayers. It was calm and soothing after the madness of Kathmandu.

Tomorrow we are going to go to another town, Patan, and then off to the Himalayas.

No comments:

Post a Comment