Color Saturated Nepal

/Color Saturated Nepal

Color Saturated Nepal

 

Nepal has always been primarily a Hindu culture rather than what most Westerners think of as a Buddhist one.  In many ways it resembles and reminded me more of India than what I would next encounter in Buddhist Tibet.  When the Chinese invaded and occupied Tibet, many Tibetans left their homeland and resettled in both Nepal and the Himalayan areas of India, established their own communities and were welcomed there by the Nepalese.  But Nepal remains overwhelmingly a Hindu country.

October 8, 2016, Kathmandu, Nepal.

We arrived in Kathmandu during the Hindu celebration of Dashain, a 15 day holiday celebrating in very simple terms the triumph of good over evil, though it is much more complicated and tied to specific Hindu stories. Worshipers use a mixture of rice, yogurt and vermilion, called “Tika,” to mark their foreheads.  What this meant for us was that the streets of Kathmandu were uncharacteristically empty.  Most businesses and public buildings were closed, casting an eerie feeling over the streets.

Our bus effortlessly took us though the city to visit the enormous temple complex of Pashupati, the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu dating back to 400 B.C. A UNESCO world heritage site, it sprawls along the sacred Bagmati River and is comprised of 518 temples and monuments, mostly spared during the 7.9 magnitude earthquake in April of 2015.

Day 7, Kathmandu, Nepal_2

This temple is dedicated to Shiva and a huge terrace fronts the other side of the river where cremations were going on. Cows, dogs, monkeys were running around everywhere.

Day 7, Kathmandu, Nepal_3

Flocks of birds, throngs of barefoot worshippers, beggars and a grand cast of sadhus–highly photogenic ascetic Hindu monks–were all assembled and busy separating the tourists from their money.

Day 7, Kathmandu, Nepal_4

The importance of the Bagmati River also lies in the fact that Hindus are cremated on its banks.  According to the Nepalese Hindu tradition, the dead body must be dipped three times into the Bagmati River before cremation, so that the reincarnation cycle is finally ended.  The chief mourner (usually the first son) who lights the funeral pyre must bathe as well in the holy river immediately after the cremation, and thus will be spiritually purified.

After the best buffet lunch so far on the trip at the Yak and Yeti Hotel, we boarded a plane for Pokhara, flying over the Annapurna range.  Everest even managed to peek out for a moment!

Oct 10, Flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu, Nepal

October 9, 2016, Pokhara, Nepal.

Early the next day, our bus took us the short distance from our hotel to Fewa Lake where we lined up and one by one and gingerly stepped into wee tippy canoes. Each boat had an oarsman who paddled us slowly over to a trailhead on the other side. On our way there, we passed a small island with a Hindu temple. Given that it was Dashian, it was covered with hundreds of worshipers dressed in their finest. We heard laughing, singing and could smell food and incense as we floated by.

Pokara boats on lake

The hike up from the trailhead to the World Peace Shrine on top provided panoramic views of the lake, valley, and city as well as the Himalayan range in the distance which unfortunately was shrouded in clouds.

Oct 9, Hike up to Stupa Pokhara, Nepal

The shrine is actually a Buddhist stupa and one of a series of shrines built by Buddhist monks around the world as places for people of all faiths to come together to celebrate and pray for peace.

Pokara Pagoda

October 10, 2016  Kathmandu, Nepal

We took an early morning flight from Pokhara back to Kathmandu. As we left the airport, I got this last photo of Everest above the prayer flags.

Day 9, Pokara, Kathmandu, Nepal

Patan is in the Kathmandu Valley across the Bagmati River from the city of Kathmandu proper, and dates back to ancient times.  It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is where we saw more evidence of the 2015 earthquake, although not as much as we thought we’d see. Durbar Square pictured below is where we saw the most evidence of earthquake damage. All the buildings on the left with scaffolding were either damaged or almost destroyed.

Oct 10, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal_9

The rest of the photos are random shots I took while we spent the afternoon wandering around Patan.

Oct 10, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal_2

Oct 10, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal_8

Oct 10, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal_3

Oct 10, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal_6

Oct 10, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal

We were in Patan during Dashami, a day elders put Tika  on the young ones and give them a blessing.  Here is a father applying Tika to his daughter.

Oct 10, Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal_7

Boudhanath Stupa dominates the skyline on the outskirts of Kathmandu. A close up of the top of the stupa is first photo in this blog. This ancient stupa is the largest in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. Surrounding Boudhanath Stupa are streets and narrow alleys lined with colorful homes, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and shops selling Tibetan jewelry, hand-woven carpets, masks and paintings. The whole place was a feast for the eyes.

Oct 10, Little Tibet, Kathmandu, Nepal_5

There were many people circling around the stupa turning prayer wheels embedded in the wall to the right.

Oct 10, Little Tibet, Kathmandu, Nepal_4

And everywhere there was color and life!

Oct 10, Little Tibet, Kathmandu, Nepal_3

Oct 10, Little Tibet, Kathmandu, Nepal_6

Oct 10, Little Tibet, Kathmandu, Nepal_7

Our stay in Nepal was too short to really do it justice, but was an effective introduction to what lay immediately ahead–Tibet!

Would you like to see a bit more of Nepal?  Click the photo below and off you go!

Nepal

2019-01-02T21:10:11-07:00June 10th, 2017|Categories: Nepal|

6 Comments

  1. Travel with Kevin and Ruth June 10, 2017 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Wow, what a trip that must have been. I don’t remember you mentioning it when we got together but it seems we had so much to talk about and maybe you did and I just forgot about it. The pictures are gorgeous and you really caught the local feel of the area in them. The ones of the locals are fantastic. Did you have to ask them first before taking their photos? I love the colours. Now, I am looking forward to the ones of Tibet. One day we will make it to these places, not sure when but one day!

    Ruth

    • bonsternm September 4, 2017 at 3:31 am - Reply

      Thanks Ruth and sorry to be just getting back to you regarding your comment. About taking photos of people. I always try to catch their eye and point to my camera with a smile and they know I’m asking. In places like Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet, people were very open about having their photos taken. In some cases, they were busy doing something and I couldn’t ask so I risked being scolded or shooed away, as I was a couple of times. But photos are how I remember things or my tiny brain forgets! I’m sure you and Keven will get to this part of the world. You are doing a lot of traveling this year!

  2. Ann Chandler June 10, 2017 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Love the photo of the beautiful little girl sitting in the doorway….such a sweet smile.

    • bonsternm September 4, 2017 at 3:33 am - Reply

      That is one of my favorite photos too, Ann. I took several of of that adorable child but that one you mentioned was the sweetest. I’m going to print it and frame it to hang on a blank wall in our motorhome!

  3. Cynthia De Camp June 12, 2017 at 2:10 am - Reply

    WoW!! The pictures are NatGeo quality. What kind of camera do you use? Do you use a tripod? I think all that is needed is the smell. I mean, cremating bodies on the platforms on the banks of the rivers must have been an experience. I’d love to tag along with you guys on a trip!
    Looking forward to more of your amazing stories!
    Love,
    C

    • bonsternm September 4, 2017 at 3:37 am - Reply

      Thanks, Cynthia. Nepal is so easy to photograph. People are open and are quick with a smile and the colors are just fantastic. I don’t use a tripod unless it’s a low light setting that ahead of time I can set up on. Just bought a Sony RX10 with a big zoom and good sensor to use as I can’t carry anything heavier but my iPhone 6+ was used a lot too.

Leave A Comment

Our Countries

News Subscription